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Thursday, September 2, 2021

whoa nelly! poetry friday is HERE

Welcome all, especially any new folks who are finding their way to our little weekly poetry party. If that's you and you're still not sure how it all works, find the easy answers here!

The days have been zooming by, careening towards big changes here at home: by the time you read this, both 18 and 22 will have launched into their first seriously independent adventures (one gap semester in Costa Rica and one apartment+jobhunt in Brooklyn). By the time you read this, my spouse and I will officially be Empty Nexters! (That may be my own favorite typo of all time and I'm clinging, clinging to its promise.)

This week I'm not only hosting the general poetrypalooza but also the monthly challenge of the critique group now known as INKLINGS. Each month one of us chooses a challenge (an idea which we shamelessly ripped off from the Seven Poetry Sisters) and we all do our best to meet it. It's always fun to see the way-different ways we tackle it, even if it's not always exactly fun to do the tackling!

Set by Margaret Simon, who thankfully rode out the very nearby Hurricane Ida with minimal impact, this month we wrote ghazals (pronounced similarly to "gazelle" or "ghuzzle"). I-yi!

"The ghazal is composed of a minimum of five couplets—and typically no more than fifteen—that are structurally, thematically, and emotionally autonomous. Each line of the poem must be of the same length, though meter is not imposed in English. The first couplet introduces a scheme, made up of a rhyme followed by a refrain. Subsequent couplets pick up the same scheme in the second line only, repeating the refrain and rhyming the second line with both lines of the first stanza. The final couplet usually includes the poet's signature, referring to the author in the first or third person, and frequently including the poet's own name or a derivation of its meaning."

Here are two grand examples, by Kazim Ali https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/54262/rain-56d23467ac47f and Evie Shockley https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/55669/where-you-are-planted.

To help us along, Molly directed us to this handy "recipe" for a ghazal, and our newest Inkling Mary Lee provided this annotated ghazal by John Drury (from RAVISHING DISUNITIES, ed. Agha Shahid Ali which led me to this beautiful essay on American ghazals) to scaffold our efforts. It does require a lot of moving parts!





I myself got intrigued by how most ghazals end with "the makhta, the signature couplet [that] allows the poet to sign off with a flourish. It is less a requirement of the form than an opportunity." It led to this.

[poem]

Does that hit the mark of "traditionally invoking melancholy, love, longing, and metaphysical questions"? You decide. Now let's go see what the rest of the Inklings have come up with.

Catherine Flynn @ Reading to the Core
Mary Lee Hahn @ A(nother) Year of Reading (welcome to our group!)
Molly Hogan @ Nix the Comfort Zone
Linda Mitchell @ A Word Edgewise
Margaret Simon @ Reflections on the Teche

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And now for this week's brief installment of Climate Friday. A couple of years ago, battered by the number of causes and needs for action, I decided to PICK ONE and get on with it. "It" has turned out be the ever-more-popular (in the sense of can't ignore it) code-red climate emergency, and I'm choosing to use my individual set of skills to be a Climate Action Communicator--the closest I'll ever come to my middle-school dream of being a cheerleader [insert Peter Pan jump here].

A couple of weeks ago I invited folks to consider a climate action post of your own for today, to let us know what's going right in your area, whether it's home, community, town, state or slice of the Planet. I didn't really properly warn anyone, though, so we'll leave that for another time. However, I did in my daily writing find this prompt from a week ago Tuesday, which led really very unexpectedly to this poem of my childhood in Richmond, VA.

[poem]

We're learning our lessons now, though, aren't we? So here's an opportunity to make your voice heard regarding this particular emergency...write a little note to the Biden administration about oil & gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. I've read that it only takes 10-20 letters and phone calls to congresspeople to make a difference in how they address an issue; maybe it's 1000-2000 to sway the President.

Good to have you all along today! Leave your links below and I'll be around to comment Sunday when we've returned from Brooklyn
.

