Out of The Hat

Making the Ordinary, Extraordinary

Poetry Challenge Week: Day 1


It`s a new month, and it calls for action. Oppurtunity has come to you, in the form of a virtual competition. A slam down, mono a mono, a fight to the death. What is so hard core, so terrifying, so jaw dropping that it casts fear into the hearts of many mere mortals? The most dreaded of all the arts: POETRY.

I want to challenge you. With something crazy, and unexpected, what is more unexpected than a hardcore poetry face off? Nothing. I mean, when you think of hardcore, you think of Spartacus and wrestling with angry grizzly bears and an IRS man at the same time. Hardcore is a death defying stunt like leaving your taxes or exam studying until the day before. And super hardcore? Super hardcore is going on vacation with only one bag, not even a full suitcase. That`s hardcore. But poetry?Poetry Challenge

Let me explain. When I compiled a totally balanced and fair poll of the populace (I asked some of my buddies and some family members) 85% of the population said the thing they most feared in English class was poetry. The rest had a struggle between how truly horrendous most assigned school books always are (Seriously, Brave New World and The Kite Runner? What kind of sick person makes kids read that junk?) and the true terror of smashing one of the few good books apart in literature analyzing essays until they felt like they could cry at the decrepit state The Lord of The Rings was left in. (No, I wasn`t lucky enough to be in the class that was assigned TLR. I got to read the awful books mentioned above. It left scars, man. They run deeeep.)

Poetry Should not suck Be Fun!

Beside those horrors, poetry should be a joy to behold. I write poetry because it releases all those pent up frustrations, shares my happy moments with my future self, captures that particular point in my life. I write poetry because it is a way to put pen to paper, and find out that what I`m really writing down are bits of my soul. I know, that already sounds like a melodramatic poet, doesn`t it? But I want to fight back against this poetry prejudice! I want to show you that poetry is not a craft to be feared and hated! And I want you to write poetry. I know that`s a terrifying idea, but if we go step by step here, I think you can really manage it! Just like I wouldn`t start a new runner off with a five mile run, I`m not going to thrust you into the scary deep waters right off the bat. We can start with humour and freewriting, and move into more complex stuff. And after a while, you may even find that you like poetry more than you thought. You could even fall into the trap I got caught in, where you sometimes like poetry more than essay or narrative writing! No no, don`t brandish an enraged pencil at me, I said might. And if you don`t, you will still find your other writing has found some new depth, and your character as well for having faced such a seemingly insurmountable challenge. Who knows? First poetry, then prestige, then you`ll become president of the world. In a book. Seriously, I think president of the world isn`t a position coming anytime soon, but something really cool could happen after pushing your comfort zone into new arenas!

So why start poetry week on a Friday? Glad you asked. Because rule two of poetry is that you can break some rules. And, you know, rule one is that the only rule is that you have fun, so they sort of go hand in hand. Plus, it`s the first day of the month, which makes a really good excuse. Because you know, honestly, I just forgot that I was supposed to post this on Monday. See, poetry is about fun, not just rules!

So, what is the poetry challenge today?

Day 1: Find a Poem You Like.

Seriously, I just want you to be able to end the day by saying, “Hey, this poetry thing may not be so awful.” Even if you have supreme doubt you`ll be able to make up any poems worth reading of your own, it`s a good first step to think that, just maybe, that could actually be a decent goal to aim for.

I`d be really honored if you found a poem you like in my archives (keyword: poem/s, in the search bar) but I would be equally excited to find any new work you like. Feel free to share in the comments below, and we can all get a little closer to being poetry fans!

*Edit on Feb 2014: This series was completed last year, though not necessarily on time. Oh well, at least we had a blast doing it! You can still join the fun by completing the other exercises and discovering the joys of poetry on your own time. Here is Day Two, Day Three, Day Four, Day Five, Day Six, and Day Seven. I hope you join me again for Poetry Challenge Week 2014!

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12 comments on “Poetry Challenge Week: Day 1

  1. theimperfectpoet
    May 31, 2013

    What a fantastic challenge! Like you, I am a big fan of poetry and a writer of it as well. I think a great “starting” poem for those afraid of the genre is Elizabeth Bishop’s “The Fish.” http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/the-fish/

    • TheGreatZambini
      May 31, 2013

      I like that one! It is just so very visual. I`m just hoping the challenge will inspire those who aren`t fans of it to just not be so scared! I tend to suggest just about any of Shel Silverstein`s work to those that think us poets are just too serious and deep with our work. His site, though, is almost too lighthearted… http://www.shelsilverstein.com

      • theimperfectpoet
        May 31, 2013

        I love Silverstein’s work. That’s a great suggestion. The unfortunate thing about classic “humorous” poetry is that the humor is difficult to find or grasp. Especially for those new to poetry in general. The genre can be quite scary. Like you, I have several friends and family members who claim that they hate poetry, based on their experiences in school. There has to be a way for us to show the world that there is so much more to poetry than that.

      • TheGreatZambini
        June 1, 2013

        I used to really scoff at humorous poetry in my tweens because I thought it brought the dignity of the art down, though I`ll admit I was a bit high in the instep on a lot of subjects. Now I`m just happy to find that there are poems out there that can hook the ‘nonbelievers’, and I occasionally even enjoy the silliness. Silverstein`s is written for kids, though, so the humor is usually pretty easily grasped. I think that schools do their best to make society forever after shun poems, books, and all good creative pursuits, as they seem to choose the absolute worst examples. I think they choose the starkest and most ‘realistic’ books and poems, though, as opposed to true classics, as I went to one of the nation`s top school districts and no one ever read Mark Twaine or Tolkien or any of the other true classics.

  2. mkesling63
    May 31, 2013

    Ill stick to DR Suess for my poetry My peotry as an adult just does not beloing in public.

    • TheGreatZambini
      June 1, 2013

      Aw, I still think you can do it. You could even invent something rather Suessical! I have no skill for kid`s rhymes, though it would be fun to know some so I could repeat something besides the originals at story time. I have to say, I`m starting to resent those treasured books after a thousand readings…

  3. Pingback: Poetry Challenge Week: Day 2 | The Great Zambini's Blog

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This entry was posted on May 31, 2013 by in Art, Photography, Poetry, blog event and tagged , , , , , , .

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