Skip to content

Fibonacci: forms in nature. forms in poetry? my “free time,” I do stuff like listen to podcasts from BBC radio (England changes you)…and I came across this bit on The Fibonacci Sequence, on the programme “In Our Time.”  What is interesting to me about this chat, specifically, is that it began to intersect some of my ideas about creating an “invented form” for Seminar: Poetics by Praxis, and my thoughts about form, more generally, and naturally embedded roots for poetic form, specifically.  Winter trees, in particular, make me think of strict forms existing in nature, which may be borrowed from, or mused upon for creating formal poetry…Levertov has this to say in her essay, “Some Notes on Organic Form:

For me, back of the idea of organic form is the concept that is a form in all things (and in our experience) which the poet discover and reveal. There are no doubt temperamental differences between poets who use prescribed forms and those who look for new ones—people who need a tight schedule to get anything done, and people who have to have a free hand—but the difference in their conception of “content” or “reality” is functionally more important. On the one hand is the idea that content, reality, experience, is essentially fluid and must be given form; on the other, this sense of seeking out inherent, though not immediately apparent, form. Gerard Manley Hopkins invented the word inscape to denote intrinsic form, the pattern of essential characteristics both in single objects and (what is more interesting) in objects in a state of relation to each other; and the word instress to denote the experiencing of the perception of inscape, the apperception of inscape. In thinking of the process of poetry as I know it, I extend the use of these words, which he seems to have used mainly in reference to sensory phenomena, to include intellectual and emotional experience as well; I would speak of the inscape of an experience (which might be composed of any and all of these elements, including the sensory) or of the inscape of a sequence or constellation of experiences.       (more…)

Original post by Whitney

a sample

This is one of the cards that we sold at the gallery I worked out.  The card is a collage of different materials.  In case you can’t read the quote, it says:

You will not find poetry anywhere
unless you bring some of it with you.

~ Joubert

Original post by Megan G

hatteras island

I lived on hatteras island this summer and worked at a small art gallery on the North Carolina coast.  My whole time there I was fascinated by the island and its history.  The locals that stay year round are some of the best and most creative people I have ever met.  Just yesterday, my old boss sent me “A Hatteras Anthology: the voices of Hatteras Island Women.”  It is a collection of short stories, personal reflections, and best of all poetry from a variety of local women on the island.  Needless to say I spent all night reading it to cover to cover despite my papers due today and finals next week.  Many of the pieces in the book are from artists I worked with over the summer, so it was so fascinating to see their writing.  I think these are some of the most honest, good hearted, and interesting people I have ever met.  They are unpretentious, thoughtful, and completely fascinated with the world and everything nature has to offer.  I have never felt so comfortable and at ease in my entire life.  Hardly any of these women are professional writers, but to me their stories are as compelling as any well-respected author.  Below is one of my favorite poems from the selection.

Cape of Hatteras by Linda Elizabeth Nunn

I will arise and go now, and go to Hatteras,

And a small house make there, of driftwood built.

A plot of sea oats will I have there, and a row boat,

And live alone on the sand dune hill.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace is slow,

Slow over the horizon, coming when the dawn sings.

There midnight is black velvet, and noon a furnace.

And evening full of seagull wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day,

I hear the ocean tumbling with mirth on the shore.

From maritime forest to windswept beach,

I hear it in my deep heart core.

With regards to William Butler Yeats and The Lake Isle of Innisfree. 

Original post by Megan G



Original post by chelseanewnam


Kayla Reae Whitaker

cowgirl extraordinaire and all-around good person

(the inscription in my Elizabeth Bishop book)

Original post by chelseanewnam

Fred Chappell – November 2007

I had the distinct pleasure of attending Fred Chappell’s poetry reading on November 15, 2007.  A distinguished “renaissance man” of the literary realm, Chappell is an acclaimed poet, novelist, essayist, and professor.  He has held and received a number of esteemed titles and positions from various parts of the world including recognition from the Academie Française.  Though his poetry covers a wide range of subjects, Chappell seems to mostly cling to romantic depictions of life through nature.

            Fully adorned in argyle sweater and casual smile, Chappell approached his audience with calm charisma.  The reading began with a piece entitled, “The Garden”, in which, Chappell compares the relationship a gardener has with his garden to books, claiming that each is about the other.  He continued with an assortment of other works, but his true mastery was illuminated when he began to read his sets of enclosed poems.  Each incorporated either a separate poem of his own writing, or that of another poet, into the main poem at work.  To show this, he invited his wife to the podium and allowed her to read the inner poems, while he read the outer.  The innovation used to construct these pieces was both refreshing and original, in a way unlike anything I had ever come in contact with before. 

