Thursday, April 7, 2022

Poetry Friday -- playing with form and point of view

Are we having fun yet?

I am! Though it's raining like crazy, I'm on the cusp of Spring Break. The promise of seven whole days to sleep in,  see my sisters, craft, write...oh, the possibilities. 

Thank you, Janice, at Salt City Verse for rounding up our Poetry Friday blogs today.

My Poetry Month project has me scratching my head a little bit. These letters I have from my grandmother ... They are newsy I suppose, but also dry. Dentist appointments and weather and the baby sleeping are not great inspirations for poems at first. 

I remember my grandmother. She was sparkly and light. She told stories in all the voices. She taught me things. She bought me a forbidden Barbie doll.

I've been looking for poetic phrases within her letters and a spare form to play with. I've not settled on anything. However, I really like how a cherita serves my purposes. It's short, story-telling in nature, and is a distinct form. It might help me include what's not written on the old yellowed pages.,

First a cherita from a letter:

October 7, 1948 

Paul and the boys have gone to East Hill for more hens
I thought I’d get my letter writing done while it is quiet

The weather here has been swell all week
leaves are starting to come down a little faster
Yesterday was grand for drying

(c) Linda Mitchell

Then in Free Verse:

Letter writing 

A task to accomplish
Better in the quiet
with the boys out of the house.

Just you and your pen
scratching away
on personalized stationery
dutifully accounting for your spent hours 

Autumn leaves fall fast
swirl with wash on the line
Tomorrow is for ironing.

(c) Linda Mitchell

The padlet grows with star shenanigans.


  1. Linda, I recently have been studying my brother's letters from Vietnam, trying to find the poetry in them. I understand what you might be thinking. I really enjoyed your poems from your grandmother's letters. I feel her presence in the details of such everyday tasks and what her concerns are. Writing letters/personalized stationery/her plans to iron/ her boys outside giving her some peace.

  2. Linda, I think you've hit upon the perfect form, and I like the idea that you would intersperse your gma's lines with yours. It would be cool to use one font or typeface for her and one for you, to emphasize the interplay of your voices. I think you wrote a cherita in your introduction, too:

    I remember my grandmother.

    She was sparkly and light.
    She told stories in all the voices.

    She taught me things.
    She bought me a
    forbidden Barbie doll.

  3. How fun to try out different forms for the just right fit. I agree with Heidi that the cherita works well. It's short and lends itself to story. Keep going!

  4. She bought you a forbidden barbie doll! Now there's a sparkly story... and yay for star shenanigans! I've been doing a study of Sara Teasdale, and "stars" is clearly one of her most favorite words. xo
    p.s. 2 things come to mind as a way to liven and elevate your grandmother project: letter-poems in reply to her letters and Question poems. Always something else to try!

  5. Linda, I have been catching up on your star padlet and love the variety of thoughts and formats. I agree with others that the cherita is a great choice for storytelling. You also intrigued me with the thought about a forbidden Barbie Doll. You should write a poem about that. Enjoy your break. Wow, it is lovely weather today so lets hope it continues,

  6. Nice job with the cherita!! I, too, am intrigued with the forbidden Barbie doll. :) And thanks for the sparkly star harvest this week too!

  7. Linda, what fun to get a glimpse of your letter poems of this week. I agree with Heidi's comments too. Nice noticing from her. The free verse poem is my favorite. You did a great job setting the backdrop of her letters. "Autumn leaves fall fast
    swirl with wash on the line" Beautiful.

  8. There are so many possibilities in those letters! Looking forward to seeing what else you come up with.

  9. I like both the forms you played with–I do like the date as your first line in the cherita, and the short-lined, swirling movement in the free verse poem. Your "bumper crop of stars" is delightful, thanks Linda!

  10. My grandmother's journal is much like the letters you are reading. I like this project. I hope you have a wonderful spring break.

  11. Oh gosh. I like these lots. Both of them. And especially the way they read together. What a great teaching exercise too. You keep your grandmother alive this way, Linda...even for us, who never even knew her. A "forbidden Barbie doll." So much more to that woman than weather. She is beaming from Heaven. xo

  12. My grandmother bought my sister and I the "forbidden sugar-coated cereal," when we would visit in the summer. Remember those little variety packs of small boxes? Such a no-no! I love this project so much, Linda. It appears many of us have inherited written treasures from loved ones and wish for them to live on. Please do keep going! Cheers! -- Christie

  13. I love them both! I also love that your grandmother (via your project) is pushing your creativity. Something makes me think she'd love that...

  14. I missed you all day yesterday, Linda, knew it was the incorrect link, but. . . These are really special, a gift from your grandmother that now you're passing on to others, including your family. They do remind me of old letters I have and a diary from my husband's great Aunt, describing the day itself, feels both like the usual things and safe (all is okay) to share in a letter.

  15. I love that your grandmother used the words "swell" and "grand". I really think 'swell' and 'grand' need to make a comeback! You are swell, Linda. Thanks for a 'grand' post. :)

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  17. What a treasure! I love that the day was a "grand for drying." I imagine those days without dryers.

  18. What a great idea to turn the letters into a poem! Keep going!

  19. These poems are beautiful, Linda! You've given their banality a touch of magic.

  20. I adore the free verse version of this poem. I find the letters written to my father are much the same, filled with everyday life stories and events. I like that you are looking for useful lines. This seems like a particularly nice way to write found poems.


Friendly, positive comments and feedback are always welcome here. Please let me know I'm not just whistling in the dark!