Thursday, August 02, 2018

Poetry Friday -- The Roundup is HERE!

Unsplash photo by Joshua Earle

Life On Top

Make a mess
Make a life

Life is sweet
Life is bitter

Bitter end
Bitter pill to swallow

Swallow it whole
Swallow your pride

Pride before a fall
Pride that bursts

Bursts of anger
Bursts of joy

Joy in a bundle
Joy mixed with tears

Tears your heart out
Tears it to pieces

Pieces of pie
Pieces of writing

Writing on the wall
Writing it off

Off the cuff
Off balance

Balance and checks
Balance the books

Books we rewrite
Books a flight

Flight of wine
Flight of fancy

Fancy that
Fancy up

Up my spine
Up in the air

Air your grievance
Air it out good

Good grief
Good as gold

Gold standard
Gold can't stay

Stay put
Stay ahead

Ahead of time
Ahead of the game

Game changer
Game over

Over easy
Over the top

Top heavy
Top flight


©Mary Lee Hahn, 2018

I was cleaning up my computer desktop this week and found a link I'd saved for the Blitz Poem poetic form. Perhaps you were the one who shared a Blitz Poem and piqued my interest enough to cause me to save that link. At any rate, what good are summer mornings if we don't spend an hour or two playing around with words?!

This poem was made possible by The Free Dictionary, which has a tab for idioms. I also needed an exhaustive list of prepositions to craft my title. Because the title comes from the 3rd and 47th lines of the poem, I revised the last ten lines four times because I couldn't find a preposition I liked that linked life with blood, back, or easy. And I sure wasn't going to go all the way back and change line 3!

This seems like a form that might be fun for my fifth graders. I was pretty intentional at the beginning, but much of the drafting of the middle involved putting down the first phrases that came to mind. I'm not sure the poem makes a ton of sense when taken as a whole (and I did complicate things by playing free and easy with the tears/tears homograph), but the spiraling way the words and phrases are connected...even the way the poem reads if you just look at the first words of each line...there is a satisfactory feel to it...if only during the writing!

(Here's a bonus poem, also created from idioms!)

The Poetry Friday roundup is here this week, and I'll roundup "old school" since I have time. Leave your links in the comments and I'll add them as they come in.


It's winter down under, and Sally Murphy has written a snuggly ruggy poem.

Molly Hogan shares her poem swap goodies from Linda B.

Robyn Hood Black has some quick newsletter news for interested subscribers.

Michelle Kogan shares art and writing from her recent trip to Door County, WI.

More summer poem swap bounty shared by Linda Mitchell.

At Random Noodling, Diane Mayr has Statue of Liberty cherita postcards, and at Kurious Kitty, a poem from the anthology Forgotten Women.

The Poetry Princesses wrote sestinas this month.
Laura Purdie Salas self-identified hers as "morose."
Sara Lewis Holmes starts with Oscar Wilde's Miss Prism and goes deep from there.
Tricia Stohr Hunt was the Princess who issued the sestina challenge this month.
Tanita Davis' sestina is combative (her word, not mine...but I do believe hers should be SHOUTED)

Laura Shovan has a 100 Thousand Poets for Change challenge for all of us.

Myra Garces Bacsal is featuring a new book-length poem by Jason Reynolds.

Linda Baie shares selections from a book of poetry by Robert Newton Peck.

Jane Whittingham, the Raincity Librarian, writes about an author visit she did for her debut picture book.

Matt Forrest Esenwine shares a dramatic ocean haiku today.

Brenda Harsham contemplates philosophy in her tanka.

Jan Godown Annino has enough goodness packed into her post to last us all of August!

Erin Mauger wrote a poem for the Rosellas that visit her Australian yard. (Any other North Americans who wish they had some Rosellas in their yard?!?!)

Heidi Mordhorst takes us to a "London-proper narrow lane" to a poetry event celebrating youth poets.

Poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil (yes, I used copy/paste :-) is featured by Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference.

Ruth shares a back-to-school poem by William Stafford.

Margaret Simon wrote a found poem using photos of signs in Boston.

Irene Latham is reinventing August. (Good luck with that!)

Reading the James Stevenson poem Maureen Nosal shares will give you a feeling of synchronicity, if you just read Irene's poems! (I LOVE when Poetry Friday does that!!)

Steve Peterson used Seamus Heaney's "Postscript" as the inspiration for his contemplation of the Iowa summer.

Kay McGriff captures the sounds and spirit of New Orleans jazz perfectly in her poem.

