Sunday, April 29, 2018

2018's Progressive Poem is HERE today!

Howdy, Campers ~ And yikes!  The Progressive Poem is HERE today!

The Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem began in 2012 as a way to celebrate National Poetry Month (April) as a community of writers. Here's a three-way conversation between this poetry game's originator Irene Latham, Heidi Mordhorst, and Liz Steinglass just before 2018's poem sprouted.

This year, 30 poets signed on. Our mission: to grow the poem, one line at a time.

A few days ago, I posted a poem about my mixed-up feelings leading up to this momentous day. ...aka, the day I add a line.

This year, our instructions were: "take a minute to record your first impressions of how the [first] line strikes your imagination and what you think the poem might become."

So...I read the first line, by Liz SteinglassNestled in her cozy bed, a seed stretched.

Like so many others on this 30-day most excellent adventure, I was very happy with this first line because I like concrete, accessible images. I wrote:
Okay, a personified seed. Let's nearly-the-end of this month, our seed will be
s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d to the max. Will she be a vine who crawls along the tops of walls? A tree who ages with each generation?

And my, my, look how our small seed has grown!  I loved Jan's line #5: invented a game. It grounded me; I couldn't wait to learn the rules of the game which Jasmine, Owl and Moon would play.  And we veered! As Matt wrote: "the seed has invented a game, but she’s not playing it – which is a conundrum as far as a narrative goes." And as Heidi wrote:"you poets, you really know how to turn a ship with a well-chosen word!"

I liked Donna's prethinking of possibly including a sound, a texture, a smell...or perhaps, why be serious?  Donna jokingly toyed with the idea "that Jasmine slipped out of the owl's talons and fell to the ground and the owl ate her, The End..."

I was grateful for Sarah's grounding Jasmine on a trellis ("made of braided wind and song"~ such a pretty line) so that I could see her as a vine once more. I need images I can hold on to. (My favorite earrings are monarch butterflies. I also wear tiny bicycles, a little girl in a red dress, and big juicy slices of watermelon. My sister said: "I figured it out: you like to wear nouns.")

So, in order to be clear about what was going on in this poem, I printed it and added little drawings along the margin:
My notes. Star jasmine on the left, poet's jasmine on the right.
And boy, is its aroma intoxicating!

Along the way, Christie discovered that poet's jasmine is a real plant (which curls up the posts of our home--but I didn't know it was poet's jasmine! Thank you, for this, Christie!) According to one website, "give [this plant] heavy support [e.g., a trellis, etc.]." Isn't that what our warm community of poets and readers does?

Another site says, "this jasmine grows quickly and has a strong resilient root system." And that was my way in. I thought about what a young person could take away from our poem, especially in light of the fast-growing, newly awakened, resilient power of this generation.

So here's the poem thus far (I added a period after Kat's line):

Nestled in her cozy bed, a seed stretched.
Oh, what wonderful dreams she had had!

Blooming in midnight moonlight, dancing with
the pulse of a thousand stars, sweet Jasmine
invented a game.
“Moon?” she called across warm honeyed air.
“I’m sad you’re alone; come join Owl and me.
We’re feasting on stardrops, we’ll share them with you.”

“Come find me,” Moon called, hiding behind a cloud.

Secure in gentle talons’ embrace, Jasmine rose
and set. She split, twining up Owl’s toes, pale
moonbeams sliding in between, Whoosh, Jasmine goes.
Owl flew Jasmine between clouds and moon to Lee’s party!
Moon, that wily bright balloon, was NOT alone.
                                         Jas grinned,




                                                        a new,

                                around           tender


a trellis Sky held out to her, made of braided wind and song.
Her green melody line twisted and clung.

Because she was twining poet’s jasmine, she
wiggled a wink back at Moon, and began her poem.
Her whispered words floated on a puff of wind,
filled with light and starsong. “Revelers, lean in –
let’s add to this merriment a game that grows
wordgifts for Lee. He’s a man who knows
selection, collection, and wisely advising
these dreamers, word-weavers, and friends.”

Jas enfolded Moon-Sky-Owl into the cup of her petals,
lifted new greens to the warming rays of spring. Sun

smeared the horizon with colour, as Jasmine stretched.
She felt powerful. She felt fresh. She bloomed and took a breath

The Progressive Poem is a kind of poet's relay race isn't it?
 So it is with a deep breath of relief, that I hand it over to dear Doraine...
  who takes us to the finish line!

