Thursday, February 25, 2010

Where Challenges Take You

I've blogged before about Wild Poetry Forum, my poetry home on the 'net.  It's somewhat of a rarity for online poetry workshops in that it is large, inclusive of poets with all levels of experience, and doesn't subscribe to the 'American Idol' ethic of viciousness, while encouraging open and honest feedback.  It's not a perfect community--like any other gathering of individuals, there can be conflict and personality clashes, but for the most part Wild works.  Much to the credit of my fellow moderators and the site admins.

One of the parts of Wild that I love is the weekly challenges posted by our Administrator, ~M~.  An extraordinarily talented poet in her own right, she also works tirelessly to help the members improve their own writing and stretch their creative muscles.

I turn to her challenges, culled from a huge library of poetry books and lessons, when I feel stuck in my writing.

Writing to a challenge or a prompt is an excellent method to get out of your own way.  Challenges also take you to places you might not ever get to without the little push away from your comfort zone.

Here is a piece one of ~M~s recent challenges provoked.  It was a fun write, and a bit sideways from my usual voice.

Storm Warnings
after Rebecca Hoogs

My dear, you are the meteorologist and I,
I am the weather, a cyclone churning off shore,
skipping across carefully plotted points
on well creased maps. To hell
with ratings and reputation. It's not
like you cause the tempest or the cold
shoulder, the run on milk and bread,
eggs. Still, it would always be best
if you waited for me to declare my intentions,
stick your head out the studio window
and agree. Yup, she's a doozy. That's right.
Right as rain. The rain I fell in
this morning while you flirted
with long range models, certain
tools in uncertain systems. No pressure,
but the superintendent's on the line, baby,
and my winds carry the fervent prayers
of schoolchildren everywhere, homework undone.
If you smile into the camera, bet
on a solid six to ten, I'll pout
and head off to sea or maybe just sit tight,
ignore the curses of weary plow drivers hours
from sleep and warmth, strand even you
at your desk. But once in a blue moon, I promise
to track exactly the way you expect.


The original prompt is here.  If you give this one a go yourself, feel free to post your poems in the comments.  I look forward to seeing what you create.


  1. I started following you because of your poetry, then got all involved in you and your life. But best of all is your poetry.

    I travel to work on the NYC subway; they post great poetry on the signage; the kind you can read over and over until it's your stop.

    If yours was there I wouldn't be on the subway at all -- just lost in images. Probably miss my stop and be late for work.

  2. Aw shucks, Sue, you just made my entire day. :blush:

    Thank you so very much for your lovely and gracious comment.