The International Imaginarium For Word & Verse For September 27th, 2022

Dear Readers,

Here is the link to the second first edition of The International Imaginarium for Word & Verse (which is the new name for The Virtual Poetorium) with the multi-talented writer, poet, lyricist, playwright and theatrical director James B. Nicola from New York City as the featured poet posted last Tuesday night on our brand new Imaginarium website for you to hopefully peruse and enjoy at your leisure: https://internationalimaginarium.blogspot.com/2022/09/international-imaginarium-for-word.html

I want to thank my fellow bloggers John Ormsby, Diane Puterbaugh, Angela Wilson (AKA poetisatinta), and Tom Ewart (AKA tommywart) for graciously accepting my invitation to participate which I previously posted on this blog. Like last time, I have decided not to repost the entire Imaginarium here on this blog as I have often done with previous editions of the Virtual Poetorium 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 Imaginarium group poem (which is probably one of my favorite segments of both the Poetorium and the Imaginarium). This month, we did a variation of what we did for our Poetorium group poem in September 2019, but instead of asking people to contribute a few lines of “something a true poet would never say”, we asked them to do the opposite and send us one to eight lines of “things only a real poet would say”. All contributions we received were then compiled and included in this month’s Imaginarium Group Poem. I want to thank Robert Eugene Perry, John Ormsby, Howard J Kogan, Karen Durlach, and Angela Wilson (AKA Poetisatinta) as well as other contributors who wish to remain anonymous for participating and making the following poem possible (both John’s and Angela’s contributions can be found published as individual poems on their respective websites Mr. Ormsby at Large and Let’s Write…):

Eight Things Only a Real Poet Would Say…

I.
Love is eternal regardless of what life draws in
Indeed, when we hold it at arm’s length
It will eventually find its home again
A ceaseless feeling that may rip you apart
But the beauty of both love and a poem
Is they are found in the heart.

II.
The heart is a church with broken windows.

III.
A metaphor is a revolving door
That brings you back to where you were before.

IV.
This is just to say
I have eaten all the words
You had strewn across the page
They were delightful
So full of life,
As am I.

V.
You see a marble
I see the moon
You hear a garble
I hear a tune
You hold me closer
Without a sound
I’m life’s composer
Noting it down

VI.
In regards to writing poetry,
The money does not matter…

VII.
The things only a real poet would say are lies
And only real poets spout the gods’ truth.
When the parrot poets, the mocking birds, and the mourning doves
Taught the apes to sing and dance,
Channel thought into word, thrum air into verse,
Then all born would be poets, sharing stories,
Forwards and backwards and inside out,
Truth and lies, lies and truth.

VIII.
When we first began to write,
We were all convinced we would save
The Universe with our verse.
Then later we thought we would be
the ones to rescue poetry from the world.
But now in the final stanza, we, at last, realize
It was, in fact, the poetry that saved us all…

—The International Imaginarium Group Poem for September 27th, 2022

An Invitation to Participate in the Second Edition of The International Imaginarium For Word & Verse…

Dear Readers,

I’m happy to announce that The International Imaginarium For Word & Verse (formerly known as The Virtual Poetorium) is back from its hiatus in August and would like to invite all of you to participate in our second edition (with the multi-talented writer, poet, lyricist, playwright, and theatrical director James B. Nicola as our featured poet) to be posted on our new Imaginarium website on the evening of September 27th, 2022.

To be part of our Imaginarium 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, September 25th (my apologies for giving you such a short time to submit). 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 for this month’s Imaginarium Group poem. This month, we will be doing a variation of what we did for our Poetorium group poem in September 2019, but instead of asking you to contribute your lines of “something a true poet would never say”, we are asking you to do the opposite and send us one to eight lines of “things only a real poet would say”. All contributions (which will remain anonymous unless otherwise requested) will be compiled and included in this month’s Imaginarium Group Poem. Once again, the deadline for submissions is Sunday, September 25th.

