June 6, 2011

Summer Poetry Challenge: WHY NOT?

Last week Dan Wells issued a challenge on his blog. Honestly, I thought it sounded fun, but I'm really busy. I mean, really busy. Busier than you. Busier than Dan Wells, or Sarah M. Eden, or Robison Wells . . . I'm busier than everyone. 


So when Marion Jensen, another writer I am NOT busier than, tweeted that he was considering accepting the Summer Poetry Challenge, I nodded. Yes. I, too, would consider accepting this challenge. And then Dan told me it was the shiz, so . . .

Starting last week, and proceeding through the summer, we’re memorizing one poem a week. That’s up to 12 poems. Want to join us? Here are the rules: 

1. It must be a poem you don’t already have fully memorized, but it’s okay if you already have some of it memorized.
2. You must recite the entire poem, out loud, from memory, for at least one other person, on Sunday. That gives you slightly less than a full week for the first one, so pick something easy.
3. There are no length restrictions, but if all your poems are little quatrains or tiny nursery rhymes you’re cheating in spirit. Throw a few multi-stanza poems in there; you can do it.
4. No William Carlos Williams allowed. There will be zero tolerance on this point.
5. Everything is done completely on the honors system. If you say you did it, we believe you.

My first poem is a stirring declaration. Life has bowed me several times, and I've been afraid, but I'm thinking writing here. I want to write. And pretty much nothing is going to stop me. 

'Cept maybe the kids on summer break. "Mooooom!"


William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

"Ship At Sea Sunset" by Edward Moran


Shanda said...

Great poem choice! I'm just going to cheat and copy all my writer friends' poems for my poetry challenge. You all know the best poems. :)

Melanie Jacobson said...

I'm not going to do the challenge (I taught English for five years and I may not have any more memory space for memorized poems) but if I did, I'd probably memorize one I always quote from: Dylan Thomas, "Do Not Go Gentle."

Sarah M Eden said...


Krista said...

Shanda, I googled "best loved poems". Ha. but I have read this one before and I really liked it.

Melanie, I thought of that one. I have a hard time with memorization, so I admire anyone with any sort of retainer memory!

Sarah, thaaaaanks. :)

Robin Weeks said...

Yeah, might steal this one. Very cool. :)

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