This month I'm doing NaHaiWriMo (writing the shortest genre of poetry every day during the shortest month). The admin of the facebook group, Michael Dylan Welch, recently posted this, which feeds nicely into my theme for this week's prompt:
I’m sure we’ve all seen, and perhaps wondered about, poems with the subtitle ‘After [name of another poet]’. Google explains:
When you write a poem heavily influenced by another poem you always acknowledge it with the word ‘after’ and the original poet’s name.
One also sometimes sees, ‘After Reading [name of a specific poem or book] by [poet’s name].' This seems to be when the new poem is a response to the original but not so ‘heavily influenced’ – or when the material read is not just one particular poem.
A recent email in poets.org's poem-a-day series showed me this delightful piece by Dobby Gibson: After Reading Kobayashi Issa’s The Spring of My Life on My 49th Birthday. It’s quite short; do have a quick look
In this case The Spring of My Life is a whole book.
In the poets.org series, poets are also asked to record an ‘About This Poem’. Gibson says of his:
After a snowstorm, there’s a stillness that hints at a grace we can’t quite access. It becomes possible to imagine the unburdening of the self. Hence my debt here to Issa, and also to Milosz’s poem written after Issa, who wrote his haibun after Basho’s. Which is to say that poems, like birthdays, are intensely serial. I’ll never know all the voices speaking through me.
(The mention of Basho’s haibun also refers to a whole book, his famous The Narrow Road to the Deep North.)
I love both Basho and Issa, and also greatly admire Czeslaw Milosz, so it was no hardship to me to read the Milosz poem and grab the Issa book. (I already had Basho’s.) Dobby Gibson, whom I hadn’t encountered before, seems worth exploring further too.
I also love the idea of poems being ‘intensely serial’ and that we’ll never know all the voices speaking through us – especially true if you were brought up on poetry from an early age, as I was lucky enough to be.
If you would like to try a prompt this week, I invite you to re-read a favourite piece of writing, which may be poetry or prose, allow yourself to be inspired by it and share the results with us. We would also like to know, please, ‘after’ whom, or ‘after reading’ what – even if you are working in prose. (You may tell us in a subtitle or a note.)
Free choice: You don’t have to write to a prompt; only to share with us whatever you would like to – old or new, prose or verse.
Our only rules are one post per person, and that prose pieces must be within 369 words, excluding title.
The prompt will stay open all week. Link to your post, below, and don’t forget to come back to find those treasures linked later in the week.
For our next Friday Writings, Magaly will invite us to spend a few moments considering the word "Peace"... then write poetry or prose inspired by the thoughts that come to mind.