If you have any questions about submitting to the virtual open mic, the group Imaginarium poem, or anything else about the International Imaginarium For Word & Verse 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 our second edition of the International Imaginarium!

10 More Great Quotes About Poetry, Writing, and Art by Jane Hirshfield

“Poems offer us counter-knowledges. They let us see what is invisible to ordinary looking, and to find in overlooked corners the opulence of our actual lives. Similarly, we usually spend our waking hours trying to be sure of things – of our decisions, our ideas, our choices. We so want to be right. But we walk by right foot and left foot.”

“At another level, though, poems can craft an eraser – we can’t revise the past, but poems allow us some malleability, an increased freedom of response, comprehension, feeling. Choice, what choices are possible for any given person, is another theme that’s run through my work from the start.”

“A certain amount of housekeeping also goes on in my poems. I wash doorknobs, do dishes, mop floors, patch carpets, cook.”

“Any artist, in any field, wants to press deeper, to discover further. Image and sound play are among the strongest colors available to poetry’s palette. For a long time, I’ve wanted to invite in more strangeness, more freedom of imagination. Yet music, seeing, and meaning are also cohering disciplines. They can be stretched, and that is part of poetry’s helium pleasure. But not to the point of breaking.”

“Poetry’s work is the clarification and magnification of being.”

“The ability to name poetry’s gestures and rhetorics isn’t required to write or read them, any more than a painter needs to know the physics of color to bring forward a landscape. The eye and hand and ear know what they need to know. Some of us want to know more, because knowing pleases.”

“One breath taken completely; one poem, fully written, fully read – in such a moment, anything can happen”

“I want to preserve a certain unknowing about my own poems – perhaps because unknowing is in itself a useful poetic thirst. To move the perimeter of saying outside my own boundaries is one reason I write.”

“A poem’s essential discovery can happen at a single sitting. The cascade of discoveries in an essay, or even finding a question worth exploring in one, seems to need roughly the time it takes to plant and harvest a crop of bush beans.”

“I require silence to write the way an apple tree requires winter to make fruit. Being with people is intimate and joyous, but at some point, I’ll wander off by myself. The paradox is that what began in childhood as an act of necessary solitude has led me straight to a life with others, in which I fly to China or Lithuania or northern Minnesota to read my poems and talk with other people who love language made into a lathe on which a life can be tuned and be turned.”

—Jane Hirshfield

10 Great Quotes About Poets, Poetry, and Writing by Karl Shapiro

“The public has an unusual relationship to the poet: It doesn’t even know that he is there.“

“As to the proper length of a poem, there’s no ‘proper length’. It should be complete, should present a whole, rounded idea. But keep in mind that the longer a poem is, the tougher it is to write and the harder it is to hold the reader’s interest.”

“Poetry is innocent, not wise. It does not learn from experience, because each poetic experience is unique.”

“Poetry is not a way of saying things; it’s a way of seeing things.”

“Poets of course are even more unpredictable than other writers, overwhelmed as they are by the moment they inhabit and finding it difficult to connect yesterday with tomorrow.”

“Contemporary poetry or the kind a ‘long-hair’ might write is highly abstract and unnecessarily obscure. Those who write the stuff depend on ideas and tricks of language to such an extent that it is often impossible to extract any meaning from their poems.”

“The good poet sticks to his real loves, to see within the realm of possibility. He never tries to hold hands with God or the human race.”

“To write a good poem, the writer should feel pretty damn strongly on the point he’s trying to express. Give it everything, but use your own speech, your own idiom. This gives the piece individuality and strength.”

“Brevity, in poetry, as in the time a guy has to spend getting shot at, is very desirable.”

“A poem should make easy reading for the ordinary guy who doesn’t happen to be a brain trust. The reader should understand the piece and get enjoyment out of it. Otherwise, the poem would be better unwritten.”

