Friday, June 3, 2011

Poetry Chall-ANGE!

We interrupt this blog break to bring you... a poetry post.

Okay, so I'm trying to settle into a Tuesday-Saturday habit of blogging, but I'm home sick today and before my hubby locks me in my room for the day (he doesn't realize I have the laptop hahahahah!), I wanted to join a really cool poetry challenge, and invite you to join as well.

This challenge has been issued by Dan Wells, author of the I Am Not a Serial Killer series. I was reminded of this challenge today by his brother, Robison Wells, author of the upcoming YA dystopian VARIANT, who is also joining the challenge. Basically, if the Wells brothers can agree on something, we all have to join, right? Right. :)

So, from Dan's post, the rules are as follows:
Starting this week, and proceeding through the summer, we’re going to memorize one poem a week, that’s 12 poems. Want to join us? Here’s the rules:
1. It must be a poem you don’t already have fully memorized, but it’s okay if you already have some of it memorized.
2. You must recite the entire poem, out loud, from memory, for at least one other person, on Sunday. That gives you slightly less than a full week for the first one, so pick something easy.
3. There are no length restrictions, but if all your poems are little quatrains or tiny nursery rhymes you’re cheating in spirit. Throw a few multi-stanza poems in there; you can do it.
4. No William Carlos Williams allowed. There will be zero tolerance on this point.
5. Everything is done completely on the honors system. If you say you did it, we believe you.
I'm drawn to this challenge because, well, poetry is a lot like painting with words. I'm a lousy painter, and I don't often "get" what paintings are trying to say, but words are cool. I relate to them.

When I was younger and my brain was like a sponge, I memorized lengthy poems left and right. The Highwayman. The Raven. De Stove Pipe Hole. Yes, I love story poems. I'd memorize them for fun. I can still recite them (mostly) to this day. I'll have to do some searching to find 12 poems I want to add to my repertoire, but with millions of poems to choose from, I should be able to find something.

For my first short-week poem, I'm choosing Question by May Swenson. Yes, this is the poem at the front of Stephenie Meyer's THE HOST. I've half-heartedly tried to memorize it a few times already and now I'm gonna get it done. I love it. I love the idea that I'm hiding inside my body, which serves as my shelter, my transportation, and my way of sensing the world around me. I think I'll really miss my body after I die. Here's the text:

by May Swenson

Body my house
my horse my hound
what will I do
when you are fallen

Where will I sleep
How will I ride
What will I hunt

Where can I go
without my mount
all eager and quick
How will I know
in thicket ahead
is danger or treasure
when Body my good
bright dog is dead

How will it be
to lie in the sky
without roof or door
and wind for an eye

With cloud for shift
how will I hide?

So who'll join me? What poems draw you? Honestly, I think this is one challenge where we'll learn a LOT about each other. Once you understand a poem that someone else is drawn to, you understand a lot about that person. For instance, Dan appears to love the freedom of chaos, however brief, and Rob appears to appreciate being aware of the sad march toward death. As, apparently, do I. :)


  1. This is a challenge for young people. =D Good luck!

  2. Oh my gosh this is brilliant. I should totally do this. Should, I say ;)
    I wish this month lent itself to this better. Grrrrr, maybe I'll be a part-participant.

  3. Donna--I'm going to refrain from mentioning the scores of older-than-Donna actors who still memorize their lines (or older-than-Donna church-goers who still memorize scriptures) everyday. *bawks like a chicken instead*

    Shelly--you can do really short poems, girl! You should totally play!

  4. Will Deep Thoughts (poems), by Jack Handey count?

  5. LC--I don't see why not, but hop on over to Dan's blog and ask him. This is his game, not mine. :)

  6. Just passed this off to my 10-year-old. Only took me 3 tries. :D Huzzah!