Who are you to tell me what my job is?
Do you even know what I do?
You haven’t been here that long,
I suspect I know more than you.
Do you know I went to school?
Do you know I did just fine?
You have mentioned your education,
If you’d listened you’d know of mine.
What do you think my job is?
What do you think it should be?
That’s okay don’t answer,
It makes no difference to me.
Do you know what I do every night?
Do you even care?
I slave over a charity,
I organize and prepare.
For while you sit there judging me,
Seeing just a lowly secretary,
I’m making a huge difference,
I am far more necessary.
To the form I imagine me to be:
Eight hours of tedium, the fast clack of the keyboard, the slow tick of seconds.
Eight hours of germination, reflection on you.
You: Found between the space of ticking time, the moments between lying down for sleep and sleep itself.
You do not exist with dream me.
Dream me is fragmented, shards of a mirror, spinning, jumping from space to space, time to time, no direction, chaos.
You are serene, filled with purpose, husbanding your place in time and space perfectly…Dream me will never find the way to meet you.
Reflecting, awake me, the me that is neither dreaming me nor you. The somewhere inbetween me searches for you around the edges of the slow clacking keyboard and the speeding seconds.
Inbetween me knows I will find you, in the time, the place between awake and sleeping.
So my Easter Bunny flies
Into the sun—oh,
Tries to rise
Out from the clouds. A tic
Under his butt, he takes a
Turn at his mistress hen
To lay the eggs kids
Have to taste—aha,
Each time I try
Down to the hole with
A happy dive.
Years and our
Solipsism fails, woo
Ooh, my secret, hah.
DEAREST WRITER PALS,
This month, your challenge shall be easy—a poem in the form of a letter!
The EPISTOLARY form is wide open, and it’s going to be fun! You can write to a person, a place, a concept. You can write as yourself or adopt another persona. And address that poem to anyone you want: alive, dead, real, or imaginary!
WHAT’S AN EPISTOLARY POEM?
Epistolary poems have been around for a long time—starting with Ovid’s Heroides, which were letters from the heroines of mythology to their lovers, like Penelope to Odysseus. Epistolary poetry was popular in the eighteenth century and still is, because we’ve all got a lot to say to each other.
THE WORLD IS YOUR POETRY PEN PAL!
Did you read the New York Times article on unsent letters? We used to write angry letters to get our feelings out, and then put them away, having been relieved of the burden of our anger and cool enough to avoid a starting a brawl. Now it’s so easy to send, to post, to share. But what if we made some art out of it instead?
WRITE DAT LETTER!
This form is not just for angry letters. We need love letters! And observations! What would you tell your great grandfather about the weather, and your lunch, and the birds chirping outside your window? What do you think he’d have to say to you? Maybe you want to write an “OMG I LOVE YOU” letter to Steven Millhauser? You wouldn’t be the only one!
Because there is no set rhyme scheme or meter for EPISTOLARY POEMS, you can get wild with the form. Rhyme? Sure! No rhyme? That’s cool too! We get all giddy and sparkly in our hearts when you incorporate a form we’ve previously tackled in our challenges. Follow your instincts! See where they take ya!
ARE YOU READY TO WRITE YOUR LETTER?
For the official poetry person scoop on EPISTLES, check out Poets.org.
To learn more about the EPISTOLARY form, head on down to the Poetryfoundation.org!
And DEFINITELY check out "The Lost Art of the Unsent Angry Letter" from your homies at the NYTimes! You’ll love it! Grr!!
ALSO, A SPECIAL PHOTO CHALLENGE THIS MONTH!
In honor of pens and pencils and crayons and paper and envelopes and stamps, we’d LOVE for you to write your finished poem out LETTER STYLE! On paper! Like a totally real letter!
Photograph or scan your finished EPISTOLARY POEM and submit the image with your text. Or do just one! Or do both!
1. Write an EPISTOLARY POEM!
Write that poem! Address anyone or anything you desire (or don’t desire if you’re feeling cranky). Try writing out your final poem on a piece of paper! And take a picture! Or scan it! It’ll add a whole new level to your writing experience—and to the world’s experience as your readers!
We are here for you as POETRY COACHES so email us your EPISTOLARY (or EPISTOLARY questions) and we will workshop!
Submission Period: April 16—April 30
Submit RIGHT HERE or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and attach an original picture or artwork or an image of your letter-style poem, if you want.
3. READ ALL THE LETTERS FROM YOUR PALS!
At poetryinvitational.tumblr.com. Mailing list people will also receive an email digest after the challenge. You’ll get to read all the poems from all your friends/strangerpals right in your emailbox.
Share your poem once it’s posted OR share the challenge with more writer friends! The Poetry Invitational community (and poetic awesomeness) keeps growing because of you guys and the poems you’re putting into the universe and the writers who are drawn to the work YOU’RE doing. How cool is that? SO COOL!
WE CAN’T WAIT
to see your glorious epistles. Your missives. Your communiqués! YOU CAN DO THIS. We know for sure that you’ve got something to say to someone, and now is your chance to write it!
With LOVE and LETTERS,
Beth and Marcella
It’s in EMAILBOXES and swirling all over the internet RIGHT NOW!
Oh, and your April Challenge will be COMING SOON! Yay!