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Collaborative Poetry Session, Led by Tammis Coffin (TC)

Last updated on August 1, 2020

July 28, 2020 at Hopkins Pond, Maine

with Mary Ann McGarry (MAM)

Tammis is a friend, poetry coach, nature guide, and museum educator, Tammisco@gmail.com.

Notes on session:  Tammis led the poetry session, Mary Ann followed her instructions.

Can you spot the hidden, camouflaged creature?

1. Found Word Group Poem

Listen to a poem together, jot down what jumps out, share bits aloud, alternating voices. Optional – arrange bits in a new way. A starting poem Tammis likes is “Sleeping in a Forest” by Mary Oliver. We used a draft poem on which Tammis is working on. 

EXCERPT: TC

   I am rasp of wind on granite

   I am light spilling out of iris

   I am sea cobble sliding naked under clear wave.

EXCERPT:  MAM

Royal, gold, granite- seamed,

Translucent wind on wave,

Under Rasp of light sliding

Naked fresh spilling out.

2. Glimpses Poem

Make a note about something recently photographed – or you wished you had photographed. Keep it simple. Share aloud. Optional – read again, mixing your lines with each other.

GLIMPSES: TC

Pickerel weed posing on granite.

Blueberries going blue. Sky going gold.

Tammis Coffin, July 2020

GLIMPSES: MAM

Frog peeking out, persisting,

Camouflaged and sandwiched between two rocks.

Watching, waiting, passing up on a human who is too big to snag,

That tongue will swipe left and right and find something tinder,

Maybe after the predicted thunder, rumbling storm.

3. Weave Poem

Share a brief story of a recent happening that you would like to remember. Loosely tuck bits of your story between your glimpses, editing lightly as you go. 

WEAVE:  TC

Pickerel weed posing.

Molly our neighbor texting

Bad storm coming. Tornado warning.

Blueberries going blue. Sky going gold

Are you prepared? Call if you need help.

Oliver splashing & smiling.

Want to see me jump again?

WEAVE:  MAM

Animal spirits sending messages,

Frog peeking out, persisting,

Loon surfacing, showing off,

Who is camouflaged and sandwiched between two rocks?

Who is swimming, just below the surface in shallow water?

Who Is brown and green with a mottled pattern?

Who is black and white with a checkered pattern?

Do both have frolicking, flapping webbed feet?

4. NOTICE WHAT YOU NOTICE

Let the eye settle on something outside – whatever grabs you first. One thing. What is it? What was it about it that caught your eye? Stay with it, moving closer, describing how you see what you see. Remain true to the first thought.

TC:

Sunlit leaves – huckleberry

   yellow green

      lift me.

Light green leaves

    touch the far colors –

        the dark green shore, the blue hill.

Attending, lifting, touching.

The leaves hold light.

MAM:

Movement of the shrubs in the wind,

More motion on the fringe,

Kind of hidden,

An expanding and contracting window,

A dynamic, changing space,

Revealing glimpses of the gray, blue, lake beyond,

An invitation, a beckoning, a secretness.

Reflections about the process:  MA

I have a glorious memory of this social, collaborative writing process when Tammis and I were so in the moment. Our collective poetry encapsulates our experiences and observations of a place we both hold dear- a lake in Maine. We sat on the screen porch of my family’s rustic, small cabin, located just feet from the lake. Now, thank to Tammis, I have one more meaningful memory to add to my associations of this special place.

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