Poetry Friday: Growing as a Writer

Welcome to Poetry Friday! Our host this week is the friendly and accessible author of the Wondering and Wandering Blog, Christie! Please check out her webpage for her post today as well as links to other poets, authors, and all round supportive people! Thanks, Christie for hosting! My first time hosting will be next week, August 20th, and I am super excited! In the next few days I’ll be preparing for my job as host by getting the Inlinkz widget set up on my blog. If you have any tips for doing this, please add them to today’s comments!

In the past year I’ve grown immensely as a writer. Yes, I still make grammar mistakes and typos, and proof-read much too fast. Yes, I still have long posts. But, I’ve done some things to advance my writing and also take advantage of opportunities to learn. Let’s take yesterday, for example. I did not blog. But, instead I was a participant in a webinar hosted by the esteemed Janet Wong and Sylvia Vardell, Anthologies 101. Not only did this two hour session give a plethora of information on poetry anthologies and compilations, it delved into publishing options – which is exactly where I am with my chap book on color poems. It was good to hear the experienced opinions of published authors on which direction I can go, indie publishing or traditional publishing houses. They are offering another session on October 16th to those interested, but act fast, as it will fill up quickly!

This was not the first of such webinars I attended. Last May, 2020, I attended a three-week session on self publishing by author, Amanaa Zieba. Amanda lives near me and while we’ve never met she has authored at least a dozen books, both for children and adults. Her webinar offered her first-hand trial and error experiences of authoring and publishing books. It was useful and offered in small chunks so one could digest what she shared. She also had some great handouts (print-offs) that I’ve retained for reference.

Both of these experiences were valuable ones. They served to enhance my knowledge base as well as network with other authors. I would highly recommend participating in anything offered by these authors if you are trying to learn more about the self-publishing (indie publishing) world. As an aside, there was a monetary cost to both. It was worth my time and money to participate.

The other way in which I grew this year was to enter several poetry contests. I believe I’ve entered three so far. And, I’ve not won any. I expected that. However, by entering I learned some of the ropes of formatting and submitting my work. I’ve also learned about sites like Submittable and others. I’ve learned how to research what publications are accepting submissions and developed a way for me to keep track of those dates. I will continue to enter contests, within reason. Again, writing contests can be a great learning experience.

For both of these experiences, I just had to jump. I am an introvert. Putting myself and my work out there is a little scary and hard. However, I do believe I have something to offer with my written word, so I jumped! I am very glad I did! I’ve grown as a writer in the process.

I’ve been told I’m adept at working with children on their writing, and did so for six years in one of our local elementary schools. Thirty-six third graders wrote along side me and thirty four had their work published with my help during that time. I enjoyed it immensely. So, this summer I started another writer’s circle in our community. It has not been without some bumps but I will work to see that it continues in some fashion. Fortunately, the bumps have not been with the students, but with communication with the venue (our public library).

Our lessons this summer have focused mostly on poetry. We’ve had mini-lessons on haiku, clerihew, nonets, diamante, and more. We also wrote pourquoi stories (these were great) and yesterday made a foray into natural journaling (not sure I’d do this again as a stand alone lesson). I know what worked and what did not. I have past experience from which to draw upon to tweak my lessons. What has not changed is how I feel when i work with the students and their reaction to me. It is a comfortable and supportive relationship, one that I hope to continue with these writers and others.

I don’t have any fresh poetry to offer today, so I am going back through my files to offer a true Poetry Friday piece. Since my summer hobby of raising monarchs and providing community education on citizen science has also been keeping me busy, a monarch poem it will be!

Late summer monarch. © Carol Labuzzetta, 2015.

Ode to An August Monarch

Oh, monarch, my monarch,
Today you will fly 
On wings that take you oh, so high.

Through my yard, and around the bend
Sipping on colorful flowers that will send

You on your journey to a land far away,
Keeping you nourished so you can stay,

In the oyamel fir trees on the mountains so high,
Of Central Mexico you’ll rest but not die,
Waiting for the winter months to quickly pass by.

When mother nature signals it’s time to zoom, 
Around the month of March, I assume.

Monarchs return
After a long northern assent
From the warm place that you all went.

A relative of yours will visit my yard, 
Where I’ve prepped and preened so they can let down their guard.

Home again, where fellow monarchs can stay 
amongst the milkweed and flowers
planted so they can lay

Many new eggs that from caterpillars grow
All on my milkweed that’s not in a row.

The cycle will start all over again, 
While I say goodbye to you today 
Oh, dear monarch friend. 
I know your future offspring will visit my glen.

 © Carol Labuzzetta, 2020.

Newly released monarch butterfly on lavender in my yard. © Carol Labuzzetta, 2021.

10 thoughts

  1. Something I really appreciated about you (Carol) and your fellow #Anthologies101 participants was the amazing range of experiences that you brought to our session. There is so much passion among poets to learn more about our craft—and innovative ways to share our poetry. Loved reading about your work with students in this post. I’ll bet they were so proud of the way their writing was recognized, thanks to you!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a summer of learning you’ve had! Huzzah for the August monarchs! I currently have four tiny caterpillars munching on milkweed and a chrysalis in my care.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations on all the ways you’ve put yourself out there and grown as a writer this past year, Carol. That’s wonderful! And thanks for this lovely poem–the multi-generational migration journey of monarchs is just amazing :>)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I know you must be proud of all your work in writing these past months, Carol. Congrats to you for such work & for giving those monarchs a home! I love your poem of address to those lovely creatures.

    Liked by 1 person

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