Are You A Poet?


Do you want to be?  I’m inviting all of you to collaborate with me!  Send me your words–-and accompanying images, if you’d like-–to be included in TEDxYouth@TheWoodlands on January 7th.

It’s as easy as fill-in-the-blank.  Just complete these two phrases: “I imagine a world where __________.  This is how I would create it: _________.”

For example, you might say, I imagine a world where everyone who might be helped by an assistance animal would have one. This is how I would create it: devise a system which networks dog rescues, foster families, trainers and veterinarians with healthcare providers and the people in need, so that rescued dogs well-suited for certain services could receive housing and training by volunteers, and then be matched–-through a nation-wide system similar to the bone marrow donor database–-with human companions they would serve.

Or you could just submit the first half of the fill-in-the-blank if you’re feeling short on time or inspiration.  “I imagine a world where __________.”  No child is hungry.  Every student has the books and supplies she needs.  No senior citizen goes without medication in order to make ends meet.  Coffee and chocolate are free.  Dogs count as passengers in the carpool lane.

Come on, let your imagination fly high and wild–create a “perfect” aspect of the world as only you envision it!  Then tell me all about it.  Email your responses to me, Denise Lanier, via moonspeak(at)comcast(DOT)net by January 3rd.  Become a part of something that we create together for TEDxYouth@TheWoodlands and for this New Year upon us in 2012.  Send your wishes out into the universe, gift-wrapped with our collective good will, ringing with our unique voices.  You never know what will happen.  At the very least, you’ll have made a shiny new piece of dream-woven art.

If you’re a new reader here and wondering what in the blue blazes a klepto-collaborative poem is, check out this one from TEDxWomen.   A klepto-collaborative poem, in essence, is a found poem.  The ones I made for TEDxTheWoodlands and TEDxWomen were crafted from the words and phrases of many speakers, reshuffled and reshaped into a new mosaic of collected voices.

You can also use this technique with a single piece of prose or poetry, or several of one author’s/poet’s works.  Which is what I did for “Listen, There Is No Mercy,” created from the poems of Sylvia Plath.   An excerpt of this poem can be found on Wicked Good Life, the blog of one of my favorite authors and a huge poetry lover, Ann Leary.  (By the way, if you’re not reading her blog–and her books!–you’re really missing out on some fine, witty writing & stellar, hilarious stories.)

I hope to begin receiving your words and images any moment now.   I’m eager to see and hear your offerings.   I’m excited to craft our word-and-vision mosaic feast of a poem for TEDxYouth@TheWoodlands.   The event is already sold out but you can still get your name on the waiting list:  if I were you and I didn’t have one of those golden tickets, that’s exactly what I’d do.   Seriously, check out this list of speakers and performers.

Also, Luke will be there, and who wants to miss an opportunity to visit with the most famous (if not the only) Poetry Dog on the planet?  In addition to his co-facilitation of many a poetry workshop, his roles as the subject of visual art and characters in narrative art, Luke was mentioned in more than one of the TED Talks at TEDxTheWoodlands this past September.   I’m telling you, he gets around, and not just because he has four really fleet feet.  He’s an uber-dog of inspiration, affection-giving, tennis-ball-fetching, good cheer-bringing; a prime representative of assistance animals performing invaluable services the world over.   Luke’s the ”it” dog of poetry *and* of TED.  Much like Zooey Deschanel’s the “it” girl of 2011′s new offerings of situation comedy.

Now, go, ponder the world as you desire it to be!  I need you as my co-conspirators and poetry partners in “crime.”  Email me with your wondrous offerings by January 3rd.

*** Oh, and please make sure you have the proper rights to use any images you send.

About deniselanier

I am an educator & advocate, poet & performer, speaker & storyteller who believes in the power of narrative to transform & transport, create & connect. I was the shy, awkward girl who didn’t fit in, was often bullied, happiest with my nose in books, whose best friend was my dog. After being cast in a play in my teens I discovered a way to be comfortable in my own skin, bringing to life the words of a character. Costumed in make-believe I dared to be more of myself than I ever allowed off-stage; I claimed my voice. I spent most of my adult life teaching others to raise their own voices, through acting, creative writing, even slam poetry. When the diagnosis of MS intervened in my 30s I had to let go of acting, which is why most of my storytelling is now expressed through page and less “formal” interactions with stages. I devote much of my time to kids, teaching them to use words & imagination, developing authentic, resilient, remarkable voices. I endeavor to grow in my students the belief, the truth, that we are all artists & the change-makers in our own stories. My best friend still has fur & four legs. My mobility assistance dog is my constant companion, teaching assistant & muse to many. Luke is also chief partner in crime; I’m getting a reputation for stealing things. As inventor of a poetic form called klepto-collaborative, I pickpocket words & phrases from others, reshuffling & reshaping the puzzle-pieces into a colorful, storied mosaic of diverse voices. Taking something from every speaker at a conference in real-time, I craft a collective poem that highlights the messages of the day, repurposing ideas & refashioning stories, weaving them together in a manner that never loses the originality & spirit of the speakers’ themes. So while I may be a word thief, I figure being eco-conscious makes up for it. I’m available to facilitate wordy goodness in your community, school, workplace or play space. I like to think I have way of transforming annual meetings into something interactive, cooperative & memorable. Through my klepto-collaborative poems I aim to delight, to ignite conversation, and maybe even incite innovation. I earned an MFA from Florida International University, where I edited Gulf Stream Literary Magazine. I’m the founder of WordPlay, a poetry-in-the-schools project inspired by Dave Eggers. My poetry has appeared in Bloomsbury Review, Cake, Luna, Best American Poetry blog (a collaborative poem with the phenomenal Denise Duhamel), Wicked Good Life, and various anthologies. My non-fiction has appeared in the Miami Herald and my fiction has been nominated for Best New American Voices. &

2 responses »

  1. Pingback: Dude, That’s So Meta « WordPlay

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