Car Sonnets, Bloems, and Pogs

UPDATE: I no longer write sonnets while driving. Nothing bad happened, but on reflection, it seemed so clear it was distracted driving.

Did you land here look for sonnets about cars? If you leave a comment, I’ll write you one…..


Lions and tigers and bears, oh my. Kind of like that.

Also not entirely unlike “father son and holy ghost” because I side with the Orthodox idea there, that the Trinity is meant to be un-understandable, to remind us there is always going to be something we can’t fathom about God. (I can’t remember where I read that, but it’s probably from my Holy Trinity of theology–Karen Armstrong, Kathleen Norris, or Anne Lamott. Probably Kathleen Norris.)

But my list is MOST like “gypsies, tramps, and thieves,” because one person could be a gypsy AND a tramp AND a thief, or there could be lots of people fulfilling those roles.

So, to define:

A CAR SONNET is a sonnet that was written entirely, or at least begun, while I was driving, usually on my commute to work. Unless that’s illegal, in which case of course I don’t do that. Who would do that? Not me.

A BLOEM is a poem I wrote primarily to post in my blog, upon which I usually commentate in the same blog.

A POG is a poem I post in the blog, which I think could probably stand alone (even though I go ahead and commentate anyway).

Of these, I would say the bloems have the least poetential. (Poetential, adj. Meaning: Least likely to stand the test of time, or the smell test, or the urge-to-revise test, or the put-in-a-manuscript urge.) They’re in response to current events or current concerns. Here’s a recent example of a bloem, a poem I wrote because I was so freaking excited that David Bowie had a new album & a new single.

And another bloem, about Ding Dongs.

Here’s a recent example of a pog (much of which I probably did write in the car as I drove to work, but I was writing only one line a day, so that didn’t take the whole commute). Since “Sustainable Chaos” is my life motto, this is an important poem, and like other pogs, has some level of poetential. One of my goals when I work on my full-length manuscript of poetry (either Summer 2013 or Fall 2013 or Winter 2014) is to look back through the blog and see which poems still excite me. I wonder if this one will.

Here’s another pog, called “Yes. No–wait” in which I have a conversation with competing voices. And which I do have in mind for a particular collection, a chapbook called “Each Other’s Anodyne,” all about teaching and work-life balance issues. It has a pretty particular audience in mind, and we may try to publish some to raise money for my sabbatical (speaking of work life issues).

And “On Conscientiousness” is an important topic for me, and I do love this poem.

Not surprisingly, “Truck Pulling the Moon” was written while I was driving.

And another car sonnet (not surprisingly, I’m often thinking of work when I’m commuting), called “The Moan Tax.”

I’m not entirely sure why these distinctions(and non-disctinctions, since a car sonnet could be a pog or a bloem) are important to me. Especially since I’ve realized one of my biggest weaknesses as a poet is the ability to view my work in terms of audience–who will love what? What should get submitted where? What will stand the test of time? (Or the smell test.)

All I know is what I do, and that I feel compelled to share, and thus–poetry is a part of my blog.

(I’ve meditated on this once before, sans categories, here.)

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