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Hello everyone!  We are pleased to have a guest pub tender for today’s poetry challenge, Jill Lyman.

I have recently been rereading How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry by Edward Hirsch.  In the first chapter Hirsch talks about the relationship between the poet (writer) and the reader.  He refers to it as being a form of communication between two strangers, often across time, space and cultures.  This triggered for me that moment in a literature class when I first read Christopher Marlowe’s famous The Passionate Shepherd to His Love and the response, A Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd, written by Sir Walter Ralegh a few years later. These two poems take the communication between writer and reader a step further because Ralegh’s poem is in direct reply to Marlowe’s poem.

Both poems are from Poetry Foundation

The challenge is to write a poem that is a direct reply to another poem.  While Ralegh kept Marlowe’s form and meter, it would certainly not be necessary to do that.  I encourage you, however, to test your poetic limits by mirroring the form of the original poem.  You may also choose to take the challenge to another level by writing two poems in which you respond to an original poem of your own.  You may go humorous or serious, ironic or sardonic, but whatever direction you choose, have fun with it and raise your personal writing bar to new heights!

As always, take care to credit the original poem that you are responding to with a source or link that we may continue to protect the work and rights of all artists.

Is there a poem that you have always wanted to respond or reply to?  Now is your chance!

If you are stuck for ideas, here are a few to get you started:

If (Kipling): In which a whining teenager writes a poem about dad’s blathering and how he doesn’t understand me.

The Road Not Taken (Frost): In which he takes that other road and it turns out badly (with humor or dire seriousness).  Maybe a bit like Nicholas Cage in the movie, The Family Man, waking up to The Talking Heads singing, “And you may find yourself…”

A Word to Husbands (Nash): A word to wives.

About our guest:  

Jill Lyman, writer, high school English teacher, photographer, amateur chef, & jazz lover, blogs at Jilly’s Poetry & Photography & Food!  Influenced by childhood nursery rhymes and the works of poets like Ogden Nash and Lewis Carrol, she occasionally writes under the persona of Silly Jilly, allowing her to tackle the sometimes tough subject in the camouflaged tone of childhood.  Jilly lives with her soul mate husband and fellow writer in Central Florida.