Poet Seeks Words

Unraveling Y, acrostic poet, Amy Heath,

Amy Heath. Sojourner, tinker, acrostic poet.

Amy Heath is a writer, poet, and artist. The past few years she’s lived a somewhat nomadic life, exploring ways to sustain herself while being true to her spirit.

I met Amy when she was a children’s librarian and children’s book author, back when I spent a lot of time in the picture book section with my four kids.  I was drawn to her friendly blue eyes and gentle manner. I cherished our brief, always lively conversations. I’d walk away thinking how much I’d like us to be friends but I was too shy to ask if we could get together because she was older, vastly cooler, and far more fascinating than I’d ever be. Fast forward to the last few years, when Amy befriended me. I’m giddy about it in a can’t-believe-my-luck sort of way.

One of the many things Amy is up to lately is a poetic challenge. About a year ago she decided she’d write an acrostic poem a day. Being Amy, she amped up the challenge by making a rule for herself that the acrostics must be composed around words chosen at random from a book or words others chose for her.

a·cros·tic   (ə-krô′stĭk, ə-krŏs′tĭk) n.
1. A poem or series of lines in which certain letters, usually the first in each line, form a name, motto, or message when read in sequence.

“The main point of this project was to play with words every day until I reach 60,” she says. “Until that idea struck me, I had been writing acrostics in a more serious vein, on words like mindfulness, anxiety, patience, empathy. I have seen many people approach the Big 6-0 with trepidation. Well, I would play my way there!”

And no matter what, she vowed to post each piece on her blog, Unraveling Y. She says, “After reading the book Show Your Work by Austin Kleon, I decided that if I blogged these short daily creations I would feel somehow more accountable to my intention. My wordplays would be out there. And being fairly sure that very few people would read them, I felt liberated to do my best without worrying about what anyone thought of them. That’s good practice anyway. Worrying about what other people think is trespassing in their heads. Not cool.”

Amy’s poems find an inner presence in words, making each one into something so alive we can feel it breathe, as she does with equanimity.

Amy Heath, acrostic poem, pixabay.com/en/space-sky-hand-fingers-paint-636894/

Even in the space of a few syllables.

acrostic poem, Amy Heath, pixabay.com/en/background-branch-dusk-evening-20862/

She turns a word into a tale that leaves us wondering.

acrostic poem, Amy Heath, morguefile.com/archive/display/890638

She helps us understand why the Latin word for hearth has come to mean “center of activity.”

Amy Heath, Unraveling Y, acrostic poem, pixabay.com/en/fire-heiss-fireplace-cozy-heat-266093/

Amy Heath, Unraveling Y, acrostic poem, pixabay.com/en/fire-heiss-fireplace-cozy-heat-266093/

She shares little known history, explaining in her blog entry: “The lighthouse built by Ptolemy I Soter and completed by his son Ptolemy II Philadelphus was a prototype for subsequent structures. Pharos, a small island, ultimately the tip of a peninsula near Alexandria, became the root word in many languages for lighthouse.”

Andreas Achenbach, Pharos, Amy Heath, pixabay.com/en/andreas-achenbach-sea-ocean-water-85762

She’s undaunted when faced with a word like quitch.

acrostic poem, Amy Heath, morguefile.com/archive/display/951061

Among my favorites is a poem she composed around the word orenda, which is defined as “a supernatural force believed by the Iroquois to be present, in varying degrees, in all things and all beings, and to be the spiritual force underlying human accomplishment.”

Amy Heath, acrostic poem, birthday poem, orenda, pixabay.com/en/background-gold-golden-texture-630417/

Amy is brimming with acrostic-related ideas. She may write a book on a single theme or compose a children’s story using words for various literary devices. She may illustrate her poems using paint or yarn or glass. The future is open for my playfully creative friend.

What is she seeking right now?

Words.

She’s continuing her daily acrostic challenge and invites you to send her a word which she’ll gladly transform into a poem. Her email is unravelingy@gmail.com

While you’re at it, I suggest you:

visit her blog Unraveling Y 

read her memoir I Pity The Man Who Marries You

share her poems on social media

contact her to let her know how much you enjoy her work

consider embarking on a challenge of your own!

