An Invitation to Participate in The Virtual Poetorium For May 31st, 2022…

Dear Readers,

I am very pleased to announce that we will be producing a May edition of the Virtual Poetorium this month (to be posted on the Poetorium website on the evening of the 31st) with Kevin King, a very talented novelist and poet from New Hampshire (author of the novel All the Stars Came Out That Night and the collection of poetry Ursprache) as our featured poet. Once again like I have done in previous months, I am going to once again open up May’s Virtual Poetorium for anyone who would like to participate and extend an invitation to all my fellow bloggers and faithful readers (or just anyone just happening to be reading this) to be a part of our unique online poetry gathering in print.

To be part of our virtual open mic this month, please send us one to three of your own original poems or stories (under 2000 words altogether please) either in a Word document file or pasted in the body of an email along with your name, any opening remarks you care to make, and where your poem has appeared if it was previously published to poetorium@mail.com by Friday, May 27th. Also if you like, you can send us a photo of yourself to be posted above your poem, but that is totally optional.

We will also need contributions to this month’s Poetorium Group poem. This month, the group poem will tentatively be titled “May Is the Month”. To participate, please send us one to eight lines with the first line starting with either the phrase “May is the month of…”, “May is the month for…”, or “May is the month to…”. All contributions (which will remain anonymous unless otherwise requested) will be compiled and included in this month’s Virtual Poetorium Group Poem. Once again, the deadline for submissions is the night of Friday, May 27th.

If you have any questions about submitting to the virtual open mic, the group Poetorium poem, or anything else about the Virtual Poetorium itself, please leave them in the comments of this post, and I will try to answer them right away.

Thank you so very much for reading, folks! As always, I really appreciate everyone’s continued support of this blog, and hope to hear from you soon with your contributions to this month’s edition of the Virtual Poetorium!

The Virtual Poetorium for April 26th, 2022…

Dear Readers,

Here is the link to the April 26th, 2022 edition of the Virtual Poetorium posted last night on the Poetorium website for you to hopefully peruse and enjoy at your leisure: https://poetorium.home.blog/virtual-poetorium-april-26-2022/.

I want to thank my fellow bloggers (Gypsie) Ami Offenbacher-Ferris, poetisatinta, and tommywart for graciously accepting my invitation to participate which I previously posted on this blog. Once again I have decided not to repost the entire Virtual Poetorium here on this blog as I have often done with previous editions because I feel that it is probably too long a read and thus far too overwhelming for most of my readers (as a result, some really excellent poetry might be skipped, and that would be a real shame). So instead, I will just post this month’s Poetorium group poem (which is always one of my favorite segments of the Poetorium).  I want to thank Karen Durlach, Dwayne Szlosek, Ariel Potter, Howard J Kogan, and poetisatinta for contributing and making the following poem possible (I hope you will enjoy it):

Photo by Paul Szlosek

Six Different Ways of Looking at a Dandelion

I
Pinching out early weeds from the March mud,
Wet roots giving up easily,
Leaving naked beds to welcome new seed
Careful to leave the rosettes of jagged leaves
That promise of dandelion,
Their golden smile not a weed here
Until their white fluff flies off
To harass the neighbors.

II
Do the mayflowers tremble
When they hear the dandelion roar?

III
Dandelions delight the early bees, frustrate the lawn perfectionist
delight the poet by rhyming with Mayan and Zion
implying there there is a dandelion
in play in the deepest yellow-headed way

IV
“Do not cut off the dandelions’ heads!”
I cried to my father at five years old.
“They are tiny yellow Muppets,
And I love them…”

V
Dandelions are a nuisance to a perfect lawn.
But such a perfect pretty flower of bright yellow
It is bright like the sun,
but if you put the dandelion flower under your chin
your chin will become yellow with fun.
People want to know how it is done.
And you will tell them it is magic
(That’s how it’s done…)

VI
The dandelion’s feathers
have already flown
their offspring rise
and lean towards the sun
peeking over wild grass
sunbeams – everyone.

—The April 2022 Virtual Poetorium Group Poem

An Invitation to Participate in The Virtual Poetorium For April 26th, 2022…

Dear Readers,

I am very pleased to announce that we will be producing an April edition of the Virtual Poetorium this month (to be posted on the Poetorium website on the evening of the 26th) with long-time Poetorium regular and founder of The Poets at Large Poetry Word reading series in Connecticut and Massachusetts, Karen Warinsky, as our featured poet. Once again like I did in previous months, I’d like to once again open up April’s Virtual Poetorium for anyone who would like to participate and extend an invitation to all my fellow bloggers and faithful readers (or just anyone just happening to be reading this) to be a part of our unique online poetry gathering in print.

