Friday, July 13, 2007


We are fast closing in on the deadline for poem submission and we're still a small (but special) bunch. Come on friends - play along! And if you are playing but haven't yet declared your poems yet, please do, by July 20!

Here are the rules again:

The Challenge: Assign yourself 4 poems you have not really read:
  • 1 poem written before 1900
  • 1 poem written 1900-2000
  • 1 poem written in 2000-2007
  • 1 poem you're intimidated by, find mysterious, or simply don't understand, from any period.
These can be any length - really. They can be haiku, they can be book-length. They can be famous, they can be unknown - just don't use your own poetry, please. Otherwise, suit yourself.

What to do: Please formally enroll yourself here with your blog name in parentheses and blog URL (linking me directly to your posting of the poems will make the process more efficient for your visitors, but do as you wish). Also list your four poem titles and poets, please. If you change your mind or fill in one as you go, please mark your addendum as "your blog name" poetry submission #2 (etc...). Please label all posts "summer poetry challenge." One submission (of four poems) per person, please.

Sign-up deadline: No later than July 20, 2007.

I will post an index of all participants, listing your name, blog, four poems and poets. That index will link readers in our "reading week" to your poems directly.

Posting deadline: For one week, beginning August 1, post your poems (unless they're too long, in which case your thoughts on them, your questions about them, and any excerpts you choose can be posted instead). If they are long poems, post sooner so others can read them too if they choose!

Posting the poems on your own site will create readers for you and put your dialogue right at your fingertips, but with any luck we will get a cross-dialogue going.

Check in periodically for updates.

Most of all - read gorgeously good poems and spread the word(s)!

Who's playing so far: See side bar for the list

What are they reading:

pre-1900: Paradise Lost by Milton

1900 - 2000: a pick from Adam Zagajewski's Without End

2000-2007: a pick from Talking Dirty to the Gods - Yusef Komunyakaa

From any period: Persephone the Wanderer by Louise Glück

Before 1900: “And did those feet in ancient time” by William Blake — 1804

1900-2000: “Les Feuilles Mortes” by Jacques Prévert

2000-2007: “We Gather” by Nikki Giovanni — 2007

A poem I find mysterious: “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll — 1871

Before 1900: The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (translated by Edward Fitzgerald), written 11th or 12th century.

1900-2000: 'The Force That Through the Green Fuse Drives the Flower' by Dylan Thomas - 1933

2000-2007: 'Cactus' by Siobhan Harvey (one for Australia!) - 2007.

Lastly, 'Waiting for the Barbarians' by Constantine Cavafy, mysterious to me as it's captured the inspiration of some of my favourite writers, yet I have never read it - 1904.

Before 1900: Paradise Lost - by John Milton. I read it when I was a junior in high school, for English - and I can honestly say that that doesnt' count. I need to read it in its entirety again.

1900 - 2000: To Brooklyn Bridge - by Hart Crane

2000 - 2007: Anahorish 1944 - by Seamus Heaney

Poem I find mysterious: Sailing to Byzantium - WB Yeats

Pre-1900: Song of Myself from Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman - 1855

1900-2000: The Man with the Blue Guitar by Wallace Stevens - 1937

2000-2007: Twenty-Seven Props for a Production of Eine Lebenszeit
by Timothy Donnelly - 2001-2003

Mysterious: The Book of Questions by Pablo Neruda - 1973

Loose Baggy Monster:
Pre-1900: Dante's "Inferno"

1900-2000: Something by Osip Mandelstam (perhaps "To the German Language"-1932)

2000-2007: "Early Hour" by Wislawa Szymborska-2006.

Any period: "For My Enemies" by Boris Pasternak

Before 1900: Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience (I'll choose one poem from each part to post)

1900-2000: Yevgeny Yevtushenko, "Tomorrow's Wind" (1977)

2000-2007: "Reading the Entrails: a Rondel" by Neil Gaiman

Other: Sylvia Plath's "Daddy" (I chose it because 1) I've always had a problem w/ Plath for committing suicide and 2) the poem itself is quite disturbing, but also haunting and powerful)


meli said...

Hi Ted, I think I'd better abdicate. While I think it's a great idea, it's not going to fit in with my itinerant life-style - after a jam-packed month in Leeds involving moving house and attending big medieval conference (and not having much internet access), I'm off to Germany, France, Norway, America, for paragliding and hopefully working on my thesis as well, so I think trying to do this too might be a bit stressful. Have fun though!

Ted said...

Sounds like your plate is full! We'll miss your contributions, Meli, but I totally understand.

Imani said...

Hey, I'd like to change one of my selections. For the "poem from any time period" I'm switching the Nezami for "Persephone the Wanderer" by Louise Glück.


Ted said...

Imani - duly noted. No problem. Was that what you had posted today? That was gorgeous!