Zumwalt Poems Online

Archive for December 6, 2011

Wednesday Poetry Challenge #7

(Starting Date for this Challenge is Jan, 1, 2012 — posted early to provide  proper advance notice.  Do not start this until the New Year — you can even consider this a New Year’s resolution — will repost this every Wednesday until the New Year.)

As stated in Poetry Challenge #5, the level of participation in that challenge has helped in determining the content of this challenge.

This challenge has been modified appropriately so that participation can range from heavy to light.

This challenge starts with the New Year — a type of New Year resolution.  It is the equivalent of a resolution that for 2012, “I will read a poem a day” — or “I will read a poem a week”

So here it is: for this challenge, read a poem a day by various established, published poets, living or dead and capture the link to the poem and a brief to extended comment on your thoughts, feelings, reaction, learnings, insight, why you like or don’t like the poem, even a full analysis if you wish, etc. in regards to each poem. 

For those that don’t have time for a poem a day, the lighter version of this challenge is a poem a week.

If you are busy on a given day (or week) and miss adding an entry, just read an additional poem the next day (or week) to keep you on target for the year.  If you are doing a poem a day, your goal is to have 366 entries by the end of 2012.  If you are reading a poem a week, your goal is to have 52 entries by the end of 2012.

Ideally, you will start this challenge on Jan. 1, 2012.   Once again, if you miss a day (or week) just make up for it with additional entries at some other point in 2012.

You response to this challenge is a page (or post) with entries for each day (or week) which you update.  Creating a page is as easy as creating a post — just chose “Pages” from the right hand WordPress menu, between “Links” and “Comments” 

Here is a sample of such a log that contains a few sample entries.  

Please be sensitive to copyright and what is public domain and not.  The law varies from country to country.  For example, in one country, a Wallace Stevens poem written in 1930 is public domain, but in another, no Wallace Stevens poems are public domain since 70 years must transpire after the death of an author before the works are in the public domain.

Here is an ordered list of references you can use to find online poems:

Gutenberg Poetry Bookshelf

Poem Hunter: Famous Poets

Gutenberg Australia

Representative Poetry Online

Poetry Foundation

Poetry Daily

Poetry 180

American Verse

American Memory Search (You can do a search for “Poetry”)

Virgo English Language Poetry

A Small Anthology of Poems

Norton Anthology of Poetry (Selected entries)

Bartleby.com/verse (Annoying Pop-up ads)

Barteby.com/verse/indexes (Annoying Pop-up ads)

American Poems (Annoying Pop-up ads)

Famous Poets and Poems (Annoying Pop-up ads)

To link to you post


If you wish, you can copy the above link and paste at the bottom (or top) of the post or page that contains your response to this challenge.  That gets even more people involved! Just simply copy (as in copy and paste) the Mister Link box above and paste on your post or page.  It’s that easy.  (Thanks to willowdot21 for the idea!)


1.  Click on green “Mister Linky” link above.

2. Enter the URL (address of your response to challenge not of your website’s home page) of your post or page that has your response to this challenge.

3. For this challenge, locate and read a poem a day (or week) by an established, published poet, post a link to that poem on a single page that you update with each new entry. Follow link with your comments on poem.

4. Anyone that wishes to see responses can click on the Mister Linky link above to view links.


Post Example of Response for Wednesday Poetry Challenge #7

Posting this first before posting Poetry Challenge #7.

This is an example of the post or page that can be used for this challenge.

I am creating this as a post as well as a page.

Totally up to you as which option.  Below is the contents:

Journal for Poetry Challenge #7


DAY 1: Jan, 1, 2012

The Snowman by Wallace Stevens

The essence of existence: this is the essence of this poem.   By providing one long sentence that one must carefully navigate, Stevens provides the best structure to support the meaning — we must have the right neutral outlook to see the true actuality — but without a viewpoint, we not only stop seeing what we normally impose on our perception, but we stop seeing.  A paradoxical poem, that truly sums up our place in the physical universe.


DAY 2: Jan, 2, 2012

Memory of Sun by Anna Akhmatova

Akhmatova nicely captures that deep sense of that terrible loss that leaves one feeling empty and dead. “Memory of sun seeps from the heart”, “Nothing at all will happen here again.”   Is this the loss of  an unborn child the persona had been carrying?  Perhaps she was going to marry the man being spoken to in the poem, but this didn’t occur due to the miscarriage?  Perhaps she can never have a child again.  Dismal and dark, there is no glimmer of hope here.


DAY 3: Jan, 3, 2012 

Casey at the Bat by Ernest Lawrence Thayer 

 This is a poem first heard in my childhood — the teacher reading us the text.  It was confusing from the start (hearing that Cooney died and then realizing it wasn’t that he actually died but was tagged at first) and there were many words I didn’t know — but the musicality was amazing and I loved each and every rhyme.

What impressed me the most was the ending — it wasn’t a happy ending — and it clearly sent a message about overconfidence.  At the time I was stunned  — this was not the outcome I had been expecting.  

The richness of the ending stuck with me for days.  And then whenever I heard about baseball or poetry I thought about this poem — and the many messages that were implied including “one doesn’t always get what they want”, “don’t be so sure of yourself that you pass up opportunities” and most of all “put defeat in perspective — this was just a baseball game.”

DAY 4: Jan, 4, 2012

Tell all the Truth  by Emily Dickenson

In 1977, I was looking for a poem to set to music for my Music Bachelor Degree composition recital.  This poem was perfect due to its layers of meaning (is it just guidance on how to create a poem — or more?) and the many opportunity for tone painting (emphasizing or representing the meaning of given words or phrases with appropriate notes, rhythms, musical effects or musical phrases.) 

I was enamoured by Messiaen’s “Quartet for the End of Time” and mimicked his style to some degree but tried my best to underscore the message of the poem.  The amazing thing is that each line can be painted beautifully outside of the context of the poem — but one must balance that against achieving a unified musical message to support the text.

Well, the music is long lost and forgotten, but I still love this poem dearly.

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