To be part of our virtual open mic this month, please send us one to three of your own original poems or stories (under 2000 words altogether please) either in a Word document file or pasted in the body of an email along with your name, any opening remarks you care to make, and where your poem has appeared if it was previously published to poetorium@mail.com by Friday, April 22nd. Also if you like, you can send us a photo of yourself to be posted above your poem, but that is totally optional.

We also will need contributions to this month’s Poetorium Group poem. Even if you were a long-time Poetorium regular, you still probably wouldn’t remember way back in July 2019 (when the Poetorium poetry readings were still live) that we rewrote the classic Wallace Steven poem “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” as our group poem. Well, this month, we will be once again using that classic poem as a template, but this time we’ll be substituting the word “dandelion” for “blackbird”. So, to participate, please send us one to eight lines containing either the word “dandelion” or “dandelions”. Your contributions (which like always will remain anonymous unless otherwise requested) will then be numbered and compiled into this month’s group poem which will be tentatively entitled “Different Ways of Looking at a Dandelion”. Once again, the deadline to contribute will be Friday, April 22nd.

If you have any questions about submitting to the virtual open mic, the group Poetorium poem, or anything else about the Virtual Poetorium itself, please leave them in the comments of this post, and I will try to answer them right away.

Thank you so very much for reading, folks! As always, I really appreciate everyone’s continued support of this blog, and hope to hear from you soon with your contributions to this month’s edition of the Virtual Poetorium!

The Virtual Poetorium for March 29th, 2022

Dear Readers,

Here is the link to the March 29, 2022 edition of the Virtual Poetorium published five nights ago on the Poetorium website for you to hopefully peruse and enjoy at your leisure: https://poetorium.home.blog/virtual-poetorium-march-29-2022/

I want to thank my fellow bloggers Melissa LaFontaine, and (Gypsie) Ami Offenbacher-Ferris for graciously accepting the invitation to participate which I issued on this blog last month. Since this was probably the most successful Virtual Poetorium ever with fifteen poets participating, it may be too long a read (thus far too overwhelming for most of my readers), so I have decided not to repost the Virtual Poetorium in its entirety here on this blog as I have often done with previous editions. Instead I will do like I did last month, and just post this March’s Poetorium group poem (always one of my favorite segments of the Poetorium). Happily, as opposed to February’s poem for which we got only two submissions, we received contributions from seven poets (besides myself) so this poem is a bit longer this month. I want to thank Joe Fusco Jr., Tony Fusco (no relation), Dwayne Szlosek, Robert Eugene Perry, Melissa LaFontaine, Howard J Kogan, Cheryl Bonin, and Elizabeth (who didn’t leave the last name) for contributing and making the following poem possible (I hope you will enjoy it):

Just What Is This Thing Called Spring?

Spring is butterflies and buzzing bees.

Spring is
the raucous ravings
of avian angst.

Spring is Cherry Blossoms and blue skies.
Spring is the scent of bursting green blades.

Spring is the first dandelions
slow honey bees from the hive,
the fond hopes of the new year
tempered by memories of the past year.

Spring is falling in love all over again.

Spring is meeting someone new, as pretty as a spring rose.
Come dance with me, under the full moon tonight.
Come, the music is soft like the beauty I hold in my arms.
I can not look away, as I look into your eyes,
I see two people falling in love.
That’s why spring is, only for you and me to see our future
And love becomes one of the same, my true love to be.

Spring is dancing in the light sprinkle of rain.
Spring is cloud shapes transforming into ships and dragons.
Spring is a baseball hotdog and salted peanuts.

Spring is baseball…
Oiled gloves, tarred bats, chawed tobacco,
Coiffed grasses, smoothed dirt, powdered lines,
Old-timers, baby-faced rookies, renewed rivalries
Herald the coming of Spring.

Spring is the very nature of time changing speed.

Spring is effusive and too far away to be considered real
I can’t see the buds on the trees or the watering of potential
no warm breeze to feel
I do hear the birds singing but it seems like they do it in spite
I do sense the longer days and memories of my own fanciful flight
but it comes so silently I might as well not wait
or listen for the calls of geese as they break winter’s long state.

Spring is a non sequitur in Woosta!

Spring is only a rumor in New England.
Winter fades to Summer so quick
You’ll see us in shorts and winter jackets
Sandals and scarves, our cars’ back seats
Looking like a rummage sale.

