Last year was my first year doing the Summer Poetry Swap that Tabatha Yeatts created, and initiates and organizes each year. Thank you, Tabatha, for doing this.
I enjoy receiving the poems from such talented poet friends. It is always a surprise, always a little mysterious and definitely makes going to the mailbox a whole lot more fun!
I've shared my poetry gifts received from Keri Collins Lewis, Diane Mayr, Tabatha Yeatts, and Heidi Mordhorst in past posts. These have been wonderfully thoughtful poems, and accompanied by beautiful illustrations. I have them on my refrigerator right now - my favorite place to post treasures! (I can see them from where I sit and write.)
Refrigerators can tell a lot about the person who uses it.
Refrigerators can tell a lot about the people the refrigerator owner hangs around with, too.
Today I thought I would just share my Poetry Swaps that I sent out this summer, and a bit about how I came about writing each. The process was so much fun, and the finished product was even better than I'd hoped for.
You may want to try some for Christmas gifts to family and friends. I got so carried away, I also created one for my mother-in-law up in the far reaches of Northern Maine. She is in an assisted living community, and they all work on multiple puzzles at a time up together. And now I have told you the format - the carrier - for my poems. I used puzzles.
And here is what I did to get started:
For each recipient, I went back and read many posts. Even if I'd read the posts before, I reread to remember and think. Hopefully, I would get some sense of the person behind the words and be able to put together something that was meaningful for them. Originally, I'd decided to use Tagxedo, as I had last year. I did use it once, for Keri Collins Lewis, my first swap (I received a poem from her as her first swap, also!). But then, decided to branch out and use images - either my own or theirs. So everyone had a different experience when they read the poem and saw the image, yet had a common experience of "Poetry Puzzled".
After reading the posts and checking the blog from possible images that would work, I set about writing. I jotted down "must use" words or ideas to get started. When the poem was complete, I let it sit and stew for a bit. Fat rose, and I skimmed it off. A few more skimmings and rinsings in cool water, and only the necessary words remained. It was ready to apply to an image. The image then was transferred to Zazzle to be placed on a puzzle template! I have a Zazzle Black account, so shipping is free, and I had each puzzle shipped directly to each recipient.
Keri Collins Lewis - I so enjoyed her "other life" as a beekeeper! When I went to write her poem, I had read many of her posts and wanted to include as many little snippets of her life and posts as I could. I wanted a literal "puzzle poem", with each piece of the poem making up the whole picture. I put her web address into Tagxedo and found a bee silhouette to use as the shape of the tagxedo. Then her poem, with the Tagxedo, was arranged in the Zazzle program to make a puzzle. If you have read her blog, then you will probably (hopefully) recognize the pieces in her poem!
My second Poetry Puzzled recipient was Jone Rush MacCulloch. She was in the midst of a big move when she received her poem. Hopefully, all belongings have been moved and mostly re-established in their new home! And that she has had some quiet time to construct her puzzle!
I found a beautiful picture Jone had taken of a hummingbird. I'd been seeing a hummingbird around our house (saw him again yesterday after weeks of absence). The image with the lilies was just so gorgeous, I had to use it. I have planned a longer more involved poem, but what came out was shorter and, to me anyway, sweeter. So I went with it. A simple combination of her photography and a poem inspired by it.
My third Poetry Puzzled poet recipient was with a long time Blogger Buddy, Linda Baie. For hers I decided that I would use an image from her site. I remembered that she had a beautiful watercolor of a bleeding heart she'd painted and posted. With that painting in mind, plus her 2015 One Little Word: "Paint", and her love of "painting with words", I wrote her this poem to honor her beautiful talent of "painting with heart".
Joy Acey Frelinger was my next swap. Now, Joy has very few photos on her site and it is filled with children's poetry. Not a lot of bio to get except that she has a wonder, joy and heart for all writing, and especially poetry, for children. I read a lot of her poems, gleaning the wonders, and put pieces into a poem as a kind of list of things to learn and do in childhood.
Because she didn't have a picture I could use, I painted a watercolor of a heart to superimpose the poem on...and of course, used Joy's name in the title!
And my final swap was with Irene Latham. First, I wanted to use her OLW "Wild" in the poem. What's wilder than a tiger? I found pictures of her family's visit with baby tigers and couldn't resist the image of Boris. Boris, so large and in charge - for a little guy!
It seemed that he wanted a poem about himself, and Irene would get a little memento of their experience! And here he is in all his tiger ferocious glory:
I'm kind of sad that I don't have any more to do! I guess I know what I'm getting my daughter for Christmas. Hope she isn't reading this today...