—Karl Shapiro

A Virtual Poetorium Interview With Therese Gleason…

Therese Gleason

Today’s post is the fourth in a series of interviews with poets reposted on this blog that originally appeared in the Virtual Poetorium. This interview with poet Therese Gleason was first published a little over two years ago in the May 26, 2022 edition of the Virtual Poetorium (I hope you will enjoy reading it)…

Therese Gleason is author of two chapbooks: Libation (2006), selected by Kwame Dawes as co-winner of the South Carolina Poetry Initiative chapbook competition, and Matrilineal (Finishing Line, 2021). She was a finalist in the 2022 Wolfson Press chapbook competition, and received an honorable mention for the 2020 Frank O’Hara Prize from The Worcester Review. Her work has appeared/is forthcoming in 32 Poems, Indiana Review, RattleNew Ohio ReviewPainted Bride Quarterly, America, and elsewhere. Originally from Louisville, KY, Therese currently works as literacy teacher at an elementary school in Worcester, MA, where she lives with her spouse and three children. She reads for The Worcester Review and has an MFA in Poetry from Pacific University. Find her online at theresegleason.com. Copies of Therese’s most recent chapbook Matrilineal may be purchased online through her publisher Finishing Line Press by clicking here.

RON: My first question is so who is Therese Gleason anyway?

THERESE; Mom of three, poet, educator, quasi-southerner with a midwestern twist, wife, double-twin (I’m a twin and the mother of twins), friend, unofficial family historian, astrology buff, non-native Spanish speaker, former marathon runner, erstwhile vegetarian, sweet tooth, inveterate napper, ceiling gazer, not necessarily in that order.

RON: Where have you come from, (meaning what city and state)?

THERESE: I was born in Springfield, Illinois, moved to St. Louis, Missouri when I was a toddler, and then spent most of my formative years in Kentucky, growing up in Louisville and then attending the University of Kentucky in Lexington for my undergraduate degree in Spanish and my masters in English. I also spent a summer living in Cape Coast, Ghana, and lived two years in Madrid, Spain, two years in Washington, D.C., and over a decade in Columbia, South Carolina. We moved to Worcester from South Carolina five years ago this summer for my husband to take a position directing the International Development, Community, and Environment department at Clark University, and I’m proud to call central Massachusetts home. I heart Worcester!

RON: Who influenced your abilities in writing?

THERESE: I am fortunate to come from a family of readers and lovers of literature and art. I grew up being read to from as far back as I can remember, including my father reading me and my two sisters picture books and then The Little House on the Prairie series when we were in preschool. My mother is a voracious reader and I have always marveled at her ability to completely lose herself in a book – probably a survival mechanism for a mother of five. She took us to the library practically weekly and we read rather than watch much T.V., which she limited stringently.

My grandfather, too, was a huge influence, never failing to ask me (and his other two-dozen plus grandchildren and great-grandchildren), what I was reading. He introduced me to Emily Dickinson and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, whose poems he could quote by heart. A medic in World War II at age nineteen, he went on to father seven children and have a long career as a cardiologist, after which, in his retirement, in between learning French and golfing daily, he wrote three memoirs and was at work on his fourth at the time of his death. Not long before he died, he passed the torch to me when I congratulated him on his third self-published book, saying “you’re next.”

RON: Who is your most loved poet (or poets) and why?

THERESE: This is so hard to answer…but it’s probably Stanley Kunitz, for his humanity, imagination, intelligence, and the beauty of his language and insights. I could go on for pages about all the others I also adore…so I’ll spare everyone and stick with just one.

RON: Do you have children and do you write anything for them? Or about them?

THERESE: I have three spirited children who amaze me and make me laugh every day: my oldest daughter is thirteen and my twins, a boy, and a girl, just turned ten. They sometimes find their way into my writing, but I don’t tend to write things specifically for them.

RON: How much time do you spend writing? Like, do you write every day?

THERESE: I write almost every day, but that has not always been true. When my children were younger, I had long dry spells of not reading or writing poetry. I find it’s an ongoing process to carve out the time and space I need to write while being flexible based on my other roles and responsibilities, namely parenting and teaching literacy/reading intervention to students with dyslexia and other learning differences.

