Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Nostalgia Tour

I'm getting "News Print Poetry 2012: Volume 2 April - to -  June" ready for publication.

I really enjoy rereading the poems and remembering the news story they came from and how I wrote them.  I re-experience the emotions I felt then.

First the news stories remind me of the sorrow and joys of those three months.

I also re-experience how I felt when I wrote each one. Sometimes I felt frustrated because I couldn't get the poem to come together.  But other times I was delighted with the great poem that emerged.

I also get to discover how many typos I made.

The book accomplishes for me what I hope it will accomplish for the reader.  It creates a nostalgia tour.

You don't have to wait for the book.  You can read the poems right now at

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Summer Olympics: Opening Ceremony

The opening ceremony of the Olympic Summer Games in London ws a magnificent extravaganza celebrating all things British. It began with a pastoral tableau that morphed before our eyes into the London of the Industrial Revolution, and then morphed again into modernity. 

The ceremonies were dramatic, beautiful, and used technology to the hilt to amaze the audience. It was not just the spectacle that made it great, it was also overflowing with emotion and spiked with humor. Danny Boyle, the director, did an incredible job.

My news print poem does not do it justice. The reporter wrote a dry boring article, so I didn’t have much to work with even though I took a few liberties with the "rules" of news print poetry. (I moved one line and I added a few minor words.) I’m hoping that I’ll find a review of the opening ceremonies in tomorrow’s paper, written by a columnist instead of a reporter, that better captures the wonder of the spectacle. If so, I’ll revisit this topic with a new poem. I may even try to do a poem on this topic form scratch.

One reason that countries want to host the Olympics is to promote tourism.  The Olympic opening ceremony accomplished that, at least it did for me.  I want to visit England.  No, I want to move to England.  I was that impressed.

I wish I had been there to see it. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The August Poetry Project

Roast Beef Dinner
My first postcard poem was Simple Food
I joined the August Poetry Project.  I have a list of 31 people in addition to myself.  Every day in August, I will write a new poem, put the poem on a postcard, and send the poem to someone on that list, a different person each day.  At the end of the month, I should have sent, and received, 31 postcards just like the other people on the list.

This is a natural for me since I write a new poem everyday for the news print poetry project, that is, blog. 

I heard that some peple fancy things up a bit with pictures, so I decided I'd send my poem each day with the picture I have selected to illustrate the poem printed on the front left side of the postcard. A little more work for me because I have to make my own postcards from cardstock instead of using the ones from the post office. 

I don't mind the extra work. I like the idea of sending something special to the people on my list. Who knows? Perhaps they will become followers of my blogs, or at least readers.  Perhaps they will buy one of my books.

I'm really excited to read the poems I will get. I'll keep you posted about how this works out.  A few hundred people are doing it; there are several lists of names. Maybe you will want to do it next year.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Colorado Movie Massacre: Vicarious Violence Seeps into Reality

Colorado Movie Massacre: Greiving

A shooting rampage.
A demonic gunman.

The new Batman movie.
A massacre inside the movie theater.

People killed.
People injured.

We live in a country that promotes violence.
What kind of people are we becoming?

Families grieving.
A stunned nation.

Violence in America.
© 2012 Catherine Giordano

Usually the poems go on, but today I did a bonus poem.  I decided to post it on this blog because I wanted to do an extensive comment.

(There's another poem about the Colorado shootings at )

One of the things I like about my daily poems based on newspaper stories, is giving my opinion on the topic of the story or poem.  Today, I was caught up by these words in the story: “We live in a country that promotes violence. What kind of people are we becoming?

I’ve heard that “The Dark Knight Rises” is an excessively violent movie. Our culture celebrates violence—movies, video-games, World Wide Wrestling, and so on.

It’s vicarious violence.  Nobody really gets hurt, right?  Right, until they do.  If we are suffused with violence, especially young people, eventually that violence is going to seep out into reality.

