WD Poetic Form Challenge: Contrapuntal Poem

[Correction: The deadline is August 31, 2017.]

Time for another WD Poetic Form Challenge–this time for the contrapuntal poem!

Find the rules for writing contrapuntal poems here. It may look like one poem, but it’s actually two (or three, I guess, if you consider the new poem separate of the two).

So start writing them and sharing here on the blog (this specific post) for a chance to be published in Writer’s Digest magazine–as part of the Poetic Asides column. (Note: You have to log in to the site to post comments/poems; creating an account is free.)

Here’s how the challenge works:

  • Challenge is free. No entry fee.
  • The winner (and sometimes a runner-up or two) will be featured in a future edition of Writer’s Digest magazine as part of the Poetic Asides column.
  • Deadline 11:59 p.m. (Atlanta, GA time) on August 31, 2017.
  • Poets can enter as many contrapuntal poems as they wish. The more “work” you make for me the better, but remember: I’m judging on quality, not quantity.
  • All poems should be previously unpublished. If you have a specific question about your specific situation, just send me an e-mail at robert.brewer@fwmedia.com. Or just write a new contrapuntal poem. They’re fun to write; I promise.
  • I will only consider poems shared in the comments below. It gets too confusing for me to check other posts, go to other blogs, etc.
  • Speaking of posting, if this is your first time, your comment may not appear immediately. However, it should appear within a day (or 3–if shared on the weekend). So just hang tight, and it should appear eventually. If not, send me an e-mail at the address above.
  • Please include your name as you would like it to appear in print. If you don’t, I’ll be forced to use your user/screen name, which might be something like HaikuPrincess007 or MrLineBreaker. WD has a healthy circulation, so make it easy for me to get your byline correct.
  • Finally–and most importantly–be sure to have fun!

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Pre-order the new Poet’s Market!

The new 2018 Poet’s Market, edited by Robert Lee Brewer, includes hundreds of poetry markets, including listings for poetry publications, publishers, contests, and more! With names, contact information, and submission tips, poets can find the right markets for their poetry and achieve more publication success than ever before.

In addition to the listings, there are articles on the craft, business, and promotion of poetry–so that poets can learn the ins and outs of writing poetry and seeking publication. Plus, it includes a one-year subscription to the poetry-related information on WritersMarket.com. All in all, it’s the best resource for poets looking to secure publication.

Click to continue.

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Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community, which means he maintains this blog, edits a couple Market Books (Poet’s Market and Writer’s Market), writes a poetry column for Writer’s Digest magazine, leads online education, speaks around the country on publishing and poetry, and a lot of other fun writing-related stuff. He’s also the author of the poetry collection Solving the World’s Problems.

Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.

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11 thoughts on “WD Poetic Form Challenge: Contrapuntal Poem

  1. grcran

    FLORA

    Sun shines. We eat.
    Grape vines. Hard wheat.
    Reach up. Grab rays.
    Grow roots. Stay. Stay.
    Frost comes. Die back.
    Save for seed pack.
    Springtime. New sheaf.
    Rebirth. Be. Leaf.

    FAUNA

    Meatless. Unfed.
    Eat you. Instead.
    Drink too. Break bread.
    Gather. Pick fruit.
    Go nuts. Give a hoot.
    Holler. Damn cold.
    Snowball. Foolsgold.
    Nurture the land.
    Eat Sun, secondhand.

    FLORA and FAUNA

    Meatless. Unfed.
    Sun shines. We eat.
    Eat you. Instead.
    Grape vines. Hard wheat.
    Drink too. Break bread.
    Reach up. Grab rays.
    Gather. Pick fruit.
    Grow roots. Stay. Stay.
    Go nuts. Give a hoot.
    Frost comes. Die back.
    Holler. Damn cold.
    Save for seed pack.
    Snowball. Foolsgold.
    Springtime. New sheaf.
    Nurture the land.
    Rebirth. Be. Leaf.
    Eat Sun, secondhand.

    gpr crane

  2. rmpWritings

    This was most definitely an interesting, albeit an exasperating, challenge.