RON: Paul, do you have any questions you’d like to ask Therese?

PAUL: Yes, thank you, Ron. I do have a few… Therese, can you tell us what it is like to pursue your Master of Fine Arts in Writing, and do you think that is something every poet should do?

THERESE: I couldn’t speak to what other poets should do, but I am infinitely grateful that I took the plunge and have been able to pursue my MFA at Pacific University. I pondered doing this for years, and finally decided on a low-residency format, to allow me to keep working and taking care of my family while learning from a roster of poets so outstanding that I literally pinch myself that I get to study with them: Kwame Dawes, Mahtem Shiferraw, Marvin Bell, Dorianne Laux, Joseph Millar, Ellen Bass, and Shara McCallum, to name a few. In fact, I sought out Pacific University knowing Kwame Dawes was on the faculty, having been fortunate to work with him before. My main goals in undertaking the MFA were to cultivate a daily/near daily and regular reading and writing practice that I can sustain and maintain in the midst of ‘real life’ and my other family and work responsibilities; to improve my craft, and to find a community that supports and inspires me.

So far, one year into the program, I can say my investment is already paying off in spades. I am so glad I gave myself this gift and fortunate to have this opportunity. The way the program works is that over two years, we attend five intensive, in-person residencies with daily workshops, craft talks, and readings of 10 days each, which happen to be in beautiful Forest Grove and Seaside Oregon. During each of the four semesters, we are matched with a faculty mentor and advisor, with whom five packets of work are exchanged throughout the semester; these include about 4-6 poems each, and three reading commentaries on poetry collections. Each semester, our faculty advisors help us create a reading list of 20 books; third semester includes a critical essay and the fourth semester includes a creative thesis. The program at Pacific has an inimitable combination of rigor and warmth and is genuinely friendly and supportive while also challenging each writer to be their best.

PAUL: Do you ever do research while writing a poem, and if so, are there any particular subjects that you learned a lot more about now because of your poetry?

THERESE: I have benefited from the extensive genealogical research that my great aunt did on my maternal line: I have used the citations in her two meticulously researched books as a springboard for continued digging via ancestry.com and other online and archival sources. This has informed a cycle of poems (some of which were featured here), and that I am continuing to work on. Something I learned through this research is that one branch of my family has deep roots in New England going back to the earliest days of the colonies, with involvement in such formative events as the Salem witch trials and the American Revolution.

PAUL: Can you tell us a bit about your process of writing a poem (especially how you usually begin)?

THERESE: Well, usually I begin writing by hand in a composition notebook, one of those speckled black and white ones with a mechanical pencil, sometimes from a prompt and sometimes when the spirit moves me. Then I move to the computer and type the poem, which allows me to manipulate the lines and language more easily. I tend to make many versions and changes, sometimes printing poems out and marking them up, sometimes emailing them to myself and reading them over and over at different times of day and in different places. I also read my poems out loud to try to refine the lineation and sonic elements. I’m lucky to have a couple of wonderful writing groups in which we read and share comments on each other’s work every week/biweekly. Having community to help refine the work and be in conversation with other poets is something I sought for a long time, and I am grateful to have this in my life now.

PAUL: How did your chapbook Libation come about? For instance, is this a collection of poetry you previously wrote, or did you write poems specifically for this chapbook?

THERESE: I didn’t set out to write a chapbook; Libation (Stepping Stones Press, 2006) came about from my daily journaling and poetry writing during the summer of 2000, when I spent May to August in Cape Coast, Ghana, with my now-husband Ed Carr, who was working on archaeological and ethnographic research in two small villages called Ponkrum and Dominase, just inland from Cape Coast. I carried my notebook everywhere and crafted poems out of my observations and experiences. I returned to Kentucky and workshopped some of the poems in my classes led by James Baker Hall, with a phenomenal group of peers. Then for two years the poems sat while I taught English in Madrid. When we moved to Columbia for my husband to take a position at the University of South Carolina, I was incredibly lucky to encounter the South Carolina Poetry Initiative at the university, headed by Kwame Dawes.