Don’t buy into the violence culture.  We literally buy into it when we spend our money on it.  If we want to stop the violence, it will take an act of collective will.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Picture Perfect

I started to add pictures to the poems about a month ago.  It has turned out to be part of the fun of
doing the poems.

I often spend a lot of time looking for just the right picture, sometimes more time than I spend writing the poem itself.  I want a picture that complements the poem, comments on the poem, reinforces the "message" of the poem, and enhances the experience of the poem.  It's too bad I won't be able to use these picture in my book.

When I'm writing a poem sometimes I find the story I want right away and sometimes the poem falls into place easily.  Other times, I have to go through the paper two and three time ssearching for a story to use and many times I put a lot of effort into crafting the poem.  It's the same with the pictures. Sometimes I find the "right" picture immediately, sometimes I'll do a lot of searches to get just the "right" picture.

Most of the time, I don't know what kind of picture I want when I start searching.  But as soon as I see it, I know it is "the one."

Saturday, July 21, 2012

It's a Learning Experience

Evryday I learn something because of News Print Poetry. 

I have to read the newspaper pretty thougroughly each day, so the project keeps me informed on current events.

I also learn a lot about the technique of poetry.  I get a chance to experiment with different techniques.  For instance, yesterday when I did the poem about New Orleans l decided to play around with enjambment.  I ended up with a lot of my lines ending with the word "city." Since the poem was about a city, I liked how that worked out.

And, pretty much everday, I learn that less-is-more in poetry.  I write the poem and then I start eliminating words, lines, and even whole stanzas.  The poem is always better for it.

Finally, I learn that the key to improving my skill is to write and write and write. I have made the committment to write a poem everyday.  The newspaper gives me fresh inspiration everyday.

As the old joke goes... How do I get to Carnegie Hall? Practice! Practice! Practice!  

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

An Amazing Poet Writes an Amazing Review for News Print Poery

Yesterday was an exciting day.  Al Rocheleau, a widely published poet and the author of On Writing Poetry: for poets made as well as born, wrote a very complimentary review of my book, News Print Poetry.

You can read it on  Just click on "customer reviews."

The review is beautiful in the way that it puts my work into context.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

An Interesting Spiral and Irony Too

I wrote a poem on July 12th ("America is not a Christian Nation") based on a column in the Orlando Sentinel decrying how evil Americans are due to the separation of church and state. In the comment that follows each of my news print poems, I refuted that claim.  I liked that comment so much that I used it as a basis for a "Letter to the Editor."  Today, my letter was printed in the Orlando Sentinel, and I used that letter to create today's poem.

Next, we add irony to the mix.  The picture I used with the July 12th poem was all about positive values--it was used to refute the poem.  It would have made a great picture for today's poem.  However, since I didn't want to use the same picture twice, I went looking for a patriotic picture.  I selected one showing the Statue of Liberty on the Fourth of July.  Then I noticed the url and began laughing.  The url was  "Ask an Atheist"--How cool is that?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Taking Liberties

In the first quarter of 2012 I was very strict about following my self-imposed rules.  As time went by, I got more and more lax.

Sometimes the headling is dull-as-dishwater.  I want a snappy title for the poem so instead of taking the title from the headline (as my rules say I should), I use the first line of the poem or I add a word or two.  I want the title to entice the viewer into becoming a reader.

True confessions:  I occasionally place a line out of it's original order.  And I occasionally add a word here or there. 

I still follow the rules about 95% (instead of 99.9%), but I have decided it is more important to have a good poem (or a reasonably good poem) than to have strict adherence to the rules.

Sometimes I can follow the rules 100% and produce a great poem.  Check out "Disco Nostalgia."  It was chosed by "Poetry Breakfast" as the poem of the day on July 8th, chosen from hundreds of other submissions.  It was chosen because it was a good poem not because I followed the rules 100%, but because it was a good poem.  Here's the link for "Disco Nostalgia."

(Sometimes when I am late with a poem, I use TBD as a placeholder for the date.  However, that doesn't allow the eventual real title to be in the url, so I'm not going to do that anymore." Disco Nostaglia is the poem for May 20, 2012. )