Dawson Trail Tanka (2)


As I mentioned in part 1, Dawson Trail, in Dawson Creek, B.C. is lined with granite boulders that have tanka engraved on them. These poems celebrate the seasons, flowers, birds, and critters of the area. If you missed part 1, it’s HERE.

Dawson Trail Tanka

One of the Dawson Trail tanka in its natural setting


Here are four more poems you’ll find on the Dawson Trail. If they leave you shivering, just know that winter is long in these northern parts. It’s no wonder the cold gets an extra poem or two.

maple keys covered with snowWind sculpts drifts across

Fawn in grass

Fawn, seen on one of our drives in the Dawson Creek area. (Mother and Fawn #1 were too quick for my camera.)

Bees small deities


sunrise through branchesMorning drive to work...


Snowy path

Dawson Trail in winter

Frenzied bare branches...


As I mentioned in the last tanka post, I don’t know who wrote these poems. Will give credit if/when I discover their author.

Poetry authored by Donna Kane, Marilyn Belak, Megan Kane, and Rebekah Rempel.  A big thanks to reader Donna Smith who unearthed this document with the information about the poetry stones and their authors (p. 17).

Poetry Friday LogoThis post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted this week by MsMac at Check It Out.




Talking with a stranger


Happy National Poetry Month.

It’s been over a month since I’ve posted here. My time away has had its events.

Mid-February I went to northern B.C. to be with my daughter and help with the grandkids around the birth of her baby. Their lovely baby girl arrived on February 24th.

Then on March 2nd (still at my daughter’s) I had a crazy fall on some stairs and fractured my hip. Surgery the next day put everything right (I hope) though I’m still walking with a cane and not back to normal mobility (of course I’m back at home now). That’s life for you!

Again this April I’m attempting to write a poem a day. I’m using a grab-bag of prompts to help with this: Robert Brewer’s Poetic Asides blog, Adele Kenny blog The Music In It, Martha Silano’s book The Daily Poet: Day-By-Day Prompts For Your Writing Practice and others.

Today’s poem was prompted by the Poets and Writers weekly email “The Time Is Now.” This prompt is actually for creative nonfiction but who says one can’t use it for a poem?

Children are often reminded not to talk to strangers, and for good reason. As we get older, communication with strangers isn’t as dangerous, but it can still be uncomfortable. This week, think about a conversation you have had with a stranger in an awkward situation. Who started it? Did you feel safe? After talking, did you feel like you knew this person any better? Did you ever see this person again, and if not, would you want to?

On reading that prompt I immediately thought of my experience this past Monday when, after attending my physiotherapy appointment, I decided to sit and wait for hubby on the bench outside the building.

park bench

Talking with a stranger

Appointment done, the sun is out
the day is warm, the bench is long
the lady sitting there is mute
hair turbaned, leather purse is gold
she wears sunglasses and a coat.

I say, “It’s nice.” She says, “It is.”
I find my notebook and my pen.
She looks asleep but murmurs then,
“How warm is it to get today?
“Twelve or fifteen is what they say.”

Our little talk has loosed her tongue
for now the muttering has begun
not to me or anyone
within our view converses she
with ones unseen

earnestly, disgustedly
with vehemence
and sarcasm, disdainfully
while I, relieved of chat polite
can write and write and write and write.

Violet Nesdoly © 2014 (All rights reserved)


Poetry Friday LogoThis post is part of Poetry Friday, hosted today by Amy at The Poem Farm – a farm where poetry flourishes!


Summer Plans


Balloons floating in air

Summer Plans

My mom has signed me up for summer camp.
That’s twenty-one meals in the dining hall.
It’s shivering in a towel that’s always damp
and taking dares to scale the climbing wall.
It’s harnessing to be the zip line champ
contests of shooting with the basketball.
Can’t wait for campfire and those yummy s’mores
—of course we earn them all with cabin chores.

This summer I’m supposed to learn to swim
I’m scared of getting water up my nose.
Styrofoam kick-board helps me float and skim
remember, breathe and stroke and kick your toes.
The water in my eyes is nothing grim
it’s just two weeks of crawl and backstroke woes.
I’m dreading Friday when I take my test
(I’ll simply die if I don’t earn my crest!)

This holiday we’re traveling by car
we’ll even spend a night in a motel.
By daddy’s map it doesn’t look too far,
but hours of driving make me want to yell.
My sister and I get into a war
I tease her and she answers that I smell.
We eat some burgers and it’s on and on…
Such a long drive isn’t a lot of fun!

This summer I’m not going anywhere
I’ll jump the trampoline and read a book.
My dad said he might take me to the fair,
Mom said she’d prob’ly teach me how to cook.
I’ll treehouse sleep at night high in the air
at noon fish in the creek with worms and hook
on hot days water-park in my own yard
I’ll fill my days with fun – it won’t be hard!

© 2010 by Violet Nesdoly


Though school has been over for about a month in the US, here in Canada, students are only done in the next week or so. I haven’t been in school as a student or teacher for many a year but still some internal clock of mine keeps track of school and no-more-school.