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29 comments:

  1. Oh wow, Heidi - hats off to you and the whole Inklings crew for your ambition! Enjoyed all your poetic name-dropping very much, though I think the typo-ed "Empty Nexters" was my favorite thing... Hugs and thanks for hosting! (I didn't have my act together to post this week but left a signpost.) Thanks as always for your activism, too!

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  2. I love this ghazal! You make it look so easy here with all that wonderful internal rhyme and word play. Wow! I'm also pretty fond of your "empty nexter" typo. Good luck on this next grand adventure. Safe travels and thanks for hosting!!

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  3. I'm with Robyn, love that typo, and the name-dropping ghazal. I will have to look more closely at the directions. Speaking of climate, will you be okay going to Brooklyn? I hope so, considering what happened (climate disaster!) there yesterday & last night. Yikes, & THAT man from W. Virginia says he has no interest in voting for the money to spend on climate. Ugh. Anyway, safe travels & thanks for all the good links & for hosting!

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  4. "Never-mere" and "next-year" are my faves :) I also esp. like "citizens of the National of Power and Progress." Thanks for hosting and good luck to Daisy and Duncan!

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  5. Oh my. I'm still reeling from the complexity of that sneaky little 'near the end' rhyme scheme thing. I can see that this would be a very tricky form to write - and therefore something that I think I will indeed have to try. (I suspect it will land near sonnets and villanelles, as a medicinal poetry form for me.🤫) Thank-you for all the helpful links - and your sweep of poetic magnificence.

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    1. You're not too far off, Kat! Ghazals have been compared to Petrarchan Sonnets in their stringent structural requirements!!

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  6. A post chocker-block full of creative pursuits Heidi. I enjoyed how you rose to the challenge of the Ghazal poetry form. Particularly enjoyed the poetic sketches. You finished strongly and with the final couplet. I enjoyed -'Squeezing the juicy who and how out of all contexts of learning...' Your Climate Action Poem delivered a host of nostalgic images for me as a reader. Thank you also for hosting.

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  7. Heidi, you never cease to amaze me with intricate poetic forms and continuous activist activities to dwell on amidst the Pre-K workouts. Empty Nexters need to enjoy your life without children-something new for sure. Enjoy Brooklyn but watch out for slippery streets and sidewalks. Thanks for hosting.

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  8. Thanks for this poetry-power-packed post Heidi, with two outstanding poems. Love the hyphenated words in your gazelle, especially your last line, "gearing up to be a next-year kind of name." And what an adventure down your driveway… My husband and I, as of mid August, are "Empty Nexters" too! Thanks for hosting.

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  9. Wow, Heidi, if your Ghazal is a product of your 'last-minute Mordhorst' nature, look out world. This form is all kinds of challenging yet you rose up to it and surpassed it! And your Climate Crisis Poem strikes the right reminiscent tone for why we need action now. Seems lots of us are in that 'empty nexter' mindset - yay for our commiserate community! And good luck to your fledgling peeps. :)

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  10. Heidi, your star-studded ghazal is amazing! And here's to empty-nexting!

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  11. So much amazing poetry today, Heidi, and so far I've only read your post! I've read (and showed my kids) ghazals, but I've never written one yet. Looks like it's time to try one. Thank you for hosting, with love from a fellow Empty-Nexter.

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  12. Good Morning, Heidi. You know I love that ghazal. It's so rich. And, the climate crisis poem is perfect...so many specifics to you that make it a universal poem. I learned to drive in a red Le Baron. Oh, the memories you brought back. And, the last line. Sharp. So sharp...brings it all into focus. Thanks for hosting!

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  13. I'm loving being an honorary "nexter!" No autocorrect from nest for me...I'll co-opt the entire meaning!

    I think you TOTALLY hit the mark with "love and longing." Maybe not romantic love, but definitely a love of poetry and poets! And I'm pretty sure that "next-year kind of name" will be happening sooner rather than later.

    The way you called out our culture's deeply ingrained auto-worship is brilliant. It's like white privilege -- we don't see it until...we do. And the next steps after that are the hardest and most important. What are we going to DO about it?