I was amazed by Fred Chappell’s effectiveness in original use of language.  In a particularly striking re-telling of the story of Narcissus and Echo, he took two individual poems and fused them together to create one.  Using the repetition of words, phrases, or even the half sounds of the ends of Narcissus’s lines, Chappell created Echo’s poem.  This not only allows for an interesting spin and study of the work, but also embodies Echo’s essence – her repetition, her echo.  The meticulous thought used in creating such a piece was impressive and quite frankly, flooring.

Another poem in which Chappell employs this weave of poetry is, “The Passage”.  I could not help but think how proud Annie Dillard would have been at his keen observance of muskrat behavior in the moonlight.  Chappell describes both the muskrat and the moonlight on the water separately, but links them together.  Combining the separate poems in this instance suggests an idea that nature is in harmony, that though the celestial moon and earthly muskrat are individual entities, all the universe is and can be one.

Fred Chappell’s reading was both enjoyable and enlightening.  The diversity of work read as well as the comfortable conversational tone he took with the audience, gave wing to a beautiful introduction of his poetry into my literary appreciation.  Covering a wide range of encompassing and yet seemingly personal subjects, Chappell places a certain quality upon his work.  In the final poem of the reading, he begs the question, “What if poetry could change the world?”  I would like to maintain that if we all wrote like him, maybe it would.

Original post by chelseanewnam

Julianna Baggott – October 2007

I had the opportunity to attend Julianna Baggott’s poetry reading on October 30, 2007.  From being moderately familiar with her work, I knew that wit and charm leapt from the pages of her poetry, but I did not know to expect the same from her lips.  She writes as she speaks, in metaphor and eloquence.  Poetry seems to exude from her very being in a way that had me hanging on her every word.

            As many of her poems are influenced by inquiries from others about her work, Baggott allowed for many questions during the reading.  When asked how subjects came to her, she simply stated, “It’s the jazz musician that holds up the instruments, and this is just playing me”, maintaining that the poetry chooses her, she does not choose the poetry.  In the same way, when asked where the diligence to write comes from, she begs beginning writers to look at writing as a relationship with a boyfriend or girlfriend, something that one enjoys spending time with as opposed to a grueling task.  She says of it, “I love the process”; she does and it shows.

Not only does Baggott become inspired by her audience, she is also keenly interested in celebrities and their lives.  When asked why she enjoys writing about popular icons, she explains that she takes pleasure in undermining people’s expectations as to what it is like to be a celebrity.  One of the first poems she read was about Monica Lewinsky, a seemingly unlikely candidate for a sympathetic and non-jocular poem.  This, however, was one of my favorites because it plays to Monica’s emotion and presents her as a real person as opposed to objectifying her the way media tends to.  This and other like poems show the humanity of the famed and are a refreshing take upon their lives.

             I thoroughly enjoy Julianna Baggott’s poetry and was in no way disappointed with her presentation of it.  She expands upon familiar topics in diverse ways, and allows her audience to interact with the material.  In the inscription she wrote while signing my collection of her work, Compulsions of Silkworms and Bees, it read, “
Chelsea: Hope these inspire!”  To which I am proud to respond, yes Mrs. Baggott, they most certainly do.

Original post by chelseanewnam

Poetry – dead?

     I read two pieces in the last Thursday Poems series for my English 302 class, Introduction to Creative Writing.  While listening, it occured to me how beautiful it is that people approach poetry from all different angles.  No two people approach the world with exactly the same outlook, so it makes perfect sense that poets would also not come to it identically.  During the reading, I was confronted with poems about life, death, love, loss, rage, sarcasm, food, tables, deer, and even grocery stores and superheroes.  The wonderful thing about poetry is that there will never be an end to it.  Humanity will never use up all of its resources of language or all of the possibilities maintained wihin poetics.  I am irked when people claim to “hate” poetry.  I don’t think it is possible, because if you hated poetry you would also have to hate life.  Poetry is life…and not in an emo, beatnik, teeny-bopper sort of way.  It is life because every time a person feels, they are experiencing poetry.  Every time a person looks at the world and takes time to absorb it, they are experiencing poetry.  Poetry is everywhere and can be found in all things.

I know I am probably rambling and more than likely making no sense.  Please excuse that. 

Original post by chelseanewnam

Lost and Found



Original post by etimberlake

Fair Play



Original post by etimberlake