    Flutters ~~ Alight (by rmp)

    There is a flicker of light
    burning inside me
    beating to the sound of your heart
    unstable
    it teeters between extinguishing and igniting
    desire swells
    & I’m terrified — so completely terrified
    uncertain
    of how the darkness might consume
    every inch of me
    & yet I, too, fear the flames
    scorching
    as they wrap themselves around us
    with just the idea
    I so long to be stuck in this moment of limbo
    of what your touch
    might bring to life
    where what-ifs allow hope to flutter
    along with the sound of my own beating heart.

    Flutters (by rmp)

    There is a flicker of light
    beating to the sound of your heart;
    it teeters between extinguishing and igniting,
    & I’m terrified — so completely terrified
    of how the darkness might consume
    & yet I, too, fear the flames
    as they wrap themselves around us.
    I so long to be stuck in this moment of limbo,
    where what-ifs allow hope to flutter
    along with the sound of my own beating heart.

    Alight (by rmp)

    burning inside me
    unstable
    desire swells
    uncertain

    every inch of me
    scorching
    with just the idea

    of what your touch
    might bring to life

  3. JRSimmang

    TRAVELER’S LAMENT

    I imagine myself a hammer,………………………… Quenched in too cold water,
    top-heavy and splintered handle,…………………. I emerge a threadborne traveler,
    believing the superstitions and……………………. hunched and blind. My ebony staff
    carried in the left hand. …………………………….. serves me no more. Now, only, could

    I imagine the days of sweat…………………………. I bend to the years behind me.
    I imagine the nights of sleep……………………….. And, when my dreams revisit me,

    I imagine the swinging head………………………… I remember the calloused foot.

    -JR Simmang

  4. Mama Zen

    Seminole County

    In the Age of Lynching
    was the Green Corn Rebellion
    draft dodgin’ trash
    hid up on Spear’s Mountain
    with dynamite and guns
    till a thousand man posse
    come ridin’ to Seminole County

    August of ’17

    A Working Class Union
    of whites, blacks, and Indians
    saw a rich man’s war
    and swore to resist
    all the way to DC
    hungry for justice
    in August of ’17

    The Green Corn Rebellion

    In the Age of Lynching
    a Working Class Union
    was the Green Corn Rebellion
    of whites, blacks, and Indians
    draft dodgin’ trash
    saw a rich man’s war
    hid up on Spear’s Mountain
    and swore to resist
    with dynamite and guns
    all the way to DC
    till a thousand man posse
    hungry for justice
    come to Seminole County
    in August of ’17.

    Kelli Simpson

  5. Anthony94

    Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach, OR

    Poseidon tossed sheets of basalt
    seined from the Pacific, nothing
    peaceful about his trident pitching
    pile upon pile, rock upon rock, until
    the Haystack formed beneath the
    puffins resting, rose higher and
    higher, crests blowing in the spray.

    Sea Twin

    Only a god could play with lava
    from the mountains, reshape it
    into Tillamook Head, the Arch Cape,
    Jealous of Mount Shasta’s sacred beauty,
    Did he decide to build her sea twin until
    arms tired, tines bent, leaving an earth
    quake or two in his dripping wake?

    Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach, OR (Sea Twin)

    Poseidon tossed sheets of basalt,
    only a god could play with lava
    seined from the Pacific, nothing
    from the mountains, reshape it.
    Peaceful about his trident pitching
    into Tillamook Head, the Arch Cape,
    pile upon pile, rock upon rock, until
    jealous of Mount Shasta’s sacred beauty,
    the Haystack formed beneath.
    Did he decide to build her sea twin until
    puffins resting, rose higher and
    arms tired, tines bent, leaving an earth
    higher, crests blowing in the spray,
    quake or two in his dripping wake.

