.NaPoWriMo 2015 Day 16

We’re officially on the downhill slope of NaPoWriMO and it has been a great experience, thus far. Today’s prompts were to create a terzanelle and a science poem, even in a general sense., for NaPoWriMo and Writer’s Digest, respectively.

I’ve been on a kick of writing about not being able to write which is pretty ironic seeing as I’m writing every single day for what is 16 days now and that is unheard of even for me, even in my most fertile of times. So goes life.

I do feel that I may just keep writing daily after the month is up. I was thinking of getting a jar and writing random prompts on paper then using those to challenge me daily. Now, there is no shortage of sites where you can find prompts, if you look online, but maybe getting a family member or spouse to come up with some would be a fun way to get others involved and engaged with your art.

My offering is loosely based in archaeology. The dig for the right words, the little known gems that you find when digging and the failure to do so:


until the next time i dig into the large & the small
coming back with nothing but powdered creases
not just yet should you signal the bearer of pall

at the site of metaphor, a herd of lines ceases
they are still as i try to rustle them, rustle they will not
coming back with nothing but powdered creases

my palms are well dusted, thus is the archaeologist’s lot
sifting for words long gone & ancient – these lines
they are still as i try to rustle them, rustle they will not

matter makes more space than the sense for which my heart pines
the blanks are more so black, more gaps less gasp
sifting for words long gone & ancient – these lines

a grip of which i cannot grasp
i musn’t look so i close my eyes to it
the blanks are more so black, more gaps less gasp

and the gaps of speech and spit
they are deadly to my sight, therefore,
i musn’t look so i close my eyes to it
not just yet should you signal the bearer of pall

©jason c.segarra

James A. Emanuel was born in Alliance, Nebraska. After a series of jobs in his late teens, he served during World War II, partly as secretary to the Army’s first black general, General Benjamin O. Davis Sr. After the war, Emanuel earned his BA from Howard University, his MA from Northwestern, and his PhD in English and comparative literature from Columbia. Emanuel began teaching at City College, CUNY while completing his doctorate; he taught at the institution from 1957 until his retirement in 1983. Though often described as “neglected,” Emanuel was one of the driving forces behind opening the English college curricula to African American literature. His groundbreaking study Langston Hughes (1967) was one of the first scholarly books on Hughes. With Theodore L. Gross, Emanuel also edited one of the first anthologies of black writers, Dark Symphony: Negro Literature in America(1968). That same year, he published his first book of poetry, The Treehouse and Other Poems (1968). In his poetry, Emanuel frequently utilizes traditional forms and evokes the harsh realities of black experience. His many collections include Black Man Abroad (1978), Whole Grain: Collected Poems 1958–1989 (1991), and The Force and the Reckoning (2001).

In the 1990s, Emanuel developed a new form of writing, frequently described as jazz haiku. His collection JAZZ from the Haiku King (1999) contains examples of the 17-syllable stanza form. He read his work in this genre to live jazz accompaniment.  Emanuel moved to Paris in 1984, where he lived until his death in 2013. He taught English at the University of Toulouse and the University of Grenoble.

cited- poetryfoundation.com


Poet As Fisherman

I fish for words
to say what I fish for,
half-catch sometimes.

I have caught little pan fish flashing sunlight
(yellow perch, crappies, blue-gills),
lighthearted reeled them in,
filed them on stringers on the shore.
A nice mess, we called them,
and ate with our fingers, laughing.

Once, dreaming of fish in far-off waters,
I hooked a two-foot carp in Michigan,
on nylon line so fine
a fellow-fisher shook his head:
“He’ll break it, sure; he’ll roll on it and get away.”
A quarter-hour it took to bring him in;
back-and-forth toward my net,
syllable by syllable I let him have his way
till he lay flopping on the grass—
beside no other, himself enough in size:
he fed the three of us (each differently)
new strategies of hook, leader, line, and rod.

Working well, I am a deep-water man,
a “Daredevil” silver wobbler
my lure for lake trout in midsummer.

Oh, I have tried the moon, thermometers—
the bait and time and place all by the rule—
fishing for the masterpiece,
the imperial muskellunge in Minnesota,
the peerless pike in Canada.
I have propped a well-thumbed book
against the butt of my favorite rod
and fished from my heart.

Yet, for my labors,
all I have to show
are tactics, lore—
so little I know
of that pea-sized brain I am casting for,
to think it could swim
with the phantom-words
that lure me to this shore. 

James A. Emanuel


4 thoughts on “.NaPoWriMo 2015 Day 16

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