Kickstarter Reward Highlight: Personal Poetry (or, Poetry on Demand)

12124443_10204175712867211_935740073_oWith 4 days to go on our Kickstarter, we’re highlighting one of our most popular rewards. This is, of course, our personalised poetry reward. We believe in having our backers become true patrons of the artsand what better way than to write something in their honour? If you select a reward that includes a personal poem, we will write you either a haiku or a glosa (depending on the reward level) on the topic of your choice. In the process of writing these poems for our Kickstarter backers, we’ve written about everything from books and pets to zombie Jesus and sports cars. And since our submissions editor, Steph, is currently teaching English abroad, many of the haiku rewards for our current crowdfunding campaign will be written in Japan and mailed to our backers on Japanese postcards!

We believe poetry can be for everyone; it just has to be presented with the right combination of form and content. With that in mind, we posted some of our previous Kickstarter haiku on post-its around the city on Random Acts of Poetry Day. The event was a lot of fun, and the organizers (Tweet Speak Poetry) even wrote about our contribution! We love writing as much as we love reading, so being able to do both as small press publishers is a real treat. Here are a few photos from the day:

As I’ve mentioned, we also write glosas for particularly generous backers, and one of our highest reward levels includes publication of the glosa we wrote in the issue that backer funded. Here’s a hockey glosa I wrote for Alex Wilson that appeared in issue 5 (I told you: we really do write about everything):

THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME
by Sarah Varnam, for Alex Wilson

And hearts will be glowing
when love ones are near.
It’s the most wonderful time. [ . . .]
It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
Edward Pola & George Wyle

The ice is smooth and the night is young,
so let’s toast the game while the anthem’s sung.
We cling to our seats,
eyes glued to the screen,
as we take in heart-pounding scene after scene.
The ref’s whistle’s blowing
o’er the shouts of the crowd,
but no whistle’s enough to drown us out.
The Flames are growing.
And hearts will be glowing.

We’ve got Hudler and Bennett,
Monahan, Hiller, Wideman, and Ramo,
Stajan and Ferland, and
“Johnny Hockey” Gaudreau!
With Flames in our hearts,
we jeer and we cheer
for our team, for our players.
We joke, laugh and cry and
make mem’ries most dear
when loved ones are near.

My heart’s beating quick
with each flick of a stick,
with each smack of the puck.
A new journey begins
with each chance at a win.
Players in their prime
are scaling the stats.
They reach new heights
that are truly sublime.
It’s the most wonderful time.

The stakes are high,
and the pressure is on.
It’s the final test of
their brains and their brawn.
With ten minutes to go,
the ending is near.
We’ve got faith in our team
and their mission is clear.
We’re ready, with jerseys and beer!
It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

If you prefer spooky writing, especially during the Halloween season, you might prefer this poem written for long-time Kickstarter backer Paul Green:

ARCTIC ICE
by Sarah Varnam, for Paul Green

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.
Robert W. Service

They get drunk ’round their fires,
stirring dark desires,
do men in the eerie Arctic night.
Their chilled blood boils,
and mad thoughts uncoil,
awoken by the whispers in the strange, cold night.
They don’t speak boldly of the things they’ve seen
’til they’re home, tired and old, but
There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold.

For the wind breathes down the necks of their coats
and the air seems to press in close,
and when they try to sleep through the night,
they feel chill fingers under their clothes.
Ask the Inuit, ask the Alaskans
of the monsters on the ice, and you’ll be told
of Qalupalik, Keelut, and Qallupilluit,
the child-hunting Inuit troll.
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;

It’s said among the men to be a mercy
to burn the heads of men who’ve died near the pole,
for the dead do rise to join the ranks of staring eyes
that peek at you out of the cold.
For we’ve brought our own monsters from our old world;
our undead have travelled to the land without trees.
They’ve joined the men with the legs of dogs
and the deadly green women singing in the sea.
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see

Was a white man walking out alone with a corpse
almost begging to be eaten by Irraq in the dark.
All the tales tell us not to walk alone
’cross the Northern ice, lonely and stark.
But I trudged through the snow to a secluded place
to roast the body of an iced zombie.
I charge you to find a madder way
to set a man’s soul free
Than that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.

If you’d like us to write a poem for you (or you like literary and arts journals like The Quilliad, or art prints, or chapbooks), check out our Kickstarter and support small press publishing: www.kickstarter.com/projects/1765917797/the-quilliad-press-and-issue-6.

Sarah

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