Pizza Poetry Project Q&A with Kelly Harris

  1. How are you celebrating National Poetry Month?

    On my blog I’ve featured various local and national poets. I was so happy to feature Akilah Toney from Big Class Studio.


  2. Why is National Poetry Month important?  

    It’s important because for a month special attention is given to poetry. Recently I was told by a book reviewer that people just don’t buy poetry. However, having a dedicated month reminds the world how important poetry is and will always be in our lives.


  3. What are you excited about this month? Are there any projects you’re dying to work on this month? Are there any local readings coming up that you want us to know about?

    It’s been a good month for me. I submitted poems to three publications. I was a featured poet on NOLA Femmes. I recorded my poem, “The Autopsy Room” to be presented at a women’s conference in London and I had a gig at the CAC. I will be reading at the Shadow Box on the first Sunday in May with a host of other local poets.


  4. And, of course, what is your favorite kind of pizza?

    Cheese with Basil and Tomatoes

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Kelly Harris is  BrassyBrown’s founder/editor. Funky. Forward-thinking. Wife. Stay-at-home-mom. Poet. Literacy Advocate/Teacher. Freelance Writer. Music Lover. Roots for the underdog & never lets grass grow under her feet. She is available for freelance writing, readings and public speaking. Email her at BrassyBrown@gmail.com

(photo and bio from BrassyBrown.com)

Join us on Tuesday, April 29th for an evening of pizza and poetry!

Join us on Tuesday, April 29th for an evening of pizza and poetry!

Writing Prompt # 7

Haiku is a type of poetry that is very brief and focused on images and the senses. Haiku began in thirteenth-century Japan and relies on syllabic counts. In order to form a haiku you must create three poetic lines. The first must be five syllables, the second must be seven, and the third gets to be five syllables again. So: 5 - 7 - 5. And that, friends, is a haiku.

This may sound easy, but it is more challenging than most imagine. Haiku often focuses on nature. These types of poems are simple, intense, and direct. Here are some examples from Poem Hunter; these were written by Matsuo Basho, a Japanese poet who lived and wrote in the 1600s: 

A cicada shell

A cicada shell;
it sang itself
utterly away.

Translated by R.H. Blyth 

A field of cotton

A field of cotton—
as if the moon
had flowered.

If you were counting the syllables then you will have noticed that these do not follow the 5 - 7- 5 rule. But things get lost (and found) in translation. Here are a few modern samples that were recently published by the Boston Literary Magazine



Grace Notes
- Bob Lucky

outdoor jazz concert
the whole note of the full moon
quivers in my beer



Dandy Clouds
-Craig W. Steele

dandelion seeds
float in rain-filled wheelbarrow—
clouds dot rusty sky 

And as a final example before I leave you to write your own, here is a beautiful image haiku to enjoy:

image

Now, see what you can create that is short, sweet, and to the point.

It Is Poem in Your Pocket Day!

Do you have a favorite poem? Or a poem you recently encountered (perhaps one that arrived to you on a pizza box last Friday) that you want to become more familiar with? If so, then join the fun of celebrating Poem in Your Pocket day. Today, people around the world are choosing and carrying in their pocket one special poem.




What poem will you carry with you today? Share it on social media with the hashtag #pocketpoem

Dear New Orleans, In less than an hour you can order up your own poem-pizza! Tonight from 5 until 10 pm Garage Pizza, Mid City Pizza, Pizza Delicious, and Reginelli’s Pizzeria will be putting poems written by young New Orleans writers onto pizza boxes for delivery and pick-up. A portion of the proceeds from pizzas during this time will benefit Big Class!
Make sure to share your #pizzapoetry experience online. And have a delicious weekend full of wonderful words and saucy good times.

Dear New Orleans,

In less than an hour you can order up your own poem-pizza! Tonight from 5 until 10 pm Garage Pizza, Mid City Pizza, Pizza Delicious, and Reginelli’s Pizzeria will be putting poems written by young New Orleans writers onto pizza boxes for delivery and pick-up. A portion of the proceeds from pizzas during this time will benefit Big Class!