This is kind of like a fairy tale, but he graciously offered to read my manuscript and provided detailed, generous feedback. I also participated in the SC Poetry Initiative’s First Book Project, a small (free, open to the public) group of poets with manuscripts they were working to arrange into collections. We took turns reading each other’s manuscripts and providing feedback on the order and coherence of the pieces as a whole as well as making other editorial suggestions. It was led by Ed Madden, an incredible poet and teacher, and several of us ended up getting published afterward. I entered my chapbook in the inaugural South Carolina Poetry Initiative Chapbook Competition, and it was a co-winner, selected by Kwame Dawes and published by the Poetry Initiative at the University of South Carolina. It was a dream come true and a combination of luck and timing that I happened to be in the right place at the right time to access such a marvelous poetry community. I didn’t quite realize at the time how unusual and charmed my experience was, but I do now, and will always be grateful.

The International Imaginarium For Word & Verse For July 26th, 2022

Dear Readers,

Here is the link to our very first edition of the International Imaginarium for Word & Verse (which is the new name for the Virtual Poetorium) posted last night on our brand new Imaginarium website for you to hopefully peruse and enjoy at your leisure: https://internationalimaginarium.blogspot.com/2022/07/the-international-imaginarium-for-word.html

I want to thank my fellow bloggers John Ormsby for being the Imaginarium’s very first featured poet, Angela Wilson (AKA poetisatinta) and Noah Sweet for contributing to the Imaginarium’s very first group poem, and (Gypsie) Ami Offenbacher-Ferris, and Diane Puterbaugh for participating in the Imaginarium’s very first open mic. I have decided not to repost the entire International Imaginarium here on this blog as I have often done with previous editions of the Virtual Poetoriums 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 the poem that I closed this month’s Imaginarium with. With the Virtual Poetorium, I normally would close with a poem of my own, but I’ve been thinking a lot about my mom and dad recently, especially since their 63rd wedding anniversary would have been just a bit over a week ago on July 19th. They both passed away quite a few years ago, my father in 1993 and my mother in 2013. Although I don’t know if my father did (he was fairly secretive, and might have hidden it from me), my mother wrote poetry throughout her life and was a big influence on me becoming a poet myself. In fact, she was often my co-host when I ran my first poetry venue The Poet’s Parlor. So I decided to close the first Imaginarium with what was probably my mom’s most popular poem (and one of my own personal favorites) with many people fondly remembering it and requesting for her to read it at The Poet’s Parlor throughout its thirteen years of existence (I hope you will enjoy it as much as they did and I still do):

My War on Slugs

I have declared a war on slugs,
not bugs or drugs, but slugs.
You know those nasty things
that look like snails without a shell?
At least, you can eat snails
(if you like that sort of thing).
I can’t see much purpose for slugs.
They leave a slimy goo behind them
everywhere they go. Even on your hands
if you touch them. It won’t wash off,
even with soap and water.
The stuff has to be scraped off.
Every time I pick cherry tomatoes,
I get a handful of slime & slugs,
and have to throw away all
the tomatoes that they touched.
I tried picking the slugs by hand
into a tin can, but it’s real messy
even with a plastic bag covering my hand.
One day I picked over 250 slugs,
but there was still hundreds crawling around.
I figured there had to be a better way,
finally deciding to try a friend’s advice.
“Get a quart bottle of the cheapest beer”
She said. “Go to the discount liquor store,
it’s cheaper there than the grocery store.
Put the beer in a pie tin,
and watch the slugs go at it.”
So at the age of 72,
I bought my very first bottle of beer.
I didn’t know what to ask for.
Rather embarrassed, I asked for
the cheapest, biggest bottle they had.
I tried to explain what it was for,
but the cashier, a young man, just stared at me
A customer told me where the beer was.
I picked up one bottle, paid for it,
then got out of there fast, my face burning.
First I tried a couple of shallow pans.
The slugs soon found it, drank & left.
It seemed to me they were much happier.
Then I used narrow deeper bowls,
sinking them down into the ground.
This time they drank, fell in, and drowned.
In a couple of days, the little bowls were
packed like sardines with dead slugs.
I then needed more beer. This time I marched
into the discount liquor store, my head held high.
I went right to the beer, picking up two bottles.
Two young men and several customers
were at the check-out counter. When I paid
for my beer, I didn’t even explain
what the beer was for. As I was leaving,
they said “ Have a good evening, Lady,
have fun!” I really didn’t care this time
what they thought because the beer really works!
Although the battle isn’t over,
I’m sure I’m winning the war:

