Friday, October 2, 2015

Poetry Friday: Etheree

When I first heard the word etheree, I thought it was an old-fashioned name, the kind given to a girl who shucks peas on a weathered porch, with a Bowie knife strapped to her ankle, in case a rattlesnake gets to rattlin', or a rancher gets to raunchin'. Surely it wasn't a form of poetry, as my Poetry Sisters claimed?

I found out it was, indeed, both. Turns out that the Arkansas poet, Etheree Taylor Armstrong, invented a poetic shape in which each line has one more syllable than the one before, and while she was hardly famous, the form named after her has a growing following.  Apparently, many people like it for its simplicity.

I kind of hate simplicity. It's darn hard to pull off.  In fact, I couldn't pull it off. I had to resort to word play.  Lots and lots of word play. (Old ee cummings may still have a grip on me.)

Anyhow, the poem was inspired by my mint tea, informed by some judicious Googling of the astonishing varieties of mint, and ultimately, built around this simple admonition to would-be mint growers that was stark in its advice:

Different varieties of mint should be planted far away from each other. On opposite sides of the garden,  if possible.

Now there was a simple fact I could use.


tendrils left
can crosspollispear
til, oh! calaminty--
scharp-scented, increeping vaders
brandnewishing fresh varietrials
demand mint conditions: no leaf unturned.

---Sara Lewis Holmes (all rights reserved)

Please see Miss Rumphius' blog for a much more considered definition of the form.

My Poetry Sisters' etherees are here:

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Poetry Friday: Wiseguy (A Found Poem)

Athlete of cross work

Lover of up-and-down

Word wonder 2 briefly

Not Done

My source for this found poem was Merl Reagle's last crossword for the Washington Post. I solved it with a heavy heart:

Read the Post's nicely done obituary. And don't miss the movie they mention, Word Play.  Bonus points if you can find the Simpsons episode Reagle starred in, as himself. 

All of my Poetry Sisters are in with Found Poetry today, too. Maybe we should call ourselves the Salvage Sisters this month:

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Linda at Teacher Dance.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Poetry Friday: ISO Haiku

Once, my son found a "help wanted" ad:

Remove nest of baby copperheads
from under porch. Will pay $20.

I always wondered if anyone was desperate enough to answer.  I mean, come on---they're BABY copperheads, right?

That's the thing about classifieds. They suggest (perhaps willfully) that if only you answer them, the full story will be revealed. More likely, the truth is that if you answer the ad, you become part of the story, too.

I think the same give and take applies to poetry. Which is good, because this month, the Poetry Sisters are playing with haiku/senryu in the form of classified ads. I wrote several because I couldn't help myself.

WANTED: rain, heavy
Must pelt/soak; no peevish squalls
Will pay in fresh corn.

LOST: my perspective
No reward; meet me for cake 

FREE: to a good home:
One book, never read, but loved.

POETS: Start today; 
word your way up; could capture
moon in fifty years.

----all poems by Sara Lewis Holmes (all rights reserved)

See what's LOST/FOUND/WANTED/FOR SALE from my Poetry Sisters here: Liz, Tanita, Tricia, Laura, Kelly, Andi

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Poetry Friday: "In Just---" Echoes of ee cummings

The assignment for the Poetry Seven this month was to write a poem in the style of ee cummings, taking one of his works as inspiration. Although cummings is one of my favorite poets, and I've blogged about him before (in relation to Frank Cottrell Boyce's fabulous novel, Cosmic) I did a little research anyway. And discovered this:

Between the ages of eight and twenty-two, cummings wrote a poem a day.

Yeah. That.

And here I am, trying to follow in his pen strokes.

First of all, I had a hard time naming what I was attempting to do. What did "in the style of" mean?


Then one of the Poetry Seven used a word I liked: echoing. Perhaps I could do that. (thanks, Andi!)

in Just-
dusk when the world is shadow-
mossed the one-winged lightningbug

blinks, incan/descent

and pillbugandmoth come
floating from screenshanks and 
scatterall and it’s

when the world is wing-wonderful

the lop-flighted
lighteningbug blinks
and beetleandroach come scalltering

from rot-hopping and stank-rope and

it’s dusk
lightningbug stutters



---Sara Lewis Holmes, inspired by "in Just-" by ee cummings

One more thing: we also decided to record these poems. Click on the sound file below to hear me read my work aloud.

