Amie is teaching me how to do blackout poetry. We are both working with a page, copied from The Secret Garden, and creating different poems from the same text. The idea is to “black out” the words or word fragments you don’t want to use and then create a poem with the shape of what’s left. Have you ever done this before? I didn’t know about the world of Blackout Poetry until Amie showed me a google search of so many examples out there, both visually and word wise. Creating poetry from existing words on a page is such a different way to spend time with literature. I’m finding it fascinating. I could spend hours doing this sort of creative work if Wallace wasn’t dismantling the entire house behind me . . . doing his own version of blackout housework, I suppose!
my desk with little hands
and rose petals
because I want to remember writing here
at Old Gousty
with a view of the woods
Mary Oliver by my side
and rose petals
from roses Grandmommy brought me
and brought me again.
candles for night writing
and an old photo of Maude Louise
(my childhood Airedale)
all of this waiting for me
after Wallace falls asleep
and rain is drumming on the roof
quietly luring me
to my desk
I’ve shared this poem before, haven’t I? Here it is, again.
How it stands out against the darkenings
of the rainy evening, young and pure,
its tendrils arched everywhere in givingness
yet absorbed in its own rose-being;
the shallow flowers, already open here and there,
each unasked for and untended:
thus, immeasurably exceeded by itself
and indescribably self-aroused,
it calls to the wander, who in his evening
meditating comes past along the road:
Oh look at me, see, over here, how safe I am
and unprotected and having all I need.
— Rainer Maria Rilke
November is NaNoWriMo — National Novel Writing Month! Alongside my writing students, I have challenged myself to write a novel during these 30 days. Our goal is 25,000 words, which is the young adult version. (If I get really crazy I’ll try to reach 50,000). Is anyone else out there doing this? Have you done it before? Please share your stories! And don’t worry if I disappear this month: I’m just up here in my office, with co-sleeping bed hed, notebook and pen in hand, while my happy children run wild and free!