Patricia Barnes of Wyandotte, Michigan is the winner of the Chancelor’s Prize in the Poetry Society of Michigan’s annual poetry contest.
Winner of the Margo LaGattuta Memorial Award in the Poetry Society of Michigan’s annual poetry contest is Randy K. Schwartz of Ann Arbor, Michigan. This poem and all of the other contest winners are featured in the latest edition of Peninsula Poets.
This poem was featured at the fall meeting of the Poetry Society of Michigan. It was a response to a prompt from Elizabeth Kerlikowske, the current president of the organization. “Write a poem giving someone advice… It could be an extended metaphor. And fun/clever/don’t even think of rhyming.”
From girlswritenow.org contributed by Robin Church. Choose a photograph. Write a poem from the perspective of the character n it. Be sure to use details in the photo as images in the poem. Focus on creating a distinctive and and consistent voice.
Here’s an example from poet, Richard Blanco: Photo of a Man on Sunset Drive: 1914. (Full text of the poem here). Notice how Blanco describes a scene from a hundred years ago. From there, he goes on to tell us how this scene has changed. His poem is a time machine of sorts that carries us back and forth through time at the same location. This is a great way to build a poem around a photograph, going well beyond description of the photo itself.
Another technique is offered by poet and teacher, Steve Kowit in his book, In the Palm of Your Hand. He suggests a poem in three parts:
1) Describe briefly what is in the photo, focusing on just a couple of details.
2) Animate the photo by suggesting movement or other sensory input.
3) Enter the picture and interact with the objects or people in the photograph.
Here’s a poem demonstrating Kowit’s technique from The Ekphrastic Review that was written by one of our PSM members.
An honorable mention from of 2019 Poetry Contest in the Evening category.
Write a poem giving someone advice. Use the language of something else to do it. Example: I want to give you advice about your crappy relationship but instead I talk about methods to get a stubborn stain out of a carpet. It could be an extended metaphor. And fun/clever/don’t even think of rhyming.
Have you written a sonnet lately? Now is a good time. Yes, there is the rhyme scheme but you can squeeze that a little bit. You don’t want to have your lines end at the breaks. That will result in Dr. Seussishness. Enjamb, let the lines flow into the next. The rhyme should be really subtle in this old rhymed form. Write the Black Lives Matter poem. Did Ovid write about Covid? He would’ve. (He didn’t write sonnets either but so…as I used to say as a teenager.) Make it contemporary. No flowery handkerchief language.
From the Spring issue of Peninsula Poets.
Write a poem that modernizes a classical myth. Rewrite the old myth in modern terms. For instance, Sisyphus is doomed to push a car up a hill forever. You may make yourself the classical figure if you like. (From The Mind’s Eye by Kevin Clark) Don’t forget: Poetry Society of Michigan is looking for poems that have turned out well from these prompts for a reading. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s a clever example from the pages of Third Wednesday Magazine. (by permission from the editors).