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For the SpicyNodes Poetry Project, the developers of SpicyNodes commissioned four poets to experiment with the options available to node poem writers. These refined works take advantage of many of the new innovative techniques that radial maps offer. Beginning node poets will find it useful to explore and investigate the poems written for the SpicyNodes Poetry Project. Such exploration will serve to increase their understanding of the experiments that can occur in this medium, thus challenging new node writers to imitate and further develop their writing.

Getting Started

For Tina Gagliardi: Before you begin reading Tina Gagliardi’s poem, take out a pen and some paper and write “As Dawn Rises” for your first line. Then, as you read through the poem, write down each new line that you read, in the order that you read the lines. If you move back and forth through the poem, write down the line each time you read that line. Once you are done reading the poem, answer the following questions:
  1. What line did you end you reading on? Why do you consider this the finish of the poem?
  2. Re-read the lines of the poem that you copied onto your piece of paper. What do you think caused you to read the poem in this way? Are there any similarities among the lines?
  3. Once more, re-read the lines of the poem that you copied onto your piece of paper, but this time, underline each concrete image (such as a smell, taste, touch, sound or sight) on your page. What commonalities do these images share? How do the images change as you move down the poem?
For Marci Johnson: Before you begin reading “Choose,” create six lists, one for each of the nodes at the start of her poem (“surprise,” “disappearance,” “doubt,” etc.). As you read through Johnson’s poem, write down memorable lines that appear underneath the categories. Then, answer the following questions:
  1. After reviewing the lists and the memorable lines, highlight the lines that repeat in different categories. How do you think the title of the list alters the meaning of the repeated line?
  2. Why would Johnson want to repeat lines in different parts of the poem? What is she accomplishing with this maneuver?
For Bob Yehling: Prior to reading “Himalayan Cloud-Drops,” please review the Haiku section of Poetry Through the Ages.
  1. Yehling’s poem consists of three movements. How does each movement progress the poem? What changes between the first and second movement? The second and third?
  2. How does Yehling’s poem reflect traditional haiku? What similarities does the poem share with the examples in Poetry Through the Ages? How is the poem different?
  3. How does Yehling take advantage of the node poem form with his poem? Why is this important given the topic of the poem?

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