Little Willow shares a poem with a great twist at the end.

Christie Wyman has a bird song mnemonics poem and a challenge for us for August 17, when she'll be hosting the Poetry Friday Roundup -- she's asking that we all share a bird poem that week. Sounds like fun! Remember when we did Billy Collins, or when we did mac-n-cheese?

Donna Smith gave a blitz a go! Yay, Donna!!

Liz Steinglass got Poetry Swap goodies from Irene.

Dani Burtsfield has the final stop on the Bayou Song blog tour. She has poems parallel to Margaret's, but that are set in Montana instead of Louisiana.

Carol Varsalona wrote a delightful summer poem to inspire us to submit our creative work to her newest digital gallery.

Tara Smith honors James Baldwin in her post.

Jone MacCulloch has a hummingbird haiga for us this week.

Ramona was inspired by Laura Shovan to collect rhyming picture books to read aloud on September 29th!

A trip to the American Museum of Natural history got Catherine Flynn thinking about dinosaurs.

Using the prompt from Amy LV's book POEMS ARE TEACHERS "If you could bring someone from this time period to life, what would you ask?", Mandy Robek brings to life Lizzy Murphy in her poem.



  1. Oh I love this - it isn't a form I've heard of before, but it looks like so much fun! Thanks for sharing. And thanks for hosting, too. I've shared a quick poem about my ruggy.

  2. Thanks for introducing me to the Blitz Poem structure and for sharing your rollicking ride of a poem. Wow! Thanks also for hosting this week. I'm sharing some Poetry Swap Goodness at

  3. Now that is one chock-full-of-wordplay poem, Mary Lee! I particularly like that fancy bit in the middle. Thanks for sharing & for hosting!

  4. I like the free-wheeling, quick pace to your poem Mary Lee, andthanks for sharing the Blitz form–I'd definitely would like to try it on. Thanks also for hosting the roundup! I'm sharing some poetry and art on watery days and dreams inspired by my trip to Door County, WI at:

  5. A Blitz Poem? I love a challenge....and this one seems tough! You have a great stream of consciousness going that does hang together Might take me a few weeks to work catch up! Thank you for hosting this week. I'm starting to see summer wind down which is sad...but I'm buoyed by wonderful summer poetry swaps treasures. I'm sharing two at A Word Edgewise:

  6. Wow! I love what you did. I must have missed the Blitz poem posts, because this is the first I've heard of the form.

    I have Statue of Liberty cherita postcards at Random Noodling.

    And Kurious Kitty has a poem from the anthology Forgotten Women.

  7. Love this form and your poem! I'm in with a morose sestina at Thanks for hosting, Mary Lee!

  8. This was a lot of fun to read, Mary Lee. I like the way each pair of idioms was a thread pulled from the previous pair.

    I'm sharing the "Read A Poem To A Child" initiative from 100 Thousand Poets for Change this week. Please take a look and consider participating in this global poetry action.

  9. Hello hello! Thank you for hosting this week! :) Here's my Poetry Friday contribution: - Jason Reynolds' "For Everyone" :)

  10. This is wonderful, Mary Lee. I will save the 'how-to' and yours for back-up. I love that you kept the connections, must have been quite a brainstorm! Thanks for hosting. I'm sharing parts of a memoir by Robert Newton Peck this Poetry Friday.

  11. Oooh, yes, this sounds like a great classroom poetry activity!

    This week I'm sharing an impromptu poetry activity I did at a school visit:

  12. Thank for hosting, Mary Lee - and for sharing this form, which I'd not heard of. The connections it forces the writer to make certainly rewards the reader! My link, featuring an ocean haiku, goes up shortly after midnight:

  13. Mary Lee, thanks for hosting. I like this fun form with its great life-advice. I'm in for a bit of that this time, too. Trying to find my inner patience, if nothing else.

  14. O, Mary Lee, I think I will copy out this "Life on Top" poem & perform it in my living room. My hubby has been reading me poetry at night & this will be a surprise gift for him. It has syncopation & verve. I crave it/need it. Appreciations.

  15. Thanks for hosting and for sharing another poetic form. I had hopes of writing a palindrome poem for this week but I didn't have the patience this time around lol. Here's my link for this week :)

  16. Chain chain chain...chain of foolishness that nonetheless comes around to making some serious meaning: life on top is indeed an effort of heavy flight. Thanks for hosting, and I'm in with a report from a poetry event I attended this week in London featuring diverse voices.

