[love is more thicker than forget]

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Photos: Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Park overlooking the Aiopio Fish Pond, Honokohau Bay, Big Island, Hawaii, the site of our wedding in 2006

[love is more thicker than forget]

E.E. Cummings


love is more thicker than forget

more thinner than recall

more seldom than a wave is wet

more frequent than to fail


it is most mad and moonly

and less it shall unbe

than all the sea which only

is deeper than the sea


love is less always than to win

less never than alive

less bigger than the least begin

less littler than forgive


it is most sane and sunly

and more it cannot die

than all the sky which only

is higher than the sky

from Complete Poems 1904-1962, edited by George J. Firmage

*Write a poem that uses non-traditional syntax to convey the sense/meaning of the piece. See the following on Yoda-speak: http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/01/20/lesson-plan-teaching-star-wars-with-the-new-york-times/?_r=0.



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Photos: Roadside Huli Chicken, at Mamalahoa Highway 11, south of the turn-off for Kealakekua Bay and Captain Cook Monument, Big Island, Hawaii

Dear Letter H,

At ten and frustrated by learning cursive, I despised your ornate curlicues nearly as much as I loathed lavish F’s and fussy Z’s. Serif or sans, lower case or capital, you’re tall. You’re all grown up: an elegant giraffe, a soaring ladder; you have two steadfast feet on the ground.

How stable you are, H, and how well-designed: a cushioned chair, a fence, a railroad track. Without you, would I have a house, a home, a childhood full of horses? (Huli Chicken?) Hope?

H, how I love the noise of you, the whoosh you add to conversation. What would dash or hush or harrumph be without you? How else would I be labeled? What would my lover whisper if not your shape in my ear?

*Write an ode to a letter of the alphabet. Of course, my first attempt had to be a letter to the letter that starts my first and last name.


Revision at the Speed of Evolution


Photo: Nene, the Hawaiian Goose

I read Thomas L. Friedman’s Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution—and How It Can Renew America. I was impressed by his emphasis that we have to continue to do this work even though we will not see changes. To engage people in relatively (at least immediately) intangible activities, such as improving writing skills or changing the environment, can be daunting (even demoralizing) because it is difficult to notice evolution on a daily (or even annual) scale. Keeping this in perspective is essential. The greatest problems require the greatest faith in the solution.

*The assignment here is to look back at something you wrote a year or more ago and try to re-look at it. Does it still speak to you? Where can it be more concise/precise? Where does it need more sensory detail? How can you extend the essential metaphors?






Definition & Invention

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Photos: Flowers, Volcanoes National Monument, Big Island, Hawaii


A firm handshake with truths, fluency

in facts, effortless conversance in particular

subjects; acquaintance and knowing

grow. Comprehension burgeons

like pink blossoms from Prunus serrulata,

brilliant branches of learning.

In planning this poem I tried to utilize the images related to relationship building to show that gaining knowledge is related to our relationship with the material we are studying. I also wanted to use a bit of a turn in the end. The turn emphasizes a specific piece of information, the scientific name of the cherry tree, and the idea a specific reference to learning. What I wanted to show in this end part is the transformation that happens when we have knowledge, when we know things by heart.

Of course I know what knowledge is, but having to use the dictionary caused me to have different angles for the poem. This is a good example of how poetry can help us to make intangible concepts more tangible. In creative writing classes, I advise students to avoid abstract concepts, such as love and desire, but this is one way to handle an abstract if it means results in real transformation: a subject and a deeper subject that resonate with readers.

*The prompt was to define a word and transform it by using metaphor.