Congratulations … You’re A Finalist!

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After five years of participating in the November Poem A Day Challenge (via Writer’s Digest), I never thought I would actually get an email telling me I was a finalist in the Top 10. Yet, here I am doing a major happy dance, because IT HAPPENED!

Check it out:

Being included among this group of poets is truly an honor as I am in awe of their talent, (see full results, here). I’ve been poeming with many of these writers for years and they are some of the kindest and most supportive individuals around. The Poetic Asides community is amazing and I highly recommend it to poets looking for a place of inspiration and motivation.

In many ways, I’m still in disbelief to see my name on the list. It hardly seems real, yet I know I worked really hard for it. As many of you know, the last five years have been all about perfecting my voice in haiku. It’s a form I’m very passionate about and it’s something I practice every day. To find success with haiku makes it all the more meaningful. To some degree, it’s validation that I have indeed found my voice.

To celebrate, I’m making plans to release my chapbook, In the Current, as an ebook. Watch this space for more details in the near future.

The arrival of November 2017 means I’ll once again be participating in the PAD Challenge. However, I’ll be posting the poems for each prompt on my haiku blog, haikutree.wordpress.com.  Stop by, browse, and perhaps subscribe!

Lastly, many thanks to you, my readers. Your continued support means the world to me!

 

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c.b.w. 2017

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Building A Chapbook

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The 2016 November Poem A Day Challenge ended a little more than then a month ago, but for me the challenge continues. Rather than writing a new poem every single day, it’s now about building a chapbook to submit in the competition that follows the PAD challenge.

The goal is to submit a polished chapbook of 20 poems. During the challenge I wrote about 40 poems, which means I have whittle down my collection by half. Yikes!

I was able to eliminate 15 right off the bat. I didn’t feel they were strong enough and no amount of editing was going to save them. Sometimes a poem is just bad and there’s nothing to do but let it go!

That left me with 25 haikus to revise, edit, and organize. Haikus are often viewed as a simplistic form that doesn’t require a lot of revision, but nothing could be further from the truth! With only three lines and minimal syllable count, every word has to be perfectly chosen and placed.

The revision process really gets to the core of the strengths and weaknesses of the remaining poems. Some really start to stand out, while others begin to fade away. Five more poems were scrapped for simply being too boring or having no clear connection to others in the group.

Once I had my 20 poems, it was time to decide what order the poems will appear in the chapbook. This is more than a little overwhelming, especially since the prompts for the challenge were pretty random.

However, I feel like I have a little bit of a crutch in this department. Haiku are often organized by season, so I decided to follow that tradition. Some of my poems were obvious representations of a season, while others were more abstract. For example, a poem that mentions flowers would fall into spring or summer (depending on the flower), while a senryu that emphasizes a moment of melancholy can be filed under winter.

This strategy worked out pretty well! I ended up with fairly even groupings of poems and it just became a matter of ordering 4 to 6 poems in each group to create flow within and between each season.

The deadline for submission approaches and I’m excited to send in my entry! Good luck to every poet who participates in the competition!

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c.b.w. 2017

 

The Results Are In!

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It was a long wait, but the results for the 2015 April Poem A Day Challenge are almost complete. Even though there are a few days that have not been announced, I know where I stand thanks to a post on Poetic Asides that listed the status of all finalists a couple of weeks ago.

Overall, I did a lot better than I ever could have imagined. I went into the challenge hoping for maybe one Top Ten Finish. Considering I’ve never placed in any of the Poem A Day Challenges, I figured this was a reasonable goal. It turns out my little haikus blew that goal out of the water!

I managed to land in the Top Ten a total of six times!!

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I am beyond honored to be listed among so many amazing poets. They are all incredibly talented, creative, and inspiring writers. I’ve long enjoyed reading their work during challenges and weekly prompts alike.

Now that the challenge is over, I thought I’d share the six poems that landed in the Top Ten.