The slugs ate my tomatoes.
They just ate and ate.
Because of that,
they sealed their fate.
I threw a party
and served them beer.
So now, the slugs
are no longer here
.”

—Pauline Szlosek

An Invitation to Participate in the Very First International Imaginarium For Word & Verse…

Dear Readers,

I’d like to invite all of you to participate in our very first edition of what was previously known as the Virtual Poetorium under its new name of The International Imaginarium For Word & Verse this month (to be posted on our brand new Inaginarium website on the evening of July 26th) with John Ormsby, a very talented writer, poet, and blogger (originally from Canada but now living in the United Kingdom) as our featured poet.

To be part of our Imaginarium 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, July 24th.. 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 for our very first Imaginarium Group poem. We will be trying something a bit different this month, and write a group ekphrastic cento (ekphrastic meaning inspired by a work of art such as a photo, painting, or sculpture while a cento is a patchwork poem consisting completely of lines taken from other poems or writing). To participate, please write and send us a six-line poem inspired by the following photo:

At least one line (but probably more) from each submission will then be taken and rewoven into one long seamless, flowing poem that hopefully can stand on its own by the editor (which in this case will be me). We will retain our usual policy on anonymity that we used for the Poetorium group poem, but that is totally optional, and poets can receive credit for their contribution and have their individual poems published alongside the collaborative poem if they wish. Please try to send me your individual poems by Sunday, July 24th, so I will have time to edit the resulting cento. Also kindly let me know if you want to have your identity known and/or your original poem published.

If you have any questions about submitting to the virtual open mic, the group Imaginarium poem, or anything else about the International Imaginarium For Word & Verse 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 our very first edition of the International Imaginarium!

10 More Great Quotes About Poets, Poetry, and Writing by Anne Sexton

“Saints have no moderation, nor do poets, just exuberance.”

“I am not a prophet but I think you will make it if you learn to revise, if you take your time, if you work your guts out on one poem for four months instead of just letting the miracle (as you must feel it) flow from the pen and then just leave it with the excuse that you are undisciplined.”

“Poetry, after all, milks the unconscious.”

“Those moments before a poem comes, when the heightened awareness comes over you, and you realize a poem is buried there somewhere, you prepare yourself. I run around, you know, kind of skipping around the house, marvelous elation. It’s as though I could fly.”

“Everyone in the world seems to be writing poems … but only a few climb into the sky.”

“My poems only come when I have almost lost the ability to utter a word. To speak, in a way, of the unspeakable.”

“You must be a poet, a lady of evil luck desiring to be what you are not, longing to be what you can only visit.”

“Poetry is my life, my postmark, my hands, my kitchen, my face.”

“Writers are such phonies: they sometimes have wise insights but they don’t live by them at all. That’s what writers are like…you think they know something, but usually they are just messes.”

“I was born doing reference work in sin, and born confessing it. This is what poems are.”

—Anne Sexton

Invented Poetry Forms – The Mariannet

My dear readers, please forgive me for being so neglectful! It’s hard for me to believe, but I haven’t posted a post on invented poetry forms (a series that has always been the mainstay of this blog) here on “Paul’s Poetry Playground” since last February, so it’s certainly time for me to do another one. Today I will discuss the Mariannet, a name I coined for the previously unnamed poetic form that the poet Marianne Moore created to write her classic poem “The Fish” first published in 1918. Since the form was invented over a hundred years ago, it isn’t exactly new, but in many ways, it will be to most poets, because as far as I can tell, I may be the first to start writing them again since Moore.