Spring is now just a mere stopover on the long trek from Winter
To Summer, but back when I was a kid, it was our prime destination,
and I recall swinging on the backyard swing, and first noticing
new buds on the branches of the once bare elms and oaks,
the daffodils and paper whites in bloom, and experiencing
the inexplicable thrill of knowing that we had finally arrived!

—The March 2022 Virtual Poetorium Group Poem

10 Great Quotes About Poets, Poetry, and Writing by Matthew Zapruder

“What poetry is asking us to accept can be difficult. Our proximity to our mortality, the fragility of our existence, how close we live in every moment to nameless abysses, and the way language itself is beautifully, tragically, thrillingly insufficient…these are some of the engines that drive the poem. It’s natural to want to turn away from these things. But we have to face them, as best we can, at least sometimes. Poetry can help us in that nearly impossible work.”

“For me, form is something I locate in the process of writing the poems. What I mean is, I start scribbling, and then try to form the poem – on a typewriter or on my computer – and, by trial and error, try to find the right shape. I just try to keep forming the poem in different ways until it feels right to me.”

“There is all this stuff about how sensitive poets are and how in touch with feelings, etc. they are, but really all we care about is language. At least in the initial stages of the process of writing the poem, though later other things start to come in, and a really good poem usually needs something more than just an interest in the material of language to mean anything to a reader.”

“It is funny, and also a bit sad, that poets are so often asked to justify our vocation. There seems to be something vaguely mystifying and even hilarious to people about being a poet, especially in these times. Why would anyone choose to do something so…useless?”

“I’ve noticed that there can be a visceral reaction to strong statements about poetry, as if anyone who has an opinion and expresses it is shutting people down. It’s funny to see that expressed, and then to go back and read poetic statements by the great poets of the past: they are full of a passionate conviction! It is clearly possible to express strong feelings about poetry while also defending the absolute right of myriad approaches.”

“A poem is like a person. The more you know someone, the more you realize there is always something more to know and understand. A final understanding could probably only begin upon permanent separation, or death. This is why we come back to certain poems, as we do to places or people, to experience and re-experience, to see ourselves for who we truly are, and to continue to be changed.”

“This, in the end, might be the greatest social good of poetry: to get us to live differently, with a different sort of thinking and concentration, even if it’s just for a few moments.”

“I personally believe the role of poets as poets (which is something different from our obligations as citizens, community members, humans) is to write poems. I believe this because I am quite sure poetry can do something no other form or writing, or human activity, can, at least not in such a powerful and distilled and undeniable way. And that we need this type of thinking for our survival as individuals and as a species.”

“I’ve always been more than a little mystified by poets who seem to think talking to people as directly as possible is a bad thing. I mean, I don’t want to set up a straw man here: I understand that for many poets – and for me, at times – writing truly means writing in a way that is difficult, simply because the poem is trying to grasp for something elusive. So the difficulty of the poem is just unavoidable, and not in any way artificially imposed. So “as possible” is the key part of the phrase above, I suppose.

“All my closest friends came to me through poetry. My wife, too! Other than my family, poetry is the gravitational force of my life.”

—Matthew Zapruder

An Invitation to Participate in the Two-Year Anniversary Edition of the Virtual Poetorium…

Dear Readers,

I am very pleased to announce that we will be producing our second-year anniversary edition of the Virtual Poetorium this month (believe it or not, we first started doing the virtual version of the Poetorium in March 2020) featuring the popular Central Massachusetts-area poet and musician tommywart (aka Tom Ewart). Once again like I did last month, I’d like to once again open up this March’s Virtual Poetorium for anyone who would like to participate and invite all my fellow bloggers and faithful readers (or just anyone just happening to be reading this) to be a part of our unique online poetry gathering in print.

To be part of our virtual open mic this month, please send us one to three of your own original poems or stories (under 2000 words altogether please) either in a Word document file or pasted in the body of an email along with your name, any opening remarks you care to make, and where your poem has appeared if it was previously published to poetorium@mail.com by Friday, March 25th. Also if you like, you can send us a photo of yourself to be posted above your poem, but that is totally optional.

In spite of the extremely low amount of interest last month, we will also have another go at putting together another Poetorium group poem this month. The group poem for March 2022 will fittingly be Spring-themed. To participate, please send us one to eight lines starting with the phrase “Spring is…”. All contributions (which will remain anonymous unless otherwise requested) will be compiled and included in this month’s Virtual Poetorium Group Poem. Once again, the deadline for submissions is the night of Friday, March 25th.

If you have any questions about submitting to the virtual open mic, the group Poetorium poem, or anything else about the Virtual Poetorium itself, please leave them in the comments of this post, and I will try to answer them right away.

