Poetry Friday – Shortened Sealy Challenge

Thanks to Marcie’s post last week about the Sealy Challenge, I decided to read some poetry books in August. This is my first time trying the Sealy Challenge, and I already know I won’t make 31 books. That’s okay. I have a small stack of books on my shelf (a novel in verse, poetry collections and anthologies, and children’s books that could be considered poetry :). I also have a few on my Kindle, so here I go.

This week I’ve read just three books: Call Us What We Carry (Amada Gorman), Dictionary for a Better World (Irene Latham and Charles Waters–just a quick read this week — I’ve also committed to revisiting this one daily in my reading and writing for August and September), and Life Songs: My Personal Poetry Anthology (Denise Krebs).

Here is a bit about each of this week’s books.

I love so much about this book by Amanda Gorman. Wow. It is at once mournful and grieving over injustice and the losses from Covid-19, and yet it is still so hope-filled and gracious. One of my favorite poems is called “What We Carry.” That line: “What is marred is still marvelous.” Wow! It reminds me of so many clever and perfect phrases and lines in this book. And what she does with the two meanings of the word ark as the poem progresses is beautiful. You should really read it if you haven’t. I shared one poem with my husband, and now he is reading the whole book, too.

I am excited to read this book slowly over the next two months with Kim Johnson, looking at a word a day. However, this week I read all the poems through in one sitting. It is full of so many new forms and topics by Charles Waters and our own Irene Latham. I loved this shadorma poem–staying open in the midst of so much that could cause despair. That’s what I need now.

This was an anthology of the poems I loved and those I wrote. This was a project I did annually with my junior high students a few years ago. It is a collection of my poems from that chapter in my life, and it was fun to revisit it this week. I wrote that sonnet in 1975.

This week’s Poetry Friday Roundup can be found at Molly Hogan’s Nix the Comfort Zone blog. Be sure to check out the baseball poems she wrote!

11 thoughts on “Poetry Friday – Shortened Sealy Challenge

  1. Thanks for sharing what you’re reading with us. I like “What is marred is still marvelous” too. I don’t have the nerve to look at my old high school poems, but I don’t think they’re as good as your sonnet!

  2. Denise, thank you for sharing your reading! I’m so glad DICTIONARY is on your list and I look forward to hearing your and Kim’s deeper experience with it. Meanwhile, wow, a sonnet from 1975! I love that you’ve included younger-poet-you in the #sealeychallenge. That kind of study is valuable on many levels. Wonderful!

  3. Love your acknowledged “shortened Sealey Challenge” – just the simple partnering with another poet to read together one poem a day is inspiring! Time for me to go get organized! It’s only Aug 5th!

  4. Hi, Denise. Thanks for including The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary in your Sealey reads! I’m so intrigued by your Personal Poetry Anthology. I tend to tape favorite poems in my bullet journal, but don’t always go back to them. I love the idea of making a beautiful book.

  5. I love how you’ve adapted the challenge to meet your wants/needs and now we all get to share in the benefits! I’m a huge fan of “Dictionary for a Better World” and hope you’ll be sharing some of your future explanation here. I also love that you’ve created an anthology of your own work and that you’re revisiting it. Finally, I have the Amanda Gorman book on my shelf but I’ve neglected it. Now, you’ve prompted me to pull it off, open it up, and dive in. Thanks!

  6. Thanks for sharing your reading shelf and for these wonderful poems. I especially love the grime/Earth in our hand image. Enjoy …

  7. I, too, am modifying my Sealey Challenge this year. I’m including partial reads of longer books and calling it a win that I’m digging into the books that are on my shelves and have been neglected! I love that you are rereading your own collection, and I LOVE your sonnet. So true.

  8. Yeah, the full-on Sealey Challenge is a lot. I’m working on “read [some of] a poetry book deliberately every day,” which funnily enough has not been a standard practice for me. Thanks for sharing your stack, especially your OWN anthology and sonnet. I love HS junior you!

  9. Denise, I love that you kept your 1975 typed poem. Good luck with your challenges and keep on enjoying that beautiful little baby.

  10. Your Sealey stack is inspiring, Denise. I, too, that you are pondering the words of your adolescence. 🙂

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