People, Poetry Friday, writing

Messy – Poetry Friday

Shelf of poetry books
“… untidy on the shelf”


Poetry is messy
all these snippets of poems
lying around
all these lines that keep asking
to be changed or moved
into another poem altogether
how do I keep track?

And look at these books
—mere brochures
with spines too skinny for titles
slight, yet too weighty
for the garbage
lovely to hold
but untidy on the shelf

and as impossible to catalogue
—with their love, humor peace,
protest, outrage and grace—
as the motley bunch of us
at our last reading.

© 2013 by Violet Nesdoly


At the beginning of the year, do you find yourself with the urge to organize—even your poetry? And how impossible is that!


Welcome to Poetry Friday, the impossible-to-catalogue weekly collection of poetry and poetry-related blog posts for readers of all ages!

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34 thoughts on “Messy – Poetry Friday”

  1. Here’s a bit about the early entries:

    – Joy Acey posts a poem about being angry and a writing challenge. Find it after midnight at

    – April Halprin Wayland brings us the Wednesday Writing Workout from She says: “It’s part of our new feature, Wednesday Writing Workout and includes a shout-out to award-winning writer Joanne Rocklin and her book that features an orange tree as a character, a poetry prompt, and an original poem about–what else?–trees. 

    As I say at the beginning, My mother says that everyone remembers the trees of their childhood.”
    Her post is here:


  2. Violet, I am organizing! I’ve been corralling those snippets and lines that dot my desk, filing, tossing. It feels great! Your poem carries such truth. Poetry is messy. Drafts need to be rearranged, cut and pasted, snipped and shaped. There’s always a mess in the wake of a poem. Some of it is due to the books, poems and articles that collect because they speak to us. Just remember that moment when the poem feels right.

    My Musings post will be published in tomorrow’s wee hours. I’ve highlighted MacLachland’s Word After Word After Word.


  3. Hi Violet! What a wonderful poem you have for today. Somehow I think poetry has its own way of rearranging and organizing itself, guiding the poet’s mind and hands. I need to do some shelf organizing myself! I barely have time to do it! Anyway, hope you have a lovely day. Thanks for hosting today’s Poetry Friday. =)


  4. What a great poem!

    I’m brightening up an otherwise grey, overcast, rainy week with Mary Oliver’s “Poppies.”

    Thanks so much for hosting this week!


  5. Good morning, Violet! What a wonderful, observant poem. I think you just described my desk/life. I don’t have a physical journal or notebook (I use an online journal) so the beginning snippets are on scraps all over my desk. I hate the mess, but can’t keep it all organized! Need a new system for the new year. 🙂

    I’m in today with a jazzy little poem called “The Rabbit Band” that I wrote for my LIZARD LOU collection, plus some ramblings on how the poem came to be. Thanks for hosting!


  6. Violet, I needed this reminder that messy is okay, so thank you! My book shelves are organized emotionally — books that make me cry here, books that save my life here, books that take me back to childhood here — which makes it difficult for others to find what they are looking for at my house. Yet it makes total sense to me! Thank you so much for hosting.


  7. And I thought I was the only one who gets annoyed at the messiness of poetry. I solved my problem with the visual clutter of poetry volumes by investing in bookshelves with doors on them. I never have come up with a way to organize poetry, except alphabetically by poet’s name. But then, there are the anthologies to mess that up.


    1. Now that’s a great idea–bookshelves with doors. I’m with you in organizing mostly alphabetically. But then there are the collections, as you say, and the journals etc.. My own poems are the worst though. Must get a system this year!


      1. I keep down-sizing, hoping that will help me know where everything is (a place for everything, and everything in its place is easier when there’s less of everything)–but still, I’m trying to work out the system. !!


  8. Thank you for hosting Poetry Friday, Violet! I agree, poetry is messy and so is life. It’s wonderful to have an outlet for our mess, though. Now if I could only keep my bookshelves, kitchen, living room…a little more organize. Thanks for sharing.


  9. Thanks so much, everyone, for joining in today! I really enjoyed hosting and reading everyone’s contributions. I hope no one got left out (added a few links here and there but most of you put in your own)!


  10. I’m back to read the roundup now that I have time on Saturday morning. I love your poem. It’s true – poetry is impossible to categorize neatly. That’s why it’s so wonderful! Thanks for hosting.


  11. Violet, I so enjoyed my visit to your poetry site today. Such wonderful treasures you store here for us to feast on.

    I liked this piece about the mess of poetry. Never thought of it that way, but that’s how I feel about all the snippets and bits of my writings in general. I keep hoping for a better way to organize it all, but in the meantime I’m glad that now, thanks to your vision. even messes can have a poetic flair.


    1. Why thank you, Brenda! Once you’ve written for a while, it’s hard not to gather a mess! It’s one of the hazards of the job I think. Throw out something you’ve written and sooner more likely than later, you’ll think back…I wrote something about that but now where is it?! We muddle ahead despite the mess, don’t we? 😉


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