Saturday, December 15, 2012

Prompt #130 – Winter Holiday Poems


Did you know that Nobel Laureate, Russian poet Joseph Brodsky was so taken with Christmas that he wrote a Christmas poem every year (now collected in his book Nativity Poems)? Holiday poems and stories have an enduring appeal, and most of you are familiar with Charles Dickens’s story about Scrooge, Tiny Tim, and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Yet to Come. For this week’s poem, we’re going to do some variations on the past, present, and future theme, and you’ll need to think about your past, present, and future Christmases, Chanukahs, Kwanzaas, or other annual winter-season celebrations.

Suggestions:

1. Write about a holiday about your past (dig deeply into family memories).
2. Write a poem in which you compare winter holidays of the past, present, and/or future.
3. Write about seasonal ghosts that haunt you.
4. Write about people from your past who are no longer with you and how that impacts your present holiday season; or, write about one special person with whom you always associate the winter holidays.
5. Write about aspects of winter holiday traditions that remain part of your annual celebrations.
6. Write about the faith and/or cultural aspects of your winter holidays.
7. Write about one unforgettable winter holiday.
8. Write about holiday food treats and how they sweeten your memories.
9. Write about a holiday song that replays in your mind because of its associations (or, write your own words to a Christmas carol or other winter holiday song).
10. Write a poem based on an old Christmas, Chanukah, or other winter holiday photograph
11. Write about a historical holiday-time event.
12. Write about a winter holiday yet to come. You might consider a fantasy poem with a futuristic sensibility.

Keep in mind that holiday literature can be tricky—be sure to sidestep the pitfalls of sentimentality, schmaltziness, nostalgia, and clichés.

Examples:








Note: "Are We Done Yet?" is from Gail Gerwin’s new book, Dear Kinfolk, (155 pages, ChayaCairn Press, 2012, $18.00). Click book image to order; shipping is free.





The next prompt will be posted on Saturday, January 5, 2013.



In the meantime,

I wish each of you the special gifts of this season
happiness, hope, and peace—
and a New Year filled with good health 
and all the things that bring you joy.

In poetry and sharing, 
Adele


31 comments:

  1. This is wonderful, Adele!

    Happy Christmas to you, your family, and your beautiful Chaucey.

    As Tiny Tim said, "God bless us, everyone!"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jamie! Happy Christmas to you and your family too! And, yes, "God bless us, everyone!"

      Delete
  2. As usually Jago is a "bastian contrario"

    = somebody who contradicts another just for the sake of doing so...

    "Santa Claus is a good symbolization for Christmas," said Joseph. "Department stores, shopping, the coming of the New Year. Christmas means better business in the stores"

    Adele, who said that? ( it is in an old American book , 1964)


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, Jago, alas, I don't know the book from which you quote.

      Delete
    2. Nor I, Jago. Will you tell us?

      Delete
  3. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you, Adele, and to all of your blog readers!

    Here's wishing everyone a Christmas filled with joy and peace and a New Year filled with good health and happiness.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Bob, and the same to you and yours!

      Delete
  4. Happy holidays, Everyone! Thanks, Adele, for all the prompts and this wonderful blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Scott! Happy holidays to you and your family!

      Delete
  5. The book is " The Three Christs of Ypsilanti",(1964) by Milton Rokeach.
    It was the first book I bought on Internet, the search engine was Altavista...

    Buon Natale e Buon Anno Nuovo a tutti voi!

    Alessandro

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Ales! I'll have to check that book out!

      Wishing you and your family a wonderful Christmas and a happy, healthy New year!

      Delete
  6. Here's is my offering.

    http://thelintinmypocket.wordpress.com/2012/12/19/writing-challenge-christmas-and-the-civil-war/

    Merry Christmas,

    S. Thomas Summers (Scott)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for sharing, Scott!

      A wonderful poem from Levi McCormick to his wife at Christmas. The line "I need a scent of home" is especially poignant in the context of the poem, and the spellings add a lot the sensibility of the piece.

      All good wishes to you and your family for a merry Christmas and a healthy, happy New Year.

      NOTE: Blog readers, be sure to visit Scott's site and read this poem.

      Delete
    2. Extraordinary, S. Thomas - thank you! I'm not even American, and I felt that I was right there with your Levi McCormack. Your poem makes the history of the individual in the setting of that particular war so immediate and so personal. He might be any soldier in any war, past or present.

      More, please!

      Happy holidays!

      Delete
    3. Thank you, Adele. Thank you, Jamie.

      Jamie if you are intersted, my book, Private Hercules McGraw: Poems of the American Civil War is available on amazon.com.

      Thanks again to all.

      Delete
    4. Extraordinary! I have to look for this book!

      Delete
  7. But Christmas is a summer holiday :)
    Inextricably linked here with fresh ripe strawberries and red pohutukawa blossom
    Happy Christmas wherever you are!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Catherine,

      I see that you live in New Zealand—so while we're dreaming of a white Christmas, you're enjoying summer! Those strawberries and pohutukawa blossoms sound wonderful!

      Thanks so much for your comment, and all good wishes to you and to yours for a happy Christmas and a healthy New Year.

      Delete
  8. Máire Ó Cathail (Ireland)December 21, 2012 at 9:45 AM

    Thank you, Adele, for all the lovely prompts throughout each year!

    Nollaig shona duit
    and
    Athbhliain faoi mhaise duit!

    Warmest wishes,
    Máire Ó Cathail (Ireland)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Maire! It's always great to hear from you.

      Nollaig shona duit and athbhliain faoi mhaise duit to you and your family!

      Delete
  9. Christmas Past

    glowing orange snow
    snow falling on knee-high banks
    alienated

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nice, Risa! The sense of sadness is so strong. Just the opposite of what one expects from this season. I hope your Christmas present brings you peace.

      Delete
    2. Risa,

      It's always wonderful to read your poems.

      I wish you a Happy Christmas and a New Year filled with all good things (and lots of poems to share with us).

      Delete
  10. Thank you, Adele. I wish the same for you and all beings, now, at Christmas and all time.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Happy Christmas, Adele!

    I take it that's your Christmas tree in the picture? Truly magnificent! (And is that a Gothic/Tudor-style chair to the right? The Staffordshire Spaniels and needleworks all add to a very English look.

    Warmest wishes for a wonderful holiday season and a happy New Year,
    Nikki

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Nikki!

      Yes, that's my Christmas tree and, yes, that's a Tudor/Gothic revival chair from a church in England. My ancestry is half English, and I love the Victorian Gothic Revival style.

      Best wishes for a wonderful Christmas and a healthy, happy New Year.

      Delete
  12. Merry Christmas to you, Adele and to all of your blog readers!

    ReplyDelete
  13. BUON NATALE DA ROMA, ADELE


    Alessandro

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Alessandro! I wish you and your family many blessings and a wonderful Christmas. BUON NATALE!

      Delete
  14. I really enjoy reading short Christmas poems. Sometimes, I've got to copy some of the lines and use them as my greetings to family and friends. It's heartwarming.

    ReplyDelete