Thank you so very much for reading, my friends! I really appreciate everyone’s continued support of this blog, and hope to hear from you soon with your contributions to this month’s edition of the Virtual Poetorium!

Invented Poetry Forms – The Sepigram

Some of you readers with a good memory may recall a post I did last May discussing the Kindku, an invented poetry form inspired by both traditional Japanese forms (like the haiku and tanka) and Found Poetry. Recently one of that form’s creators, Cendrine Marrouat, contacted me to let me know about a brand new form that she invented just this January called the Sepigram, and asked if I might be interested in sharing it with you all. Like I did with the Kindku, I will once again let Cendrine explain the form and its rules in her own words taken from her website Cendrine Marrouat: Visual Poetry of the Mundane:

“The Sepigram is an unlimited poem that follows a “fractal” (or repetitive) pattern. The word is a portmanteau of “seven” + “pi” + “-gram” (‘something written’ or ‘drawing’). The “pi” part refers to the number π (3.14159 rounded up to 3.1416), which is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter.

Rules:

Each part of the Sepigram contains 14 lines and must be divided into 2 stanzas + 1 concluding line.

Part 1:

L1–1 word
L2–7 words
L3–8 words
L4 — repeat word from L1
L5–7 words
L6–8 words
L7 — repeat word from L1 or use a different word

L8 — repeat word from L1 or use a different word
L9–7 words
L10–8 words
L11 — repeat word from L8
L12–7 words
L13–8 words

L. 14: Use seven words from preceding lines (in any order) to make a sentence.

The poem can end here or continue.

Part 2:

L15 — repeat word from L8
L16–7 words
L17–8 words
L18 — repeat word from L8
L19–7 words
L20–8 words
L21 — repeat word from L8 or use a different word

L22 — repeat word from L15 or use a different word
L23–7 words
L24–8 words
L25 — repeat word from L22
L26–7 words
L27–8 words

L. 28: Use seven words from preceding lines (in any order) to make a sentence.

The poem can end here or continue.

As with all my other forms, sepigrams must feature positive / uplifting elements. A reference to nature is encouraged. For example: season, weather, month, time of the day, etc.

Punctuation and titles are optional.“

Cendrine graciously gave me permission to reprint on this blog the following sepigram she wrote as an example :

Night
came to us in a soft whisper
in the dance of rain at five o’clock.
Night
settled among the embers of our fireplace
like an old friend who knows her place
here.

Day
followed quietly when night forgot to look
an unruly child, we could truly say.
Day
settled in our chairs, bed and kitchen,
bringing smiles on our faces, in our hearts.

Night came, day followed, smiles settled quietly.

© 2022 Cendrine Marrouat

And now, here is my own attempt at writing a seprigram:

During My Daily Constitutional Today (a Seprigram)

Greetings
to the afternoon sun and the flock
of woolly clouds that crowd the sky above.
Greetings
to the silver sliver of the moon
appearing so incongruously in the midst of day.
Greetings,

Salutations
to each stray cat, all the squirrels
scurrying across lawns, clambering up oaks and maples.
Salutations
to people passing by (the strangers
who returned my smile, and the one who didn’t).

Greetings and salutations to one and all!

—Paul Szlosek

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed today’s post on the Sepigram, and will try writing some of your own (if you do and share them on your own blog, please make sure to credit the form to Cendrine and to link back to her website @ https://creativeramblings.com/sepigram/ ).

The Virtual Poetorium for February 22nd, 2022

Dear Readers,

Here is the link to the February 22, 2022 edition of the Virtual Poetorium posted last night on the Poetorium website for you to hopefully peruse and enjoy at your leisure. I want to thank my fellow bloggers Melissa LaFontaine, Diane Puterbaugh, Ken Ronkowitz, and tommywart for graciously accepting the invitation to participate which I previously posted on this blog. I have decided not to repost the entire Virtual Poetorium here on this blog as I have often done with previous editions because I feel that this one turned out to probably be too long a read and thus far too overwhelming for most of my readers (as a result, some really excellent poetry might be skipped, and that would be a real shame). So instead, I will just post this month’s Poetorium group poem (which is always one of my favorite segments of the Poetorium). I must confess it was really looking like that for the very first time since the Virtual Poetorium began, the group poem wasn’t going to happen this month due to lack of interest. However, happily, a pair of last-minute contributions from first-time participants Melissa and tommywart rescued it from the sad fate of never being created. So here it is, a bit briefer than usual (I sincerely hope you like it as much as I do)…

The Top Secrets of Gastronomical Pleasure

The secret to a good cup of coffee is heat.
Coffee, bitter, bold, and steaming hot is naturally a bit too much, you see.
You can tone that down with a cool splash of cream,
So you can drink it fully, without sucking it through teeth.

