Thursday, April 28, 2016

NaPoWriMo: Lost My Mojo

This year for the first time I thought I'd try NaPoWriMo--National Poetry Writing Month, writing a poem a day and posting on my blog. That lasted until the 15th, at which time I took the weekend off (busy with kids and such) and then never got back to it. Maybe I went to too many poetry readings--this National Poetry Month was a killer! I focused too much on the online class I'm teaching now (yes, while on sabbatical) and the 3 I'll be teaching during the summer session (argh). Bobby needed attention, Stella's IEP meeting happened, and life intervened. In short, one thing led to another, I got out of the habit of lowering my standards and steeling myself to draft and post a poem every day. I kind of started to forget what it felt like.

On the plus side, I'm happy with having drafted 15 poems so far, and I think I'll try to eke out a couple more before May is upon us. Anything that gets me stringing words together is a good thing. Stay tuned, folks!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

NaPoWriMo Day 13

Ohio Steel

     Floyd O. Lemmon 1912-1982

He didn't need college to be a success,
started in the foundry, moved up to foreman
and then got into sales, traveling with a suit and tie
a smart hat and an expense account
a crystal paperweight a medal a retirement prize

*   *   *

Started in wartime
fires kept burning
dehumidify the ore
hollow casting
war again
wartime contracts
cold war defense
mosaic of parts
and fabrications

*   *   *

He roamed the property
in search of arrowheads
protean bones and stones
fields with feed corn   seed corn
straw and hay fodder for the cows
creekbed always moving

*   *   *

When the company was sold
they moved his job to Pennsylvania
but he stayed on his land
traveling man
restaurants and homey motels
amateur shutterbug
photos and photos
a slideshow every weekend

*   *   *

Foundry Craft Grillery       historic Lebanon Steel Foundry
     sounds of metal on metal       heat of fire     dedicated workers
successful player         industries                simplicity        
old world           grilleries and butcheries
fire forged the iron and steel         past               eight foot custom wood-fired grill
 leaders and laborers           private dining space               founded City      1750s

*   *   *

Steel the company that kept him
Steel the blade that cut the lawn 
and chopped down weeds in the meadow
Steel the wheel that ground the meat for Gran's ham salad
Steel with copper bottoms the pots and pans where supper cooked
the lid rattling beef and noodles
All those dinners she had to eat alone
after he was gone

Amy Lemmon
April 13, 2016

Monday, April 11, 2016

NaPoWriMo Day 11

Signs for C. S. Lewis

It's just not that simple, Jack,
you can't pop in and out of large
furniture and expect to be transformed.
You know the grubby hub of life
(though perhaps I'm mixing you up
with Wystan) and you've known grief,
God knows, but really your life is too contained,
sequestered, for your insights to mean much
to me now. Caught as I am in this city,
rubbing hips and elbows with a variety
of my fellow humans, hustling in the bustle
grist ground in this public transport mill
the rapture surely will be televised
or at least YouTubed. Stand clear of the closing
doors, we won't be spirited away to Heaven
on holiday. Hoping that Hell has all the fire
of a defunct pizza oven. You got right
that any good intentions go to light,
any bad to dark. The problem of pain
is the fear of it, merely wise, merely human,
merely seeking the everlasting truth.

Amy Lemmon
April 11, 2016

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

NaPoWriMo Day 6


The nights I wash my face are the good nights
when I feel pure and virtuous and calm
the children both in bed, the dishes draining
no sleeping on the couch, the teevee blaring
after an endless binge-watch marathon.
Even if I've downed a glass or two of pinot
or snuck a half-pint of Haagen-Dazs
the cleansing ritual somehow unstains me
enough like saying prayers in bed, the call
of pillows, flannel sheets and layered blankets
the lure of dreams that could bring some relief
or close encounters with my movie idol--
it's all fair game before the old alarm
wakes me, alone again, yet clean at least.

Amy Lemmon
April 6, 2016

Friday, April 01, 2016

We Don't String Popcorn Necklaces, but We Do Have Creativity Resources!

On Saturday, April 2nd, at 9am,  I'll be presenting on a panel at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) conference, "We Don’t String Popcorn Necklaces Here: Brain Science and Assessment Beyond Craft." 

The panel moderator, Laura Valeri, has created a Google doc with a list of resources about creativity, brain science, and more, gathered by Laura, Brendan Constantine, and me. Go here to view the document!

It's National Poetry Month--and NaPoWriMo Starts Today!

Image from
Today for the first time I'm participating in NaPoWriMo, a month-long challenge for poets to write a poem every day for the month of April (National Poetry Month). I'll be posting my daily poem here, then probably deleting it, so keep checking back if you want to see what I'm up to!

Also check out the Bloof Books blog, where Shanna Compton is posting a selection of NaPoWriMo work.

Join me, and wish me luck!