Other echoes of ee cummings can be found at each of the Poetry Seven's blogs today:

Liz, echoing "i like my body when it is"
Tricia, echoing " a looking"
Tanita, echoing "the Cambridge ladies who live in furnished souls"
Laura,  echoing "Spring is like a perhaps hand"
Kelly,  echoing "maggie and milly and molly and may"
Andi, echoing "a wind has blown the rain away"

As a bonus, we've gathered all our recordings in one place on Soundcloud. (Perhaps we'll continue to record our work? I, for one, love hearing work read aloud.)

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Katie at the Logonauts.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Poetry Friday: An ode to...well, you'll see---I think

The Poetry Seven has a list: an agreed upon schedule of poetic forms we will attempt this year. And in which order.

But then, we get fancy. Throw around themes or a common word or two.

This month, we were due to tackle odes.  Free-verse odes, so no one had to wrestle with rhyme if they didn't want to.  The topic? Anything at all. The words? Up to us.

The only catch? They were supposed to be humorous.


It turns out that a funny ode---praising and pranking, both at once, you might say---is jolly hard.

An Ode to---well, you’ll see---I think

One wintry morn, waking to find
my snow shovel absconded with—
brazenly taken from under the front stairs
—and replaced by one with a cracked acrylic blade—
why oh why would you steal my shovel
and leave me your TRASH instead?—
I will make, to re-boot (re-foot? re-shoe?) the day
Frito waffles with mascarpone
and warm strawberry compote (!!!)
but today—having found this recipe
now am deeply depressed
for who can ode-alate
corn chips better than such a dish—certainly not
this poem, which is why
it is not about Fritos—

although, in a way, the first stanza touches
on but does not intersect
with the subject of this ode—
or should I say, the object of this ode—
for we use the term “object of my undying devotion”—
or perhaps the word is yet to be coined
 —the ode-ulatee? the ode-ified?—
or perhaps it is —like an old cell phone—in the clutches
of a different owner, and dialing it would yield
a word like odoriferous— which has nothing
to do with odes—

—still, there was this Danish mathematician—I know!
I know! the Danes don’t stink, but they are often confused
with the Finns, so I rather think it’s nearly as confusing
as odiferous—so, this Dane—
he thought nothing of writing
a book called Geomietriae Rotundi,
which might be funny if there were a photo
of him, jolly and circular, eating waffles,
but the year was 1585 and it was Denmark,
so perhaps he was wan and thin, and mope-y
in a Hamlet sort of no-snow-shovel way and really
would’ve annoyed you
with his tons and tons of friends, despite his lack
of social graces—or waffles—
and this is when— it occurs to you,
that he is a mathematician—

not a writer—and yet, he has introduced—
as you wish to—although not for the
first time, as he did, but soon! yes, soon!
the term you are gallantly ode-ifying
if only you could stop thinking
about Fritos—an idea which should be by now
all but parenthetical (which means enclosed)
while the term you are praising is entirely
uncaged— like one of those European
vacays, where you ricochet off borders
like you were being Googled
by a middle-schooler who must—in twelve minutes—
crib an ethnic costume indicative
of her illustrious ancestors
or else forfeit the extra credit needed
to crawl across the
finish (Ha! the Finns, again!) line
of World History and yet—

you cannot believe that in all this—
not once—perhaps because you are certain
that this mathematician, this Thomas Fincke—-
does that name sound Danish to you?— that he
had a snow shovel AND friends, and—despite having
a son-in-law named Ole Worm—perhaps he had
a loving, round-ish wife who made him waffles
—so maybe you should’ve praised
geometry, with all its useful
angles—but instead…
Sorry, I’ve lost my train
of thought. What was I saying?

This is an ode to tangents.
I like them.

---Sara Lewis Holmes (all rights reserved)

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Buffy at Buffy's Blog.

Other humorous odes by the Poetry Seven can be found here:  Tricia, Liz, Kelly, Laura, Andi, Tanita.