Friday, October 15, 2010

Big Tent's Poetry Gong

POETRY GONG #1 / New to you, October 12, 2010, from Big Tent Poetry

Ladies and gentlemen! Boys and girls! Follow us to Ring #2 where we will attempt, for the very first time under this big tent, the death-defying, awe-inspiring poetry gong!

The assignment
For our inaugural poetry gong, we will write a poem-a-day for seven days on the idea "new to you." Find a poet you have never read or a poet you haven't read recently and let a poem or a line that's "new to you" inspire your writing. You may want to buy a new book. You may want to exchange some of your old books for a used one at a local shop. You may want to go to your own shelves and admit it's been ages since you pulled down the books you've collected. We bet many of them will seem "new to you."

You will do this each day for seven days: read something "new to you" and write a poem. At the end of the seven days, you will have seven brand new drafts.

What is a poetry gong?

A gong is any practice that is repeated daily for many days, so a poetry gong is a multi-day writing challenge. Our first one here is seven days, but they can be any length. The goal is to write one poem each day as part of a community of writers. The idea is that fellow writers provide the encouragement and accountability we sometimes need to shake up our writing practice. We love the gongs so much, we designated a ring in our circus for them from the very beginning.

Missed the opening? Here's Tamra's down to earth high wire act...


I think I'll join in this 7 day challenge – New to You – from the folks at Big Tent Poetry. For the daily inspirations, I'll probably use the daily poem from The Writer's Almanac, in the case, Paul J. Willis' Common Ground.


Today I planted rosemary in the no-man's land
between my house and my neighbor's.
My grandmother planted sage
at the end of the back sidewalk
where it marked the boundary between her house
and The Neal Motor Company where my grandfather
and his two sons sold Studebakers and repaired cars.
My grandfather died the year before I was born,
but his sons kept the business going for a few more years,
and those I remember: the smell of gasoline and grease,
steel and rubber, the clank and grind of tools,
and the smell of sage as we went back and forth.
"It ain't no good no how," she used to say,
whether about the cooking, the weather, or the business
I never knew. But then the business was sold,
and the sage forgotten, except on Thanksgivings
when she would send me out to collect
a few sprigs from the wilderness.

See Laughing Dove for continuing gong day poems

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