Last week, when I hosted Poetry Friday, many of you helped me create a list poem called "Facts are Poems." (You can see my explanation, and read the poem, here.)
This week, I printed out the poem and spent some time collecting words from it. This was a fun process, and I liked the way the words started to seem like ingredients for a recipe once I had them in various lists that were unrelated to their original context (all the verbs, all the adjectives, all the words starting with one particular letter, etc.).
Then I made some nestlings. If you haven't read Irene Latham's book This Poem is a Nest yet, you really should. This idea of nestlings comes from that book, where Irene wrote a long poem about a nest and then found new poems, or nestlings, in it. (I reviewed the book and tried my first nestlings here.)
Poems power peaceful planet
miserably lonely permanently
Memo from Extra-Terrestrial General to the Troops
Colonize the planet,
the solar system,
I have a birthday this week, and I am celebrating a pretty long life that's left me with a lot of source material to write about. Doing these nestlings reminded me of that fact as I sifted through the source material of the words of my nest poem and compared it in my mind to sifting through the years of ideas I've been granted.
When I turned 50, I started a writing project I called my QWP (Quinquagenarian Writing Project). Starting in July of the previous year, I set myself a goal of writing 50 pieces before my birthday. Since then, I start a new folder each year and work on seeing how many pieces I can amass before the next year's birthday. When I look back over last year's collection, from my birthday before the pandemic had hit us here on this island right up until this week, I feel happy. I'm not proud of every moment of the past year, every way I reacted to difficult times, but I am proud that I created. There are a lot of short pieces in the mix; there are many poems I wrote for other people; there are some whiny emotional writings; there's an inordinate amount about birds. I made stuff. In spite of everything, that stuff piled up.
Now it's time to open a new folder and write some more. Happy birthday to me!
Karen Edmisten has the roundup today. She's asking what new products were introduced the year we were born. For me it's the lava lamp! She's sharing a poem where Billy Collins reflects on the fact that he's as old as Cheerios. It looks as though there's a lot of bounty there already, so head on over!