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  14. Dear Heidi, you brilliant, ghazal-writing empty-nexter: I love the poet-love in your poem, esp. the Lucille and Heidi couplets. Brava! xo

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  15. Wow, Heidi. Empty nexter, indeed, and many lovely nexts to celebrate! Love your ghazal, esp the Emily and Lucille stanzas--and that first-name familiarity works well in different ways. Whee!

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  16. Oh, Heidi. You make us think and woo us with your yes-melancholy, yes-longing, yes-love, yes-metaphysical questioning words. Both poems evoke all of these feelings. Thank you for sharing examples of this form. One day I will try it, inspired by you! As for climate, Hope lives in NYC too. It is so scary, and I am grateful for your voice. Big hugs on being an empty-nexter. xx

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  17. Wow, I'm so intrigued by this form and your stab at it is fabulous. As an Enneagram 4, I'm all in on anything that asks for "melancholy, love, longing, and metaphysical questions." :) And of course, I *love* Empty Nexter. :)
    I also love the way, after the battering, you chose one cause on which to focus, and what a worthy one it is, too. And it gave birth to your nostalgic climate poem for today, too. I esp. liked the images of the pokeweed and your dad's resolute patch of kale.

    Maybe it's just me, but I'm having a problem with the links. They are all taking me to Blogger.com ? Maybe Blogger is haunting my laptop, or maybe it just needs a restart. :)

    Thanks for hosting, Heidi!

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    1. Yes, sorry Karen! I copied and pasted and it didn’t cross over. Fixed now!

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  18. Heidi, that is a terrific ghazal. You mention several of my favorite poets, including Frank O. and Aimee N.! There's a good interview with Evie Shockley on the VS podcast; I was just listening to it yesterday. I wasn't familiar with her work at all, and here she is, a second day in a row.

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  19. Oh, dear. My new computer is not posting for some reason, so I'm trying this for the third time with fingers crossed. Thank you for hosting and sharing your marvelous poems! I love the internal rhyme and especially the last couplet of your ghazal. I didn't know about the "opportunity" to make it personal. You certainly took advantage! The details in your climate crisis poem paint such a clear picture of the scene and the time.
    JoAnn Early Macken

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  20. Heidi,
    You hit a huge homerun with this ghazal of poets. I can't find a favorite line, but I do love your nod to squeezing the juice of your own poet-self. I think we should have a climate poem Friday. Yours is a great model text that points to so much privilege in having and driving cars that bicycles are now a recreational activity, like horse-back riding. There is so much wrong with our planet right now that I get into deep despair just thinking about it. My son-in-law is now in the tippy toe of our state trying to fix a refinery where 25% of the US oil is processed. How is it that the government did not protect this area from catastrophic hurricanes by preserving the wetlands that surround it? Doesn't make sense to me.

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  21. What a hefty post today, packed with all kinds of deliciousness. Enjoy this Empty Nexter chapter--it's a great one. The ghazal is fun! I love the confidence and joy: "Here is last-minute Mordhorst gearing up to be a next-year kind of name." Yes, indeed. I'm late to the party today, but I look forward to reading all the other ghazals too. I love your unexpected memory of driving on the weed-broken concrete alley.

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  22. Wow, Heidi, this post is chock-full! Love ALL that you are doing with poetry AND political action!

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  23. Heidi, your post is overflowing with enthusiasm, self-learning, and calls to action! I love it! Thanks so much for inspiring us all to learn, try, and make our world a better place. Carol from The Apples in My Orchard.

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  24. These are both lovely - and I obviously need to explore this nifty form. But can we talk about that FIRST poem --?? Because, wow. Just WOW. Well done, you.

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  25. Thanks again, Heidi! I just followed you all over the blogosphere, commenting!

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  26. Thanks for hosting this week and for the introduction to this poetic form - I admire everyone who embraced this challenge.

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Thanks for joining in the wild rumpus!