The mariannet is an isosyllabic rhyming poem, consisting of one or more five-line stanzas (quintains) with one syllable in the first line, three in the second, nine in the third, six in the fourth, and eight in the fifth and final line. The first two lines rhyme with each other, and so does the third and fourth, but the fifth is nonrhyming and does not rhyme with any other lines. Thus its rhyme scheme can be expressed as aabbx for each individual quintain (with x representing the nonrhyming line). In Moore’s original formatting of the form, the third and fourth lines were indented five spaces and the fifth ten spaces. Unfortunately, such formatting would be very difficult for me to do in WordPress, so I’m treating the indentations as optional. However, if you are writing one, and you can indent, I highly recommend that you do – it will make your own mariannet more authentic and pleasing to the eye. To serve as a model for your own attempt at the form, here is the very first mariannet ever written, Marianne Moore’s The Fish (sadly, sans indentations):

The Fish

wade
through black jade.
Of the crow-blue mussel-shells, one keeps
adjusting the ash-heaps;
opening and shutting itself like

an
injured fan.
The barnacles which encrust the side
of the wave, cannot hide
there for the submerged shafts of the

sun,
split like spun
glass, move themselves with spotlight swiftness
into the crevices—
in and out, illuminating

the
turquoise sea
of bodies. The water drives a wedge
of iron through the iron edge
of the cliff; whereupon the stars,

pink
rice-grains, ink-
bespattered jelly fish, crabs like green
lilies, and submarine
toadstools, slide each on the other.

All
external
marks of abuse are present on this
defiant edifice—
all the physical features of

ac-
cident—lack
of cornice, dynamite grooves, burns, and
hatchet strokes, these things stand
out on it; the chasm-side is

dead.
Repeated
evidence has proved that it can live
on what can not revive
its youth. The sea grows old in it.

—Marianne Moore

After reading such a poetic masterpiece as “The Fish”, I doubt you will need any more inspiration to try your hand at writing your own mariannets. But in case you do, here are my own humble (and obviously inferior) attempts at the form:

My Uncle Max’s Most Favorite Maxim

“Sad
kids go bad.”
is what Uncle Max constantly said.
“They’ll wind up jailed or dead.”
His own son Sam seemed so damn glum.

Yet
Young Sam met
No such terribly tragic fate.
He still lives… to this date.
Never trust what your uncles say!

You Think, Therefore You Are?

Some
thoughts may come
and go, in a flash fade from your mind.
There are others you’ll find
taking up permanent residence,

Fixed
in place, mixed
thoroughly through waking life and dreams,
woven within the seams
of your being, your existence.

You
may be who-
ever you wish, you’re defined by thought.
Then again, maybe not.
Are you you… or just think you are?

Tick, Tick, Tick…

Soon
it’ll be noon.
This once new day at its halfway mark,
following the same arc
of each previous day before.

So
it will go
on this way, continue on and on
(until Mankind is gone
and the concept of Time’s erased).

One
day, the sun
may roast the earth in a fiery blaze,
bringing the End of Days,
but I pray, my friend, not today…

The Hermit

Lack-
ing the knack
for chit-chat, he fled conversations,
social situations,
and took refuge in reading books.

A
reader may
(he soon found) interact and converse
with the whole universe
yet still stay apart from the world.

He
learns what we
don’t – how to savor being alone,
through the years having grown
accustomed to his solitude.

The
company
he keeps (his own, and of Keats, Thoreau
Socrates, and Plato) —
all the Society he craves…

So what do you think of the mariannet, my dear readers? Like with all the invented poetry forms that I have the pleasure of introducing to you on this blog, I sincerely wish you will try writing one for yourself, and if you do, please don’t hesitate to share. I hope you enjoyed this post, and thank you so much for reading!

