Poetry Friday – Mini Sealey Challenge and Secrets

Today is Poetry Friday, and Mary Lee Hahn has the roundup with a GoGo’s song, Nancy Kuhl, Sandra Cisneros, secrets and more.


I have enjoyed taking part in The Stafford Challenge, writing a poem a day. A nice benefit of this challenge is I have been reading more poetry as well. This week it felt a little like August, as if I was in my own Mini Sealey Challenge. I’ve read William Stafford (reading a poem or two a day), Ada Limón, Margaret Gibson Simon, and Karah-Jo Procak, a young adult woman who pours her heart out in this, her first book.

Have you read the poem “Sacred Objects” by Ada Limon? Here is a video of her reading this powerful poem. I chose this one today because I love it, and, also in honor of the Inklings, for the phrase “in this secret shadowed place.”

Secret
In holds of shame,
this is true, an unshared
secret binds a heart,
shadowed and pinched in a
place of cruel captivity.


Has reading more poetry helped my writing? I definitely get ideas; that’s good. I hope I will learn to write better poetry during this year-long experiment writing a daily poem, but I’m not counting on it. I’ll keep writing nonetheless, like Stafford said, “Lower your standards and keep writing.”

17 thoughts on “Poetry Friday – Mini Sealey Challenge and Secrets

  1. Oops. I do tend to have perfectionist tendencies, with my writing. Perhaps that’s why I love poetry months so much. Because it’s more a diary than perfection. And there you find the joy. Thanks for the reminder, Denise.

  2. oooooh, great quote from Stafford. Just do it…just get the words out. That’s what needs to happen.

  3. I love that advice: “Lower your standards and keep writing.” It’s a good way of getting past the inner critic that sometimes stops us before we start.

    Your poem resonates with truth, which is so powerful because of the short form and spare language. Thanks for sharing it!

  4. “Lower your standards and keep writing” is great advice. I needed to hear that today. Your secrets poem rings true, Denise. Nicely done.

  5. I want you to keep going, too, Denise, reading your words, like “In holds of shame” make me know you are a poet, no matter your own contradiction. Limon’s words, always thought-filled of our lives, right? Thanks!

  6. Wonderful poem, Denise! It captures the darker side of secrets.

    I, too, love the idea of lowering standards – especially for first drafts. Sometimes the thought of imperfection keeps me from writing, and that is probably the worst outcome.

  7. Thanks for sharing the video – her poem was a real journey through emotions. And yours, too, spoke to me with its message about secrets. Thank you.

  8. Lol– Denise, this is the BEST advice: Lower your standards! Suddenly the weight is off. Love it! Thanks!

  9. Love it! I read 3 poems (or more) every morning to start my writing session. Then I write a daily haiku. It’s my favorite practice. I love that you did a mini-Sealey challenge along with your Stafford challenge.

  10. Good for you, diving into a poem a day! I don’t know anyone who looks back and wishes they hadn’t done that. “Lower your standards” could also be phrased as “Free yourself” and keep writing. Thank you, Denise, for my most lovely hand-painted post card. I’ll be framing it!

  11. Enjoyed the Ada Limon video and reading your poem, Denise. Powerful stuff. Good luck with your writing challenge this year!

  12. Limon’s reading was so powerful and you’ve captured something in her poem in yours. That some seek to shame others and what shame does. I’d love to read more of her work.

  13. The combination of “shadowed and pinched” is powerful in your secrets poem. I am always reminding myself that it’s process not product that is so important! Happy reading and writing!

  14. Lovely post, Denise. I think you can’t help but grow as a writer through writing a poem a day for a year! It might not be smooth, noticeable every day growth, but I bet there’s a leap from one end of the year to the other, when you look back. And wow on your poem. “In holds of shame” made me think of the vast cargo holds of the Great Lakes freighter I was on in 2019. Enormous holds. And shame has that vast capacity for 80,000 tons of sorrow and regret…wow.

  15. “Lower your standards and keep writing” is excellent advice. We all need to remind ourselves of that sometimes. What an ambitious project, Rose! Wishing you a poetic year. ❤️

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