Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Poem-a-Day Update, Baseball and a Sijo

Finally, all the results are in for the Poem-a-Day Challenge contest on the Poetic Asides blog, and I am quite satisfied with the results.  As I reported before, my Day 15 poem "Romantics" was selected as one of the 30 daily winners, to be published in an upcoming anthology/writing prompt book, Poem Your Heart Out.  Five of my other poems also made the daily top 10 lists: "Since the Last Snow" (Day 4), "Papers on Top of More Papers" (Day 8), "Wine is Bottled Poetry" (Day 11), "Ursula Upp and Dahlia Downn" (Day 22), "To Whomever Left the Empty Ice Cube Tray in the Freezer" (Day 25).  You can find all of them in my daily posts from the month of April. While "Romantics" was probably one of my best April poems, I was surprised that some of the rest were picked over poems I wrote in April that I thought were much better.  Robert Brewer picked each daily top 10, and maybe he thought that some of my better ones weren't as good a fit for his daily prompt as some others. (I was trying to combine his prompts with those from another blog, so sometimes I did give his a bit of a short shrift.) Or maybe it was just that there were at least ten poems that were better than mine on those particular days. The other thing, which may annoy some of the non-winners, is that 14 of the winning poems were written by just six different poets (one four-time winner and five two-time winners).  This couldn't really be helped with the format that was established, as there was a different "guest judge" for each day who probably had no idea which poets were previous winners. And after all, if you're good enough to win twice or even four times, more power to you.  I was also very glad to see not only a few of my online Poetic Asides friends win, but also two of my "real-life" poet friends, Joseph Harker and Kendall Bell. (Joseph won twice, and Kendall had six top 10s to go along with his win.)  In any event, I think this book will have a really good representation of poetry to accompany the daily prompts.

Not a lot of other poetry news, except I have three poems coming up in the next issue of CSHS Quarterly, and I'm looking forward to attending this year's Dodge Poetry Festival with my son.  I wish I could attend this year's Collingswood Book Festival (which I helped with last year by co-hosting a couple of poetry events), but I have a previous social engagement. The "poetry tent" lineup this year sounds terrific, featuring Patrick Rosal, Douglas Goetsch and BJ Ward, among others. It's a great outdoor fest in downtown Collingswood celebrating the written word, and you should attend this year if you can (Saturday, October 11).

Baseball: The 2014 season is coming mercifully to a close, and the less I say about the Phillies' season, the better. One of the few highlights was their combined no-hitter on September 1, tossed by Cole Hamels and three relievers. Hamels has been outstanding this year, but only has a 9-8 record to show for it, because his team has a hard time getting him run support.  If not for that won-loss record, he'd be on the short list for the Cy Young Award.  On a somewhat brighter note, my fantasy baseball team finished in third place in our ten-team league this year.  The only prize, however, is bragging rights.

Music: I still haven't heard much new music that has knocked me over, but the new one from the New Pornographers, Brill Bruisers, sounds great, probably their best since Twin Cinema.
I've been more on a "classic rock" kick lately - I set up a nice long playlist when I discovered that I have over 500 songs on my iPod that fit the category.  I've also been on a bit of a Weird Al Yankovic binge, after seeing a documentary about him on VH-1.  His new album, Mandatory Fun, is pretty good, and "Word Crimes" (a song about mangling the English language, a parody of Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines") is an instant classic.

Poem: Here's one I wrote earlier this year - it's a sijo, a three-line Korean form that's a bit longer and more complex than a haiku. The lines should be lyrical, with a syllabic count like this: 3-4-4-4, 3-4-4-4, 3-5-4-3.  Line 1 presents the theme or situation, Line 2 elaborates on it, perhaps with a "turn" or argument or point of view, and Line 3 ends with a "twist" or conclusion. There should be a break of some type in each line. Sijo can be humorous, metaphysical or personal. This one was a runner-up in the Poetic Asides sijo contest.

Solution Unknown

Pencil sharp, I tackle them – crossword puzzles, devilish grids,
squares to fill with many words, intersecting. Yet you remain
an enigma. I write, then erase. No words I know can solve you.