poetryamano project: january 2017

This week, I begin archiving my Instagram poetry project entitled poetryamano (poetry by hand) here on the Influence. This account focuses on sharing poems written by hand, either in longhand or more experimental forms such as erasures/blackout poems and found poems.

Below are the highlights of when I started the project in January. Every few weeks, I will be sharing another round of highlights as I continue to archive.

Stay tuned next week for more of the usual Influence happenings. For now, enjoy these forays into variations on the short lyric!

poetryamano january 2017 1

My first post was this translation of a line from Antonio Porchia. I felt like it was a statement on the, ahem, influence of social media on our lives. Mainly, though, I thought the line was neat.

poetryamano january 2017 2

Poem written in my head while talking on the phone with a dear friend.

poetryamano january 2017 3

Poem thought of after my dissertation defense. Playing off the idea of gate-keeping in academia, I came up with this as a line in a freestyle in my head, then as I came to share it, I found myself writing it down in three lines of three words each. I like it here as the form breaks up the rhyme. I’m hoping to share more random things like this that come up and never land on the page for fear of being too cursi, corny, contrived, or any other alliterative term that comes via self-conscious worry.

poetryamano january 2017 4

This one came from revising from a series of poems that would have been tanka but ended up way too rambly/brambly.

poetryamano january 2017 5

In working on this one, “find” was originally “learn.” Yet, I liked the vibe of having “lost” followed by “find.” I couldn’t decide until my wife noted how you must find something first, and only then can you begin to learn it. And so I found this poem, and am humbled to keep learning what it has to say. I also like how the filter blurs the words on the right side.

poetryamano january 2017 6

HANDS. Note that: 1) the five lines run 2,4,6,8,2 in terms of syllables (cinquain), and 2) the word “hands” is spelled downward in the first letters of each line (acrostic). Formal games like this are my jam.


Happy amano-ing!


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* cinquain tributes

Don Juan, himself.



You could make a

River from a writhing,

Overturned woman, her husband



Every once in a while I write something I call a cinquain tribute, a cinquain in which the last name of a poet is snuck in via acrostic – the first letter of each line.  I enjoy these because the nature of a cinquain – in its brevity and tanka-like feeling – lends itself well to paying personal tribute to the greats.

Here, we have Lord Byron and Keats.  They didn’t necessarily like each other.

Byron was a wealthy man of the world with a killer wit.  His famous epic “Don Juan” has the main character insisting that his name is pronounced “Ju-an” like “ruin”.

Keats, on the other hand, was a poor kid who studied to be a doctor while at the same time becoming one of the greatest poets in the English language.  He also knew how to box.

Lord Byron looked down on young Keats, as did most of the world, the latter’s genius not being fully acknowledged until his passing.  Bryon, however, was a literary celebrity in his own time.

Also: there may have been a time where I referred to myself as The Young Keats of the Streets.  I turn thirty this weekend, so no more of that.

Towards the end, age 25.



Even then that

A man was only a

Tome of possibility he

Still sang.


Happy singing!