  6. Konchok Dolma

    The Light

    I always reach for you
    hoping you will fill me
    and in a moment of joy
    the silence thrills me
    you expand in my heart
    and with a shrill in me
    I finally find what I seek
    and all goes still within me
    _

    The Dark

    expanding when I’m not looking
    taking over my head
    the pain bursting through
    with too much to be said
    I try to run from you
    as you pull me like a thread
    a stab of pain peeks through
    when my heart simply bled
    _

    Resolved

    expanding when I’m not looking
    I always reach for you
    taking over my head
    hoping you will fill me

    the pain bursting through
    and in a moment of joy
    with too much to be said
    the silence thrills me

    I try to run from you
    you expand in my heart
    as you pull me like a thread
    and with a shrill in me

    a stab of pain peeks through
    I finally find what I seek
    when my heart simply bled
    and all goes still within me

  7. taylor graham

    FINDING THE CREEK

    Wire bins receive the clatter of cans
    in a hurry to re-make metal. It serves.
    I’m surreptitious at the recycling
    edge, nothing but a shadow slipping
    past, will take no steps but rock-slide
    carrying down trash, never stopping.

    AS IT FLOWS

    Barb-wire, someone’s crazy idea
    in possessing the right-of-way
    from two-lane potholed chipseal
    to the creek that all through summer –
    just a trickle and yet it runs.
    Here’s the creek that’s always been.

    FINDING THE CREEK AS IT FLOWS

    Wire bins receive the clatter of cans,
    barb-wire. Someone’s crazy idea
    in a hurry to re-make metal. It serves
    in possessing the right-of-way.
    I’m surreptitious at the recycling
    from two-lane potholed chipseal
    edge, nothing but a shadow slipping
    to the creek, that all through summer
    past will take no steps but rock-slide –
    just a trickle. And yet it runs,
    carrying down trash, never stopping.
    Here’s the creek that’s always been.

  8. Walter J Wojtanik

    STIRRING MUSIC

    Her music stirs my senses,
    a lightning bolt to shake me
    waking me from my malaise and breaking me
    away from this crazy despair.
    I find her there, and I have this need to listen,
    though I am not required to pay her heed.
    she has written lyric and book and I pine to read.

    REFRESH

    A new start to an old beginning,
    the winning formula has been improved.
    When moved to resurrect a suspect muse,
    I choose to use whatever is available,
    turning the sail into her wind to begin again!
    She is all that I have come to believe!
    Everything she whispers is refreshing; a true blessing.

    REFRESHING

    Her music stirs my senses,
    a new start to an old beginning,
    a lightning bolt to shake me,
    the winning formula has been improved,
    waking me from my malaise and breaking me.
    When moved to resurrect a suspect muse
    and away from this crazy despair,
    I choose to use whatever is available,
    I find her there, and I have this need to listen,
    turning the sail into her wind to begin again,
    though I am not required to pay her heed.
    She is all that I have come to believe,
    she has written lyric and book and I pine to read
    Everything she whispers is refreshing; a true blessing!

  9. candy

    Walking

    my morning walk takes me
    under bare branches of oak
    where houses once stood
    children’s voices rang out in play
    echoes in the silence
    human presence has been erased


    Back to Nature

    along a deserted road
    the sun makes stark patterns
    beside the crumbling sidewalk
    now the only sound is of chipmunks scurrying
    nature has reclaimed this place


    Walking Back to Nature

    my morning walk takes me
    along a deserted road
    under bare branches of oak
    the sun makes stark patterns
    where houses once stood
    beside the crumbling sidewalk
    children’s voices rang out in play
    now the only sound is of chipmunks scurrying
    echoes in the silence
    human presence has been erased
    nature has reclaimed this place

    by Candace Kubinec

  10. AsWritten

    CONTRAPUNTAL LIMERICKS by Ken Bentz

    There once was a boy from the sky
    His heart belonged to a Spirit
    whose dreams were tattooed on his eye.
    Its voice was too low to hear it.

    It would often beseech him,
    and when he would pray,
    he couldn’t quite reach him.
    He’d forget what to say.

    No matter how hard he would try,
    he’d only remember to fear it.

    Limerick 1
    There once was was a boy from the sky
    Whose dreams were tattooed on his eye
    Though they’d often beseech him
    He couldn’t quite reach ’em.
    No matter how hard he would try

    Limerick 2
    His heart belonged to a Spirit
    Its voice was too low to hear it.
    And when he would pray
    He’d forget what to say
    He’d only remember to fear it.

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