Poetry Minutes 2019: Write a Poem of Gratitude

Feb 25, 2019

Credit Jenni Todd/WKMS

National Poetry Month is not until April but preparations are already underway in Calloway County.  WKMS is celebrating by broadcasting original short poems every day for the fifteenth year of Poetry Minutes. This year, we're inviting anyone ages 13 on up to write poems in 60 words or less, to be broadcast as Poetry Minutes.

The theme of gratitude is the centerpiece of this year’s Poetry Minutes, and writers of all experience and skill levels are invited to take the challenge to write short poems of 60 words or less.

Submit your poem now?

Constance Alexander, award-winning writer and poet from Murray, will guide the selection process of poems to be broadcast.

Suggestions about format and process are below.

“Calloway County has led the way in Kentucky, regarding the celebration of National Poetry Month,” Ms. Alexander said. As far as I know, WKMS is the only radio station to broadcast original poems by listeners young and old, and this year we are adding other poetry events and activities to ensure that people who want to get involved will have a comfortable way to do that.

On March 30, Murray Art Guild is offering a workshop that invites participants to make their own handmade book and publish an original poem in the handmade book. Artist Justine Riley will coach the bookmaking part of the workshop, and Constance Alexander will facilitate the poetry writing. For more information, Poetry Minutes will begin broadcasting on Monday, April 1.

Want to submit your poem now?

Tips on writing poems:

There are scores of short poems that make us think, laugh, remember, or reflect in some way. Some of my favorites are by the 20th century Puerto Rican American poet, William Carlos Williams:  

The  Red Wheelbarrow 

so much depends

upon

a red wheel

barrow

glazed with rain

water

beside the white

chickens. (16 words)

This is just to say

I have eaten

the plums

that were in

the icebox

and which

you were probably

saving

for breakfast

Forgive me

they were delicious

so sweet

and so cold (28 words)

The great figure

Among the rain 

and lights 

I saw the figure 5 

in gold 

on a red 

firetruck 

moving 

tense 

unheeded 

to gong clangs 

siren howls 

and wheels rumbling 

through the dark city. (31 words)

These poems do not rhyme, but they contain strong images with effective use of color, visual image, sound, touch, smell, precise word choice, and tone. In writing your own short poem about gratitude, you might follow the same line length and stanza breaks that Williams uses, and see how making forced choices inspires you to craft a message with a limited number of words.

Some may insist that poems have to rhyme, but that is not the case. Forcing a rhyme, in fact, sometimes dilutes the clarity of the poem, sacrificing meaning for rhyme.

Check out these links to see other examples of very short poems:

https://learnodo-newtonic.com/famous-short-poems

https://bookriot.com/2018/01/19/short-poems/

http://www.musepiepress.com/shotglass/glossary.html

Here's where you can submit your poem.