"Dance Poems for an Online World"

Artists collaborating while distancing

It's really hard for artists to collaborate while simultaneously social distancing, especially those who create physical art through mediums like dance. Zoom has allowed many artists, such as Afrobeat dance group Dzana, to connect remotely and create art with each other despite the distance.

The group worked to create a "digital dance poem" that doesn't only share their art with the world online, but also serves to inspire and connect others to join the same with their various mediums, whether it be dance, poetry and other arts. 

How have you collaborated with other artists online?

Pandemic Poetry

Share what you've written!

Poetry written during the pandemic has been a soothing way for many people to connect during otherwise isolating times, whether it's through writing about feelings and sharing them on social media to enjoying poetry writing activities and exercises with others in a virtual setting.

There have also been plenty of pandemic poetry projects afoot, whether they came from NPR or The Poetry Society of New York. You could pick a project to get involved with or always share them at one of my old favorites, All Poetry, where you can also comment on one another's poems and get feedback.

How have you written or shared poetry during the pandemic?

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Share Your Spooky Poems!

What are you writing this Halloween?

While National Poetry Writing Month isn't until April and lots of people are opting to enjoy Inktober right now instead, plenty of us poets enjoy writing all year long. Right now is the time to create some super spooky stuff!

I came across this list of prompts for October and immediately fell in love. I LOVE a good writing prompt (word banks are my favorite!) and some of them can inspire you to create something really magical. These are really fun prompts just in time for Halloween! They're organized to be used daily but you could do a writing marathon if you like.

What spooky poems have you written this month? Share them in the chat!

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Being A Grammar Nazi Is Oppressive

It almost says it all in the description...

Why would anyone want to be a Nazi of anything, soup, grammar or otherwise? While rules of grammar don't apply as much in poetry, it's still important to point out to those who say they're irritated by incorrect grammar and spelling--or who even call out other people on their use of either--that grammar privilege is a thing.

From missing out on job opportunities to facing unequal testing to simply being judged on others and shunned on social media, people with disabilities, or who code switch, or who speak English as a second or third language, or have other barriers are harmed by this "quirk." It's not a quirk or cute. It's harmful and we need to stop doing it. 

I get that it's uncomfortable to acknowledge it. It feels terrible! As an English major, teacher and writer, I am so sad that I engaged in this behavior for decades of my life. I also know that by seeing it and tellig others about it, and refusing to judge people by their grammar and spelling, we can help change things for the better and create a more just society. I do hope that you visit the links above to learn more. Here are a few more to read:

Judging A Person's Spelling And Grammar Reveals More About You Than It Does About Them

Grammar, the world's most under-recognized social construct

"Grammar nazis" and Literary Privilege 

Why Grammar Snobbery Has No Place in the Movement

Stop Correcting Other People's Grammar

How do you judge people by their language, or how have you been judged? How has it affected you? Share your stories in the chat.

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The Funniest Poems You've Ever Read

Share the in the chat!

Celebrities reading their fans' Tweets is an absolute utter delight for me these days, and when I saw this video of Tom Ellis reading his fans' "thirsty Tweets," I cracked up like I figured I would. Caution: many are NSFW! Some fans are downright shameless when it comes to professing their feelings for their celeb crushes.

In Ellis's case, one fan wrote a poem of sorts that made me spit out my tea. These are so hilarious!

I'd love to see more--both more thirsty tweets as well as goofy poems written about anything, from celebrities to 2020. I know lots of people are over the whole blaming the year for everything going wrong when really much of it was already on the wrong path to begin with, but I find it to be a helpful coping mechanism.

So how about it? What funny poems have you read this week?

Quoth the Raven

What somber, spooky poems are you reading?

Once upon a midnight dreary, I met a snail by the name of Gary... is that not how it goes? Well you could have fooled me, since I'm reading totally new takes on Poe this year! My family is enjoying a collection of re-imagined Poe works called His Hideous Heart while we re-read many of his works to compare and contrast this year.

No, there's not a Spongebob reference, but there are plenty of fun new, modern twists on his classic works that still feature his vibe. It's a perfect book to share with teens exploring Poe.

What dark poems are you reading right now? Share them in the chat!

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Last Chance To Enter Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest

Have you submitted a poem?

Would you like to win $3,000 for a poem? I know I would! The Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest's deadline is rapidly approaching, and you must submit your poem by September 30 in order to be considered for the prize!

You can submit any type of style of poem in any genre of your choosing, but there are certain prizes available for free verse versus rhymed poetry in traditional styles. There are also small prizes for runner's up as well as publishing opportunities.

Are you entering the contest? What is your poem about? Tell us in the chat.

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Learning History Through Poetry

Share your favorite resources

Poems are such powerful tools with which to teach history. My teen and I have been reading several collections by Black poets as well as poems describing events in history that really make some of the material resonate. There is so much power in the rhythm and form of poetry.

Last night we finished Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life, and the organization of the poems really emphasized the stories of eleven people who were treated like property. I ran across this list of poetry books that also teaches history and look forward to exploring more. 

What historical poetry books have you enjoyed or learned from? Share them in the chat.

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Critiquing Poetry

How do you go about it?

There are lots of different ways to critique a written work, so when someone asks you to give them constructive feedback about a poem, how do you go about it? Many people would argue that you should buffer criticism between compliments to make the poet feel better about anything they might want to change.

The thing is, poetry, like any writing, is very subjective. While some grammatical criticism might be valid, feedback in general when it comes to artistic endeavors isn't always on point, even from an instructor. What was in fashion ten years ago may not even be relevant today, which many writers are learning.

So how do you give feedback when a writer asks for it? Share your tips and experiences in the chat.

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Poems of Your Childhood

Share What You Loved (And Didn't!)

Three words will often cause an enormous debate between poetry lovers: The Giving Tree. Yes, I said it! So many people love this book by Shel Silverstein about a tree that keeps on giving to a boy who grows up and keeps demanding more.

You can probably tell I'm not a fan of the poem! It's one of my least favorites, in fact, and I think it's a terrible example of friendship, especially given the genders invovled and lessons learned there. Women are often taught to give until we have nothing left, after all. That said, I enjoyed many of the writer's other poems.

What poems did you love as a kid? Which did you hate?