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a stone on the shore
until it hops
lakeside toad

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monsoon wind
answers the
cicada’s call

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evening gales
push through the pines
with whistling speed

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pushed by the moon
shimmering waves
rise on the shore

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I submitted three haikus for this day under one title, so I’m not sure which one was recognized.

I.
restless air
gives the trees
a reason to move

II.
a cool touch
sways the jasmine
to float on the vine

III.
a warm breath
lets the sun dance
between palm leaves

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The little star by my name means I almost won. So close, yet so far!!

snowflakes fall
until the ground
is gone

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When I started writing haiku a little over a year ago, I had no idea it would lead to so much personal fulfillment. My day is not complete until I’ve written at least one haiku! In many ways, this poetic form has helped me find my voice and it continues to challenge me to explore the world with a sharp eye.

I’m currently in the process of finalizing my chapbook entry for the 2015 November Poem A Day Challenge. Haiku is once again my chosen format (shocker, eh?), but I’ve added a little twist. Stay tuned!

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c.b.w. 2016

 

2015 Goals: October & November Status Report

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Somehow October got away from me, so it’s going to hang out with November for this round of goal assessment. It’s been two months of ups and downs, but for the most part my muse is on a roll.

1. Work towards getting The Muse published.

It’s been a rough couple of months on this front! I sent out four query packages (just shy of my goal of five) in October. Out of those four, I received one written rejection and three assumed rejections. The assumed rejections are due to the fact that I got the silent treatment. Oooo, that’s painful! All part of process, I suppose!

During November, I put all my focus on the Poem A Day Challenge on Poetic Asides (see #3 below), so I didn’t send out any additional query packages.

I intend on starting a new round of queries after the holiday craziness calms down a bit. 🙂

2. Start writing Lineage.

One the shelf for the time being thanks to poetry pursuits.

3. Submit poetry.

Once again, I participated in the Poetic Asides community via Writer’s Digest for Wednesday prompts and the 2015 November Poem A Day Challenge.

For the challenge I wrote between three and four haikus per day. The end goal of the challenge is to construct a chapbook of poems from the challenge and submit the manuscript. The winning chapbook is published!

I’m in the process of experimenting with a possible concept for my chapbook. There was a reason why I wrote a minimum of three haiku for each prompt. Now it’s time to see if my idea is going to work. Stay tuned!

Results for the 2015 April Poem A Day Challenge (via Poetic Asides onWriter’s Digest) were finally updated again. I am excited to announce that I’ve scored another Top 10 finish!! You’ll see me listed just below the halfway point. YAY!

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National Haiku Writing Month’s daily prompts via NaHaiWriMo’s Facebook Page offered up some interesting prompts. I completed both October and November prompts.

4. Don’t give up or get distracted.

After the epic failure of October’s query packages, it was tough to stay focused. However, the PAD Challenge helped keep me grounded and motivated me to stay in the game. I’m still going strong and I’m not about to give up!

5. Be flexible.

See #3.

My experiment for my PAD Chapbook entry is definitely challenging me to look at haiku from a different perspective. The concept didn’t occur to me until a week into the challenge, so I’m going to have to go back and reconfigure a few things. I have no idea if my idea is going to work, but I’m excited to give it a try. Details will be forthcoming!

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And let’s not forget the word of the year:

Persistence

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How are you doing with your 2015 goals?

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c.b.w. 2015

Festive

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I.
pumpkin glow fades
first flurries fly
Christmas lights shine

II.
the smell of pine
fills the house
snow-covered ground

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III.
first cold day
wrapped in blankets
hot cup of tea

IV.
half-price costumes
next to wreaths
and stockings

 

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Image: Camille Pissarro, Road to Versailles at Louveciennes, Wikipedia Commons

Words: haiku, c.b.w. 2015

Part of the 2015 November Poem A Day Chapbook Challenge (Poetic Asides via Writer’s Digest) for the November 5 Prompt: festive