NPM: Poemcrazy

2021 National Poetry Month Poster
Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life with Words by Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge

This morning I picked up Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge’s “poemcrazy,” an all-time favorite, but one I haven’t visited in years. I opened to Chapter 3: “collecting words and creating a word pool”, dove in, and fell in love with it all over again. It’s such a joyful, exuberant celebration of words and word play. I wonder that sparks don’t fly off the pages as I read.

I started writing down words and phrases, playing with sounds and meanings. Word romping. Listening for sounds, free associating, “casting out words like water in a fountain.” I drenched myself thoroughly in words, marking no boundaries, simply creating and diving into pools of words while Wooldridge cheered me on: “Be sloppy. Don’t think. You can’t make a mistake, there aren’t any wrong words.”

In April

flaming yellow finches
pop in, perch, pop up
like lollipops or lemon drops
fling light
sing bright
sprinkle citrus song
flit, glit, flutter, fly
sparkling sunbeams
in a zephyrous sky

©Molly Hogan, draft

An “I am” Poem


I’ve been revisiting Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge’s poemcrazy: freeing your life with words. I love this book. The first time I read it, I was driving down to Philadelphia and it simply transformed the journey. This book is one of my all-time favorites. Did I already mention that I love it? Every time I pick it up, I’m again thankful to Catherine Flynn for introducing it to me. It’s a wonder! There are so many prompts and practices that dig into rich poetic territory and celebrate unabashed word joy!

Today I’m sharing an “I am” poem I wrote in response to a practice Wooldridge shares in the book. She provides a long list of questions to answer, starting with “If I were a color, what color would I be? to  “If I were a movement, what movement would I be?” to “What’s the word hiding behind my eyes?” She emphasizes using collected words and seeing images to define yourself with these questions. “Be silly, serious, wry or overdramatic,” she advises….–as long as you’re writing about yourself.”

I am…

I am granite grey
plain Jane, sturdy and dependable
but sometimes sunlight shoots across my surface
igniting flecks of mica and quartz
into quick showers of sparkles
here, then gone
I’m a circle, or more probably, an oval
wobbly on the edges
and a bit dizzy from spinning
round and round
I am a quiet gasp of wonder and worry
A song of sunrise and sunset
Within me lives a distant howling wind
keen and piercing
like the memory of a small child crying
I could never be a sequoia
tall, strong, and directed
my bark is not immune to licking flames
my branches wander hither and yon
like the crony apple tree
that twists and gnarls
yet yields occasional ruby fruit
glistening sweet surprise
Behind my eyes
the word scared lingers
along with trying
sometimes they fight
but sometimes they hold hands
and jump into the fray together

©Molly Hogan, 2019

This week you can find the Poetry Friday Roundup at The Miss Rumphius Effect. If you’re living in the Northeast, you can surely tuck in some poetry around the forecasted falling snowflakes this weekend!

On that note, I’m going to tuck in two storm-inspired haiku:

winter storm hype
faster than snow

©Molly Hogan, 2019


Big storm’s coming!

grocery store chaos
toilet paper, bread, and milk
the new trinity

©Molly Hogan, 2019