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38 thoughts on “Poet Seeks Words

  1. Oh, you Snickerdoodle! This is so beautiful, and another birthday surprise! Thank you! How did you frame the poems with such poignant and lovely backdrops? You are a WONDER! I will continue expressions of awe privately…:-) Right now I’m at a loss for words. Thank you, dear friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Laura,

    This is a true inspiration. My two loves (outside of my wife and daughter, ha!) are early childhood education advocacy and poetry. I was just going to my blog to re-read and post a new edition and then to begin writing a poem for the poetry group I co-host twice a week. Reading about Amy Heath and her acrostic poetry has inspired me. She has such a wonderful way with words. I look forward to sending her a word. First, may I share this article with my poetry group? Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh please do share Papa Greenbean.

      And I’d love to hear more about your poetry group. I’ve been part of several poetry groups over the years, mostly made up of poets getting together to workshop each other’s work, but recently have met with a group of friends a few times simply to read poetry aloud and talk about it. What bliss.

      Liked by 1 person

      • BTW, Papa Greenbean, the URL for your site isn’t showing up with your name as it used to on comments.

        Let me give a shout-out for others who may be reading this thread. John (Papa Greenbean) is an advocate for early childhood development and education. His site is packed with great articles. Check it out:
        papagreenbean.blogspot.com

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Laura,

        I wrote an acrostic poem yesterday and read it with my poetry group last night. I co-host the Village Books Poetry Group. We meet in the upstairs cafe of Village Books in Fairhaven (Bellingham, Washington). It’s a wonderful book store with continual author readings and talks. Each member brings one poem with copies (10x). We allot seven minutes per poem. After the poem is read aloud, we discuss and critique with positive feedback. Each member also jots down thoughts/ideas on their copy of the poem with their name and returns it back. It’s a dynamic group, as is the entire community here in Bellingham.
        Oh, I’ll post my acostic poem inspired by Amy Heath.
        John

        Liked by 1 person

        • John, I read your poem and responded, but don’t see that here. I enjoy your point of view and the images you offer on the acrostic format. I have been to the wonderful book store you mention and LOVE that area! Several years ago, I was looking at Bellingham as a place to settle. I’d been living in Port Townsend. Anyway, thank you for sharing how you conduct your poetry group. It’s quite similar to a monthly writers’ group I attend; I always come away energized and with new perspectives. Thank you for letting us read your poem here.

          Liked by 2 people

          • Port Townsend seemed quite lovely. Only spent an hour or so waiting for the ferry. There is so much to see in this part of the country. There are many writers to feed off of out here. I’m gobbling up as much good inspiration as I can. We can also transcend via internet!

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            • Indeed. Hope you will get a chance to visit PT another time, perhaps for a festival (the Kinetic Sculpture Race is one of my favorites), or just to wander.

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    • Thank you for your kind words, Papa Greenbean! Can you imagine how wonderful it feels to hear such words from someone who is not family or friends? I mean, I LOVE my family and friends, but it really does the soul good to receive this kind of encouragement from beyond that safe haven. How great that you co-host a poetry group! This energy exchange is what keeps us ticking. Please let me know if you have a word suggestion for my project. Last week I started a second year of it. Happy wordplay!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. How fun! Speaking of writing experiments–I’ve been doing the 3:15 Experiment since 2001 where poets wake to write every night at 315am during the month of August. In 2006 we collected poems from 24 poets from around the world –a sort of choral poem at 3:15 am over the years 1993-2005. In 2011 I did a collection of poems tracing my journey from being a daughter, to becoming a mother, to loosing my mother. This year I am posting weekly interesting facts about the number 53. https://artpredator.wordpress.com/53-interesting-facts-about-the-number-53/

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is VERY cool! Thanks for sharing your website. I am hoping to receive word suggestions from speakers of global languages, too. Of course, translation could be tricky, but if the heart is in the right place, it’s all good.

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  4. Here is my poem dedicated to Amy Heath…

    Acrostic Allegory Again

    As thought begins,
    Confusion is ordered,
    Revolution obeys.
    Opaque dust ignores seeds of syntax
    Sitting hollow, but budding.
    Tempo swirls,
    Illustration shocks,
    Creating universal space.

    John S Green

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you, Anthony! And to everyone who’s reading this, it’s really true. I am seeking words to play with! So far the suggestions have been terrific and engaging. So, Laura, if I may, here’s the email address to which readers can send me suggestions: unravelingy@gmail.com

    Like

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