Thanks for creating this, Irene ~ and thank you to every member of this year's team!2018 Progressive Poetry Contributors:
4 Michelle at Today's Little Ditty
5 Jan at bookseedstudio
6 Irene at Live Your Poem
7 Linda at TeacherDance
8 Janet F. at Live Your Poem
11 Brenda at Friendly Fairy Tales
12 Carol at Beyond LiteracyLink
13 Linda at A Word Edgewise
15 Donna at Mainely Write
16 Sarah at Sarah Grace Tuttle
18 Christie at Wondering and Wandering
19 Michelle at Michelle Kogan
20 Linda at Write Time
23 Amy at The Poem Farm
24 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
26 Renee at No Water River
27 Buffy at Buffy's Blog
28 Kat at Kat's Whiskers
29 April at Teaching Authors
30 Doraine at Dori Reads 

posted with love by April Halprin Wayland, with help from Eli and Monkey
Monkey and Eli share a favorite poem
from Louis Untermeyer's The Golden Treasury of Poetry 


Ruth said...

Hooray! I've been really looking forward to the blooming!

Irene Latham said...

A powerful and fresh Jas! I love it! Also love your noun earrings and the fact that you were growing poet's jasmine without even realizing it. Thank you, April! xo

Linda B said...

It's a beautiful post that carries us all the way up and back down, April. I love that you printed it out & sketched, discovered that you have that Poet's Jasmine right there at your home--serendipity! And that blooming Jasmine comes into her own, perfect. A happy "almost" finale.

Anonymous said...

I love your thought process - and yes, your noun earrings, too. (That is the perfect comment!) Your line definitely captures Jasmine's resilience. What will she do on her last day??

Mary Lee said...

A seed in the first line and a bloom in the penultimate.

Yes to the relay, but also a nod to the deep roots -- the Poetry Friday/Kidlitosphere community!

(Love that you wear NOUNS! :-)

Doraine said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you. ;)

Buffy Silverman said...

Ah, our well-rooted Jamine blooms at last!

Mrs. Wyman said...

Oh, our Jas is one might girl. What fun we have all had. I was stressed out of my mind when it was my turn, but it all worked out beautifully...just like Jasmine! -- Christie @

Heidi Mordhorst said...

April, I'm very grateful to you for taking the long view like this (not that you had MUCH of a choice). For our imagined young readers, the NOUNNESS, the graspability of our images and our narrative are so important. You brought Jasmine into herself with this line, and is her middle name perhaps Emma? :)

Donna Smith said...

I love the prethinking here, and I LOVE the strength you've given her in this line!

Robyn Hood Black said...

This line is so YOU, April - thank you for helping our Jasmine to BLOOM. :0) Adding to the cheering for the jasmine-surrounded printed-out poem, too, and your nurturing of good ol' grounding. XO

jan godown annino said...

Fun to see your posting helpers, April.And luv your sister's comment on wearing nouns.
Appreciations for your enjoyment of Jas (Jasmine at that time + place) inventing a game.
And I feel her force with your line. On with the scent! And wow - poetry jasmine twines at your very place!

Amy LV said...

Blooming and breathing. What could be better? xxxx

April Halprin Wayland said...

Before I respond to each and every one of you...HOW DO YOU manage to comment on every single freaking post in the entire poetry universe? How can you do this and get actual life done? How do you do this and stay sane?

Just asking.

Okay. Ahem.

Now ~ thank you for your supportive comments, Ruth, Irene, Linda, Kat, MaryLee, Doraine, Buffy, Christie, Heidi, Donna, Robyn, Jan, Amy--I am NOW enjoying the blooming! And yes--isn't my sister Lyra's labeling my earrings nouns terrific? Heidi ~ yes, yes--let her middle name be Emma, please ~

jan godown annino said...

Lyra is your Sister's name, really? So lyrical, uplifting, lovely!
I have not yet been able to read/comment on everyone + also tried a coupla & experienced glitches. I did not get life done. Will leave it up to my family to judge if I stayed sane :) But we did go batty last weekend, watching 200,000 emerge in aerial acrobatics.

April Halprin Wayland said...


Yes, Lyra is my sister's beautiful name.

And...I'm so curious: you watched 200,000 WHAT emerge? Monarch butterflies? Stunt pilots? Poets? Do tell!

Carol Varsalona said...

April, I have been wondering how I can keep up with all the wonderful poetry that is happening around me and still be in tune with life. Thanks for also feeling that. I was thinking I must be the only one with that feeling. Back to the poem. I think your reasoning behind your line was such an amazing progression of thought. Kudos on that. Then, you crafted your line in such a way that it felt so right for Jasmine to bloom. Marvelous work.

Michelle Kogan said...

Ah Jas finally bloomed, just in time for the end, and just in time for Chicago's long awaited spring–loved seeing this happen. I liked your props too, the jasmine plants–they add a bit extra to all, thanks!

April Halprin Wayland said...

Carol ~ thanks for validating my overwhelm--it feels like you just threw me a life preserver as I was flailing in the lyrical waters!

And darling Michelle ~ thank you. Props help me!

Carmela Martino said...

Wow! What an adventure! Thanks for sharing your process with us, April. I love the photo of the printed poem and plants. How terrific that you grow your own poet's jasmine. :-)
Your line is the perfect penultimate, and Dori builds on it beautifully to wrap things up. Thanks for using our blog to hose the Progressive Poem!