Make sure to share your #pizzapoetry experience online. And have a delicious weekend full of wonderful words and saucy good times.

Taking a Bite out of Rhyme from New Orleans to Oakland

Tonight is Pizza Poetry Night in New Orleans and Oakland. Pizza-lovers in the Bay Area will be encouraged to share #pizzapoetry through stickers featuring “What is a Poem?” by Big Class @ Akili Academy’s own Diva Dollis. The stickers will come on pizzas from all Lane Splitters locations and Rotten City Pizza in Emeryville. They’re made possible by Chapter 510, Big Class’s fellow youth writing champions in Oakland, who share a love for pizza and the power of young voices.

Check out the sticker below, and remember tonight to share your #pizzapoetry experiences via social media!

Writing Prompt #6

Of writing poetry Robert Frost once said, “I have never started a poem yet whose end I knew. Writing a poem is discovering.” 

Many times the beginning of a poem can spring from wanting to understand a certain experience or occurrence. As investigators of our past, present, and future, we can turn to the space of artistic expression to delve into such mysteries of life. In this, we chance to hope that we might “find” ourselves.

Found poetry is a type of composition that acknowledges non-poetic texts as artistic in ideology. By searching publications created in the past and attempting to renovate them to highlight, simultaneously, similarities and differences in perspective, in language, a found poem makes “discovery” an object of interest.  

Here’s an example of a found poem composed from words found throughout several children’s picture books.  This winner in the NYTimes annual found poetry student contest found a poem originally hers through extracting language that sang to her: 

Just Pure Innocent Fun

The world is creative.
Paintings are brought to life,
a family of sunglasses dancing.
Tigers are trapped by mushrooms,
an enormous green snake waiting.
A pen has a big nose,
who forces him to write.
Baby siblings put on a show,
which transforms poor Magritte’s dog.
Under a roof,
the stuffed monkey eats dinner.
Just pure innocent fun.

—Florence of Germantown, MD, at age 13

In fact, the NYTimes contest is still open this year for young writers until April 29th. Perhaps, after composing your poem, you can submit it following these guidelines. 

Some writers use the form of found poetry to work with all kinds of found things, not just words. 

Observe this mash-up found at www.oddinkwell.wordpress.com, a site devoted to found poetry.  Here, he poet cut-up words from an old children’s magazine and decided to compose the poem on top of a found object, as well. 

How does this make you feel? What do you notice about the words this poet used? 

Any kind of text can be used to create a found poem. It’s all up to you. Here is an example from Teen Ink of a young writer using her favorite Beatles’ song to write:

There Is a Place (a found poem)

There is a place
when I feel low
when I feel blue
where I can go.

Do you know that it’s so?
There’s no sorrow
only you.

I think of you
things you do
things you’ve said
like

There is a place
In my mind
When I’m alone.

—Antoinette Brandt, teen writer, Interlachen, FL

Prompt: To write a found poem, first find a text you really love or even one that really bothers you. Next search it for language that you really love. Then, whether you’re copying and pasting or cutting and gluing, remember that writing a found poem, as perhaps in all forms, is about discovery.

You can share your found poems with us through social media. And remember to submit to the NYTimes Found Poetry Student Contest

bigclass:

On April 18 from 5:00-10:00, all delivery and pick up orders from Garage Pizza, Mid City Pizza, Pizza Delicious, and all Reginelli’s Pizzeria locations will feature poems by New Orleans writers ages 6-18.
Each of our pizza partners has generously agreed to donate a portion of their proceeds to support Big Class’s free creative writing programs for under-resourced youth.
Big Class is also excited to partner with Chapter 510, our fellow youth writing champions in Oakland, to make The Pizza Poetry Project a bridge from New Orleans to the Bay Area. Look out for our sticker on pizza boxes in Oakland at all five Lanesplitter Pizza locations and Rotten City Pizza.
Share the poem you receive and your responses using #pizzapoetry on social media!
Our official Pizza Poetry Project poster was co-designed by Big Class Open Studio student D’Andre Johnson (special thanks to Heather Muntzer, Julia Lavigne, and Carrie Chappell), inspired by his poem:
BIG FOOT AND HIS FRIEND HOMER SIMPSON