The secret to enjoying an ice-cold can of Moxie,
Like a true veteran Northern Vermont Yankee, is to learn
To embrace the bitterness of the gentian root with its vague
Hints of dandelions gathered from sunlit fields, savoring
The acrid aftertaste of your first swallow, and the strange sensation
In your tongue as if it was sensuously sliding over the nipple-
End of a D cell battery, while your entire body shudders involuntarily.

The secret to a fine dessert is how much you will crave it.
Warm and flaky, creamy, cold, it must satisfy your palate.
Otherwise, so I’m told, there’s no reason to even try it.

—The February 2022 Virtual Poetorium Group Poem

An Invitation to Participate in the Virtual Poetorium for February 22nd, 2022…

Dear Readers,

I am very pleased to announce that this month the Virtual Poetorium is back from its hiatus in January and we will be producing our 19th edition (if you count our special Scaretorium and Ho-Ho-etoriums) with the very talented Robert Eugene Perry (author of Surrendering to the Path) as our featured poet. Once again like we have done in the past, I’d like to once again open up this February’s Virtual Poetorium for anyone who would like to participate and invite all my fellow bloggers and faithful readers (or just anyone just happening to read this) to be a part of our unique online poetry gathering in print.

To be part of our virtual open mic this month, please send us one to three of your own original poems or stories (under 2000 words altogether please) either in a Word document file or pasted in the body of an email along with your name, any opening remarks you care to make, and where your poem has appeared if it was previously published to poetorium@mail.com by Sunday, February 20th.. Also if you like, you can send us a photo of yourself to be posted above your poem, but that is totally optional.

Once again, we also need contributions to this month’s Poetorium Group poem. This month, the group poem will tentatively be titled “Top Secrets”. To participate, please send us one to eight lines starting with the phrase “The secret to [fill in the blank] is…” (for example “The secret to everlasting love…” or “The secret to growing giant cacti is…”, whatever you want, let your imagination run wild, the weirder and the crazier, the better). All contributions (which will remain anonymous unless otherwise requested) will be compiled and included in this month’s Virtual Poetorium Group Poem. Once again, the deadline for submissions is the night of Sunday, February 20th.

If you have any questions about submitting to the virtual open mic, the group Poetorium poem, or anything else about the Virtual Poetorium itself, please leave them in the comments of this post, and I will try to answer them right away.

Thank you so very much for reading, my friends! I really appreciate everyone’s continued support of this blog, and hope to hear from you soon with your contributions to this month’s edition of the Virtual Poetorium!

10 Great Quotes About Poetry, Writing, and Art by Marie Howe

“Poetry is telling something to someone.”

“That’s the great thing about poetry. It’s worthless in the commodified world and doesn’t belong to anybody. That what is so precious, one of that last things that can’t be sold. Learn poems by heart, and then take them across borders. Put them in your wallet, on your refrigerator, carry them around-that’s what I’ve done all my life! Cut out poems and carry them around. I didn’t have to ask permission, the poem belongs to the world-this gift is one of the last examples that shows how art belongs to all of us.”

“I think poetry is one of the last places where the inner life of someone is held sacred. How it feels to be alive is held sacred. That reading it is a sacrament. Writing it-when one is in the right attitude and position, whether it fails or succeeds-is a kind of sacrament.”

“Poetry stops us and gives us something in common. I still believe that we could get poetry more into the public world. Unfortunately a lot of people believe they can’t read poetry because they were taught in school that it was difficult. Some poems are difficult, but many are not and so people are afraid-they don’t know where to go they don’t know what to do. I feel like we have to ambush them with something to realize that they don’t need to do anything more than just read and they’ll receive it.”

“A poem occurs when it actually is an experience, not the record of an experience. It’s when the writing itself brings me somewhere I never thought I would go, and there’s a discovery in the writing.”

“Poetry to me is oral; it really should be said out loud.”

“The great thing about art is that art helps us to let our hearts break open, rather than close. Everybody has known unimaginable moments of loneliness. Everyone we know has known pain and fear. And yet art can help us open to those moments rather than shut to those moments.”

“Every poem holds the unspeakable inside it. The unsayable… The thing that you can’t really say because it’s too complicated. It’s too complex for us. Every poem has that silence deep in the center of it.”

“Poetry saved my life-growing up and finding poems that reflected back to me psychological and emotional states that I was confronting. It’s an art that addresses the truth that we are living and dying at the same time. What could be stranger than that?”

—Marie Howe