“Summer Plans” was inspired by a 2010 ottava rima prompt and challenge on Miss Rumphius Effect’s blog.  I  posted it in her comments there and am bringing it out again today to celebrate the end of school for Canadian kids, and the beginning of summer for everyone!

poetry+friday+button+-+fulllThis poem is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Carol at Carol’s Cornerwhere you’ll find links to lots more poetry and poetry-related goodies.

Black Friday wish list for poets


It’s Black Friday. For me here in Canada, that term was meaningless for most of my life. When I first heard it, I thought it had something to do with a particularly unlucky Friday the 13th or something.

Of course those innocent days are gone. Black Friday disease has crossed the border, and even though we celebrated Thanksgiving weeks ago, with the U.S. Black Friday sales competing for our dollars, local merchants have got on the Black Friday bandwagon with a vengeance.

So, with the theme of shopping in mind, I’m putting up a list of books that you or your fellow poets might appreciate in your stockings. Keep your eyes peeled for  these in your Black Friday (and Saturday and Sunday…) shopping. (Though many of these are a few years old, they’re as valuable as ever. I know. I own every one of them and refer to them often.)

Writing The Natural Way - RicoWhatever you write you’ve probably heard of clustering (also called webbing, word webs, semantic mapping, mind mapping etc.). Gabriele Rico, a pioneer of this method of generating ideas,  begins by explaining how to cluster and how it works in terms of brain physiology. She shows how clustering helps writers access unexpected personal material and suggests lots of exercises. The book includes chapters on image, voice, creating tension, and revision. The many quotes about creativity and the writing life (found in the wide margins of this 9 x 71/2-inch paperback) are another feature that make it a treasure.

  • Creating Poetry by John Drury, 1991 (hardback – re-released in paperback, 2006).Creating Poetry - John Drury

You’ll never run out of poem-writing ideas if you have this book. The great thing is that it also doubles as a tutor. The introduction explains, “This book is organized sequentially according to the process of writing – or rather the process of learning to write, which amounts to the same thing – beginning with “Preparing” and ending with “Finishing.”

Poets Companion - Addonizio & LauxA great little book that combines instruction with inspiration and prompts. It’s available in Kindle format too.

In this value-packed volume, Mary Oliver talks about how to court the muse, read poems, and make the most of the science of sound. Maybe ‘science’ is too technical a word, but I did learn a lot about how the different sounds of our letters affect us and help or hinder our poems. What amazed me was to see how much technique and thought (she talks about the line, forms, diction, tone, voice, imagery, and revision) goes into Oliver’s poems—poems that come out sounding as effortless as breathing.

Poetry Home Repair Manual - Ted KooserThe U.S. Poet Laureate from 2004 – 2006 authored this slim paperback. If Kooser’s poetry is noted for anything it is accessibility and this book is his manifesto on why poetry should be accessible and how to write understandable poems.

He discusses topics like what it means to be a poet, how to entice readers to read your poems, how to avoid distracting the reader with the physical look of your work, using figures of speech and more. Along with wisdom gained from years of writing, Kooser dispenses encouragement, inspiration and just plain common sense. You’ll also enjoy the poetry sprinkled throughout this practical and understandable manual.

From “ABECEDARIUM” to “WORD” this handy book will help you stay in the know about almost any poetic term literature can throw at you. Three hundred fifty three pages of entries – which include pronunciations, definitions and over 250 illustrative poems from Homer to the present – are supplemented with an index of poets and poems, and an index of terms. This handy reference is as good for finding inspiration as boning up on the poetic terms you’re curious about or have never heard before.

Art & Craft of Poetry - BugejaThis excellent instruction-cum-reference book is written by a seasoned college teacher and published poet. In twenty-one chapters Bugeja talks about the entire poetic process from getting ideas to getting published. Each chapter comes complete with writing instruction, its own mini-anthology and a set of exercises for three levels (so you can make three passes through the book). You will not go through this book even once without amassing a fat portfolio of poems and a well-rounded understanding of poetry from traditional to contemporary. This oldie but goodie is now also available in a Kindle edition.

If you’re a poet who wants to master traditional forms this book, written by a seasoned poet, author, editor and teacher, is for you. In it you’ll find chapters explaining meter, the quatrain, couplet, sonnet, tercet, blank verse, French forms and more.

Baer explains things in a step-by-step way and uses classic and contemporary poetry to illustrate his points. He includes short practice exercises as well as twelve formal assignments. The appendix contains several essays about the history of poetry (including one about the formalist movement), a nine-page section of quotes about meter, form and rhyme, and a helpful index. This book is a must-have for poets in love with rhythm and rhyme.

Poet Power - WilliamsIf you want ideas about what to do with your poems besides warehousing them in file drawers, this is the book for you. Williams addresses subjects like the business of poetry, secrets of publishable poems, how to submit to magazines, self-publish, organize readings, publicize, and then sell your books. Williams’ enthusiasm and motivational writing style may well transform you from a poetic wallflower to a poetry entrepreneur who becomes a mover and shaker in your literary circle.

Happy Shopping!

(Updated from an article originally published in September 2009  as “Assigned Reading for Poets”  in Poets Classroom at utmostchristianwriters.com).

This post is submitted to Poetry Friday, hosted today by the multi-talented Mary Lee at A Year of Reading.