We are delighted to share three entries from John L. Stanizzi’s year-long POND poetry project that began 09-November-2018. Here is a description of this intriguing writing adventure in his own words:
The POND. We have lived here for 30+ years, and while the pond has been very, very important in our lives….the kids fished there, put their canoes in, ice skated, and had campfires, I have never really studied the pond closely, At night, the pond comes alive with activity — raccoons, coyotes, opossums. huge frogs, birds of all kinds, from the massive bullfrogs (they’re huge), to the green frogs, the tree frogs, several species of egrets, foxes, deer, owls and kingfishers…it is quite a magical place. And so….on November 9th I came up with a plan that would take me exactly one year to complete.
The POND project is this. At some point every day (it really does not matter what time of day — each time offers new surprises), I walk to the pond with my notebook, my pen, and my camera. I stay for a while, in meditation, and take notes. Not every day has been a picture-worthy day either, but certainly the potential is there, so I never head to the pond without my camera.
Once I have a page of notes, I head home, put the journal down, and go about my day.
When the muse strikes — I never know her arrival time, specifically. She works on her own schedule and I follow.
The poems themselves are acrostic. The first word begins with “P,” second with “O”, third with “N”, and the last with “D.” The other MAJOR CHALLENGE is that I may not EVER use one of those first words twice — that means 365 words that begin with “P,” 365 with “O,” and so on.
That is the challenge. But! So far so good.
-John L. Stanizzi
Praxis Magazine Online is pleased to share the entries for 15-November, 16-November, and 21-November with our readers (temperatures at the pond being -2.2C, -2.7C, and 0.5C on the three respective days).
Polar portents, our first since last year.
Oatmeal gone, milk, peanut butter; stores are empty.
Nolens volens! The snow is on its way, and by dawn it will cover the
diamonds of ice on the pond’s north end.
7 inches of snow overnight
Path to the pond is pugmark free,
orphaned duckweed, sumi-e strokes and
neat against the shag shoreline, yesterday’s geometry of ice
down-covered with fresh snow over black water.
Paeans, these multiflora rose-hips reaching for us to notice them.
Overstepped by the sun, the cloudiness is gone, hoarfrost wet.
Needing this clarity – sunken leaves, small sandy clearings on the
pond’s bed –
doubt sinks too, while everything in the pond sleeps, even through the
John L. Stanizzi is author of the collections Ecstasy Among Ghosts, Sleepwalking, Dance Against the Wall, After the Bell, Hallelujah Time!, High Tide – Ebb Tide, and Four Bits – Fifty 50-Word Pieces. New titles Sundowning and Chants will be out in early 2019. Besides Praxis Magazine Online, his poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, American Life in Poetry, The New York Quarterly, Paterson Literary Review, The Cortland Review, Rattle, Tar River Poetry, Rust & Moth, Connecticut River Review, Hawk & Handsaw, and many others. His work has been translated into Italian and appeared in El Ghibli, in the Journal of Italian Translations Bonafinni, and Poetarium Silva. His translator is Angela D’Ambra. John has read at venues all over New England, including the Mystic Arts Café, the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival, Hartford Stage, and many others. For many years, John was the coordinator of the Fresh Voices Poetry Competition for Young Poets at Hill-Stead Museum, Farmington, CT. He is also a teaching artist for the national recitation contest, Poetry Out Loud. A former New England Poet of the Year, John teaches literature at Manchester Community College in Manchester, CT and he lives with his wife, Carol, in Coventry.