Hybrid poetry forms can be a powerful form of resistance. From Jerrod Schwarz’s erasure of Trump’s inaugural speech to Niina Pollari’s black outs of the N-400 citizenship form, contemporary poets are engaging with the world through text, creating new and challenging works of art. Heralded by the rise of the “Instapoet,” visual works are a way to take poetry one step further by crafting new forms and structures that often transcend the page.
In July, I'll be teaching a 4-week course online at the Poetry Barn on this very topic! We’ll study the forms of poetry that draw from outside sources and texts, learning how artists are reshaping the narrative of resistance and how to draw from news, media, canonical works, and other found texts to create our own work in conversation with the current world.
Click here to sign up for online workshop . . .
I am on the radio today reading poetry! If you're in Houston you can catch my segment in the 2019 edition of Voices and Verses on Houston Public Media. Click above to listen!
In this sound portrait, Walrath describes how she fell in love with poetry in high school, her love of the weird and her inspirations. She reads her poem, “Blue Cadillac.”
Oh, the way you sat in
the drive, taking it all up.
I climbed into your cool interior, sliding
across the widest, darkest navy seats
spread beyond me, beyond my vision.
They seemed to expand and dissolve
into a bright light on the driver’s side.
We drove, through endless lanes
of white picket fences, long green,
green lawns, the Texas sun staccato
in the trees, and it may be that I wore
an Easter Sunday dress, all laced in white,
and bows on my tights, or white slumping socks
above black buckle shoes shining with polish.
And in the heat of a Texas summer,
how you could swallow me up
in your blue dusty smell, that
sweet sweet tobacco tucked
into the glove compartment
beside a lady’s silver lighter.
For the sun merely seemed
to enclose you, a line of gold
light above the leather dash.
But the very roundness of you, round seats
and silver knobs and panels like porthole
windows into another time, but mostly
the round, stitched-leather steering wheel
which was surely made for white driving gloves.
And somehow in this memory of you,
your massive lines like some primordial
behemoth long since dead and buried in
ice, the very blueness of you, I may have
remembered myself, another classic beauty.
This poem was published in my chapbook, Glimmerglass Girl.
I have a new poem up today at Mirror Dance called Farewell Dead Men. I also talk about why fantasy is a genre I love:
While science fiction is based in science, mystery is based in the pursuit of a question, and horror is based in evoking an emotion of fear, I believe that fantasy is the only genre which is purely pulled from the author’s deepest dreams and imaginings. The ability to dream up fantastical beasts and worlds seems to me to be a peculiarity of the human condition—one that even the most mundane of minds can learn to cultivate. Where did the idea for a dragon first come from or the hero myth? They are deeply ingrained paths that we continue to walk, following our ancestors through the mists of imagination.
Read my poem "Farewell Dead Men" here . . .
This one has a pretty dark message, but I think it was just reflective of how I was feeling that day, after dealing with a lot of people.
Sometimes people aren't perfect, and that's okay.
This is the last #NaPoWriMo post. I didn't get as many poems as I wanted written this year, but I think it was still a fun month of poetry. I'm working on promo for my chapbook, which is exciting but also a lot of work. So I'm still getting things done even if I'm not writing every day. It's fun to play around and see where my poems are evolving or even backsliding. If you want to read more of my stuff, follow me on Instagram.
I was traveling over the last two weeks so I didn't get a chance to upload my #NaPoWriMo pieces. While I'm traveling, I find it easiest to make short poems that I can write on my phone. I find poetry everywhere, it seems. This one I wrote while on the train into San Francisco. What compelled me to this topic, I've no idea.
This is the beginning of a pantoum poem with repeating lines. My NaPoWriMo stuff always seems to go to a dark place, or maybe that’s my natural inclination.
i got a bit behind on NaPoWriMo in the past few days because LIFE and also the release of my latest chapbook, forgive me for I am not a robot. Wish I were. Anywho here is one complete haiku and two other snippets from things I’m playing around with. I love haiku because it’s such an ancient form but it’s also fun to stretch and play around with, to break the form.
Wrote two poems today to play catch-up. Above is inspired by a line from a poem by Ursula K. Le Guin, “Twilight was a Sound of Water”
Sometimes I write tiny poem-like creatures like this snippet. They are mostly wandering stray thoughts.
I’ve been playing around with Instagram lately, adding images to photo. It’s fun to try out. This one was inspired by Blade Runner and K’s Baseline test.
This is a short piece that’s part of a larger chapbook of Very Small Poems I’ve been working on. The violence here is an extension of my own struggles with depression and violent thought patterns.
For this poem, I was struggling to get something down. So I picked up the New York Times in my coffee shop and made a found poem using phrases from articles.
I like the result. It’s a fun method to break out of my normal phrasing.
one of the reasons I like doing poetry challenges like #NaPoWriMo is that it shows we’re all human. This one has all kinds of scratch outs but it will get revised later and be awesome, I can just feel it sizzling.
I’m posting this late due to the fact that my schedule is basically insane right now. Enjoy this creepy ode to Shelley Jackson’s Patchwork Girl.
last day of NaPoWriMo! I didn't get to post this yesterday so I'm posting today. I'll probably take a break now and write more stories. Happy May Day and happy spring to you! Poets, keep writing!
This one went super dark and creepy for which I apologize. However you only have a little bit of time to linger with me in the darkness. What will you do with it?
only 2 days left to go! I'm trying to decide how long I'll keep these up on the blog. Maybe another month. Hope you've been enjoying them! This one is another inspired by one line of poetry from a favorite poet. It's a really useful prompt.
Almost done! This one inspired by my upcoming trip to NOLA. Did you know that's where Faulkner lived when he was a young writer?
two poems today. I'm looking at my notebook with a small feeling of exhilaration and also dread for revision! But the practice of this month has been fun. Write now, revise later right?
Holly Lyn Walrath is a freelance editor and author of poetry, flash fiction, and short fiction. Find her on Twitter @HollyLynWalrath
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Holly Walrath's books on Goodreads
ratings: 19 (avg rating 4.21)
Our Space: Shorts & Poetry from the Houston Community
ratings: 4 (avg rating 4.25)
In Medias Res: Stories from the In-Between
ratings: 2 (avg rating 4.50)
The 2017 Rhysling Anthology: The Best Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Poetry of 2016 Selected by the Science Fiction Poetry Association
ratings: 16 (avg rating 4.31)
ratings: 9 (avg rating 4.67)