The Virtual Poetorium For May 31st, 2022

Dear Readers,

I have some major news about the Poetorium to announce! First, it’s official – our live Poetorium at Starlite shows will finally begin again (after a hiatus of two years due to Covid) with our first show to be on Thursday, June 30th, 2022, from 7 pm to 10 pm at the newly reopened Starlite Bar and Art Gallery at 39 Hamilton Street in Southbridge, MA. With this new development, you may be wondering “What will happen to the Virtual Poetorium now that the live Poetorium shows are beginning again?”. Although there certainly won’t be one next month in June, I am committed to continue doing them at least for now, already having scheduled some wonderful featured poets for July and August. After that, we may still stay monthly (with occasional hiatuses) until the end of the year, but next year in 2023, it most likely will change to quarterly, with a new edition every March, June, September, and December (with perhaps a special Halloween-themed Scaretorium in October). It will also probably undergo a name change to avoid confusion with the live Poetorium shows. I promise I’ll keep you updated on this blog as the status of the Virtual Poetorium changes, but meanwhile, here is the link to the May 31st, 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-may-31-2022/

I want to thank my fellow bloggers (Gypsie) Ami Offenbacher-Ferris, Poetisatinta, Goutam Dutta, Selma Martin, 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’m not exactly sure why, but for some reason, the response to the group poem this month was tremendous with the number of contributions being probably the most we ever had, and making this perhaps our longest group poem yet. I want to thank Karen Durlach, Ariel Potter, Tom Ewart, Robert Eugene Perry, Howard J Kogan, Selma Martin, Angela (aka Poetisatinta), and the slew of others who wish to remain anonymous for contributing and making the following poem possible:

May Is the Month…

May is the month,
Most pleasant passage
Spring coolness bridged
To Summer’s swelter
Offering a brief glimpse
Of a temperate paradise.

May is the month
To take nature by the hand
Dancing into silent space
Wearing blossom as a gown
And hawthorn
As your
Crown.

May is the month
Of our mothers and May flowers,
Of forsythia and bloodroot,
Violets and sentimentality,
Both genuine and commercial.

May is the month
To tend the garden,
Pull the tools from the shed,
Pinch the weeds from the ground,
Watch your arteries as they harden,
Probe for parasites that are ahead
Of time, boring into the soiled bed
Of your body, leaving you to cast around
For straws that won’t leave you dead.

May is the month
I mourn my mother,
Alive but estranged,
Close in miles
But faraway in heart.

May is the month
Of war on Ukraine
And here at home the war
On the last seventy years
Of progress in democracy.
It’s a May that makes me mad.

May is the month
The air conditioner goes in
And we are not yet
Sick of the heat.

May is the month
The cat escapes onto the air conditioner
And balances on the box outside the window
Until tempted back inside with a bowl of cool milk.

May is the month
My beloved and I sip
Lime rickeys, listening
To a creepy podcast
While the box fan spins.

May is the month
You begin to sweat at the bus stop
(Masks suggested but not required)
As people board the WRTA
Bound for downtown.

May is the month
Sweaters go ignored
At the Goodwill, and
Thrifters sort through
Secondhand sunglasses and visors,
Shorts and sun hats.

May is the month
Of come what may,
Swan song for Spring,
Harbinger of Summer.

May is the month
Of maybes, but a maybe that will be:
There be rain, there be sun
There be color, there be breeze.
There be hellos, there be smiles
There be you, and there be me.
There be less worry, there be more love
There be fecundity, there be more hope.

May is the month
Of “May Be”:
May you be safe
May you be healthy
May you be happy
May you be blessed
May you find peace
May you find courage
May you find joy
In May, may you Be.

May is the month
Of may we, oh! may we unfurl our treetop leaves to bask in the sun?
May we, oh! may we thrust our tender green tips out through warmed soil?
May we, oh! may we blossom brightly and smile,
Welcome widely to dragonflies, butterflies, wasps, and bees?
Yes, oh yes!
May is the month of YES.

—The May 2022 Virtual Poetorium Group Poem