Big Foot
is black
and hairy
and 8 feet tall.
His eyes are 10 inches wide
Big Foot loves to ride ships
and play in the park.
He always gets pizza and eats donuts out
of the candy machine.
Big Foot’s friend is Homer Simpson
They all have fun, be crazy, and
EAT PIZZA

bigclass:

On April 18 from 5:00-10:00, all delivery and pick up orders from Garage Pizza, Mid City PizzaPizza Delicious, and all Reginelli’s Pizzeria locations will feature poems by New Orleans writers ages 6-18.

Each of our pizza partners has generously agreed to donate a portion of their proceeds to support Big Class’s free creative writing programs for under-resourced youth.

Big Class is also excited to partner with Chapter 510, our fellow youth writing champions in Oakland, to make The Pizza Poetry Project a bridge from New Orleans to the Bay Area. Look out for our sticker on pizza boxes in Oakland at all five Lanesplitter Pizza locations and Rotten City Pizza.

Share the poem you receive and your responses using #pizzapoetry on social media!

Our official Pizza Poetry Project poster was co-designed by Big Class Open Studio student D’Andre Johnson (special thanks to Heather Muntzer, Julia Lavigne, and Carrie Chappell), inspired by his poem:

BIG FOOT AND HIS FRIEND HOMER SIMPSON

Big Foot

is black

and hairy

and 8 feet tall.

His eyes are 10 inches wide

Big Foot loves to ride ships

and play in the park.

He always gets pizza and eats donuts out

of the candy machine.

Big Foot’s friend is Homer Simpson

They all have fun, be crazy, and

EAT PIZZA

Pizza is so pretty, and one of our partners (Mid City Pizza) proves it with their fabulous paint job. 

Pizza is so pretty, and one of our partners (Mid City Pizza) proves it with their fabulous paint job. 

Tags: pizzapoetry

Writing Prompt #5

Writers (and all types of artists) find inspiration all around them; sometimes nature is their muse, or perhaps music, memory, or art inspires their work. When a poet writes about a work of art then the poem they have created is called an ekphrastic poem. Ekphrasis is a fancy word for a simple thing, it means “writing that is about art.”

This type of writing has been around for quite a long time, since the days of ancient Greece when Homer described the famous Shield of Achilles in his epic poem The Iliad. Here is an excerpt of that early ekphrastic from Book XVIII of that text:


Then first he form’d the immense and solid shield;
Rich various artifice emblazed the field;
Its utmost verge a threefold circle bound;
A silver chain suspends the massy round;
Five ample plates the broad expanse compose,
And godlike labours on the surface rose.
here shone the image of the master-mind:
There earth, there heaven, there ocean he design’d;
The unwearied sun, the moon completely round;
The starry lights that heaven’s high convex crown’d;
The Pleiads, Hyads, with the northern team;
And great Orion’s more refulgent beam;
To which, around the axle of the sky,
The Bear, revolving, points his golden eye,
Still shines exalted on the ethereal plain,
Nor bathes his blazing forehead in the main. 


Here is an artist’s rendering of the Shield of Achilles. It was created by Angelo Monticelli, around 1820:

image

 

Many years later, in 1953, the poet W.H. Auden published his own poem about The Shield of Achilles. Click here to read the full text of that. 

Sometimes this process of writing about art goes the other way. In 1920 William Carlos Williams this poem:

The Great Figure

Among the rain
and lights
I saw the figure 5
in gold
on a red
firetruck
moving
tense
unheeded
to gong clangs
siren howls
and wheels rumbling
through the dark city.

Eight years later the artist Charles Demuth created this painting, which is a visual representation of Williams’ poem.

image
 
Prompt: Think about art that you enjoy looking at. Pick one work of art and then write a poem about it. Try to describe with words what you see in the image.