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Thursday, 1 October 2020

Tabatha Yeatts is hosting the round up of poetry links and posts today at The Opposite of Indifference. Thanks, Tab!

It’s October, Poetry Friday friends.

Poet Irene Latham is on my mind this week. I hosted a stop on her THIS POEM IS A NEST blog tour, and even tried writing a nestling. You can read that post here.

It’s October first as I write this, and Irene + Octo = her wonderful book, Love, Agnes: Postcards from an Octopus.

I’ve been using a bullet journal (AKA bujo) for several years. I was feeling arty this morning and decided to fire up my watercolor markers and colored pencils to make an October page…Β  an Octo(ber)pus page. (Thanks for the inspiration, Irene.)

However, I ran into some technical difficulties with my purple cephalopod. And the resulting Oops-topus doodle led me to a poem.

It’s a nonet. For reasons which shall become obvious.

Oops
By Laura Shovan

Dear Octopus, I drew you before
that first jolt of tea woke my brain.
It’s a challenge, keeping track
of all those wandering
tentacles! So, I
miscounted legs.

Forgive me,
Nono-
pus.

I started writing this poem on my morning walk, speaking the first line and a few other phrases into my phone. When I got home, I sat down and started to draft. My drafting page looks like this:

October is off to a silly start for me. I wonder what other Oops-topuses are hiding themselves where we least expect them.

27 responses to “Poetry Friday: Oops-topus”

  1. Linda says:

    Laura, your nonet put a big smile on my face. Thanks for sharing your process for writing it. I am excited about Irene’s new book and can’t wait to add it to my Irene Latham collection! Autumn is my favorite season and perfect for early morning walks! Have a great weekend!

  2. Linda Mitchell says:

    Ha! What a wonderful oops and poem from it. I often get lines on my walk. I send myself e-mails. LOL. It’s silly but it works.

  3. Irene Latham says:

    πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ This is delightful!! I love this combo of octopus and nonet. πŸ™‚ I read an octopus joke the other day…How many tickles does it take to make an octopus laugh? Ten tickles (tentacles) πŸ™‚ What’s also funny is that in my research I learned that an octopus doesn’t even have tentacles, but arms: tentacles have one sucker on the end of them and arms are lined with suckers. Thank you for sharing! xo

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Oops, I oopsed again, Irene. Thanks for sharing this octopus fact. Thinking of octopus arms gives me the shudders, I admit.

  4. Linda Baie says:

    But it’s such fun to draw those wiggly legs! You remind me of Barney Saltzberg’s “Beautiful Oops’, a favorite! Lately “it’s a challenge keeping track” of quite a few things. This is fun, Laura. Thanks for the smile!

    • Laura Shovan says:

      True! The legs (arms?) are fun to draw. Yes, I was thinking of Barney’s book and how to take an oops and turn it into creative play.

  5. Karen Eastlund says:

    What a fun and clever surprise… a nonopus! Haha. Love it.. Thanks for always giving wonderful writing encouragement.

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Thanks, Karen! I was thinking this would make a fun or effective prompt for poets — write an apology poem to your mistake/your oops.

  6. Tabatha says:

    Wonderful word play, Laura! So you are still going strong with your bullet journal? That’s impressive! I am trying to keep up with a gratitude journal for all of 2020 and sometimes it’s a bit of a strain!

  7. This is so fun! And I enjoyed being able to see how you go about drafting a poem. I like the idea of using graph paper as my handwriting is so all over the place that I often can’t read it afterwards!

    • Laura Shovan says:

      I don’t usually use graph paper, Rebecca. But it worked out well for this poem and helped keep my nonet on track for syllables.

  8. Hee-hee! Sometimes our mistakes make our poems even more “humerus” (though ‘no bones about it’, your purple cephalopod is a cutie). Thanks for the smile today, Laura. : )

  9. Oops-topus and Nono-pus, ah what fun, and all before tea… Love your nonet Laura and your octopus friend too, thanks!

  10. Laura, I loved the peek into your process and notebook. There is so much fun in making oopses! Might there be more versions of Oops-topus? Have fun on your walks and creating your doodles.

  11. Ruth says:

    I love your nonopus!

  12. Molly Hogan says:

    Thanks for sharing the genesis of your nonopus poem. Delightful!

  13. Mary Lee says:

    HA! Your oops turned into a very fun poem! (I have a nonet this week, too!)

  14. jone says:

    So fun to see your process. I have to try the Nonet poem.

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Laura Shovan

Laura Shovan is the author of the award-winning middle grade novel, The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary. Her second book, Takedown, is a Junior Library Guild and PJ Our Way selection. Look for A Place at the Table, co-written with Saadia Faruqi, in 2020. Laura is a poet-in-the-schools Maryland.

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