  17. I am psyched that Jan is having poetry nights with her husband and will be performing your poem! The Blitz is new to me, too. I will have to try it so I can get a first-hand view of how difficult it is.

    My post is about a poet whose name I can't spell off the top of my head:

    Thanks for hosting, Mary Lee!

    1. PS I am out of town and may not be able to look at everyone's posts until Sunday.

  18. Thanks for hosting! I have a William Stafford poem today.

  19. Blitz FTW! Love this zany and yet profound riff on life. LOVE it. I'm going to recommend this to my Poetry Sisters as one to try next year. It reminds me, with the word repetitions, of a condensed sestina. Or maybe I have sestinas on the brain because that was our challenge this month. Here's my link: Thank you for hosting, Mary Lee!

  20. I'm with Sara. I love what you've done and definitely want to try this form.
    I'm also in with a sestina this week.
    Thanks for hosting!

  21. Your poem is fabulous. I love reading it out loud. I am here with a found poem from signs in Boston.

  22. Funny thing: when you were talking about your process in writing this (amazing!) poem, I was thinking well it IS a "blizzard" after all... and then I went back to the top, and it isn't a blizzard, it's a "blitz." And now I think it should totally be "blizzard." Ha! The way we poets are attached to words.... thank you, Mary Lee!

    I've trying to reinvent August and have included a couple of weather-y riddle poems I wrote some years ago.

  23. I love this poem! I want to try this form with students. I think 5th graders would respond well. Thanks for hosting this week. I've been out of the loop for a while, and was happy to find Poetry Friday Roundup here this week!

  24. What a fun poem, Mary Lee! I'm not actually linking up this week - just having a sticky-beak. ;)

    1. In case you're as curious as I was, here's the definition of sticky-beak: (Australia, New Zealand, colloquial) An overly inquisitive person, a nosey parker.

  25. Thanks for hosting! Keep flying! :)

  26. THis looks like a fun form to try--and it goes quite well with my attempt to write about jazz today! I attempt to capture a little of my experience at Preservation Hall in New Orleans:

  27. I posted Legacy by Rupi Kaur at my blog, Bildungsroman.

  28. If Laura went with morose, mine was combative! Ah, well. Next time we have got to try idiomatic poems like this, though some turns off phrase were a surprise. I've not yet had anything up my spine, but I assume there's still time...

    Oh, my link, before we forget...

  29. Thanks for hosting, Mary Lee. I'll have to give a blitz a whirl! This week I'm sharing a bird mnemonic list with a twist poem and throwing out a challenge to all for when I host in two weeks. Thanks! -- Christie Wyman @ Wondering and Wandering

  30. Thanks for hosting today and thanks so, so much for this Blitz Poem format. I had nothing ready for today, so decided I'd give the Blitz a go!

  31. How cool! I'll need to explore this form more. I have a thank you to Irene for her wonderful summer poetry swap. Thanks for hosting today!

  32. Very intriguing form...

  33. Thank you for hosting, Mary Lee. I am still learning about different poetry forms, and Blitz Poems are definitely a new one for me.

    Today I am the final stop on Margaret Simon's Bayou Song blog tour. Hope you can visit me here:

  34. Mary Lee, the blitz poem that you created is quite an undertaking. Thank you for sharing it and hosting Poetry Friday.
    Today, I am inviting my Poetry Friday friends to take up a creative challenge for my newest gallery: The Art of Summering. I am excited to see how those interested depict the art of summering digitally.

  35. I forgot the link to my PF post:

  36. Well now, isn't this fabulous! I can see that a poem like this calls for verbal dexterity - perfect for you, Mary Lee! I'm sharing a poem in honor of James Baldwin, whose birthday was yesterday:

  37. Hi there,
    Can't wait to try the new form. I'm late but here with a haiga:

  38. Thanks for hosting! I love your Blitz Poem and am so glad that summer provided you the time to play around with this form. Laura's post about reading a poem to a child on Sept. 29 inspired me to look around for some of grandson Jack's favorite rhyming picture and board books.

  39. I love your poem and your philosophy: "what good are summer mornings if we don't spend an hour or two playing around with words?!" I was lucky enough to be in New York yesterday, which inspired this (late!) post:
    Thank you for hosting today, Mary Lee!

  40. I had to keep reading your poem because the beginning made me wonder if you had slipped and fell. I wanted to come help. I think fifth graders will have fun.

    I almost skipped this week and stuck to my plan. I will try to share on Fridays so it's not Poetry Weekend.


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