Only a few days left of April’s National Poetry Writing Month, and while I have really enjoyed writing a poem a day, I will also be very grateful for the arrival of May 1! I had no ideas in my head at all today plus limited time, and I toyed with the idea of calling it on day 25. Would that really be so bad? But somehow poems can always be found.
Here’s how today’s poem came about. I don’t know who originated the current popular meme on Twitter to “pick any bookshelf, second shelf down, sixth book from the right,” but it’s all over my feed right now. In search of inspiration, I decided to play along–and by chance, the sixth book from the right, second shelf down, happened to be Ralph Fletcher’s Poetry Matters, a guide to writing poetry written for young readers. Such serendipity! Surely I could find a poetry idea in an actual book about writing poetry. I browsed through it and landed on imitation. What poem could I imitate?
That brought Richard Brautigan’s Gee, You’re So Beautiful That It’s Starting to Rain to mind. I sometimes ask students to write from this poem, and the results are always interesting. But I couldn’t remember the title and when I searched for Richard Brautigan, I found a different title: “Please plant this book.” I knew I could write a poem from that line. I didn’t click on the link before writing my poem so I wouldn’t be overly influenced. It turns out that this is the title of a poetry project where Brautigan printed small poems on seed packets–a story that tells me I should really read more Brautigan.
Please plant this book
Outside, in the dirt, where it may flower.
Dig a hole twice as deep, three times as wide.
Amend the soil; mulch with pine straw.
Water liberally during dry periods.
What will bloom?
For my National Poetry Project, I’m playing along with the poetry calendar created by Margaret and Molly.
Leave a Reply