Ellen Elder
Ellen Elder's Fundraiser

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$350 towards $500

March 20, 2020

Dear Friends and Family,

I'm writing a daily poem for Tupelo Press as part of their 30/30 Project: March 2020 poetry marathon.

When I took on this project a month ago, the world was different. I think all of us writing poems for the marathon have noticed the virus creeping into our work, not to mention our concern for loved ones' safety and the world's most vulnerable. (One poet began March writing from China in quarantine, something at the time I couldn't imagine. Now, here in Düsseldorf, Germany, we are contemplating total lockdown in two days).

I know all of you are busy, but please make a charitable contribution to support this artistic endeavor! I'm asking for $5 (4,-Euro) toward a $500 monthly goal. Tupelo Press is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit company and one of the most reputed independent, literary presses in the U.S. that is "devoted to discovering and publishing works of poetry, literary fictions and creative nonfiction by emerging and established writers."

My contribution page at Tupelo also includes a photo, bio and a list of poems I've written so far, plus a short explanation of their content and form. For yesterday's (the first day of spring) poem, for example, I wrote a sonnet inspired by the video of the quarantined Opera Singer performing "Nessun Dorma" from his balcony a few days ago in Florence.

And as we contemplate lockdown, I can't think of any compulsory thing I'd like to do better than to write a poem a day, except reaching out to friends and family. Luckily, I'm not alone in my apartment—it's been inspiring having Sophie (my 5 ½ daughter) around since schools are closed. She's painted on the balcony, made crafts from paper plates and even blown a saxophone in my ear. We escaped a few times to ride bikes in anticipation of weeks stuck inside, but now we are quite willing to stay at home as we're healthy and lucky and have loads of resources for which we are grateful.

I know musicians who have cancelled gigs, dressmakers whose jobs are up-in-the-air, cousins whose weddings have been postponed, loved ones who due to border control will be separated from loved ones for who knows how long, chefs who are scrambling to reconceptualize products online, not to mention oodles of folks without health insurance. I also think of the elderly who live alone. It's so important right now to connect, just as it's important in these times to embrace the arts, including smaller entitles like Tupelo Press. As one poet I know wrote: people are about to see—"in stark relief"—how important art is in their lives.

Please consider making a contribution of $5 as I write a poem a day for ten more days.

Then, please check in on someone you know who is alone.

Take good care everyone, xo

Ellen

Ellen Elder bio:

Ellen Elder was born in New York City, raised in Cincinnati and educated at The University of Chicago, Miami University of Ohio and The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She spent childhood summers in Ireland. Her poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in About Place Journal, Banshee Lit, Bird's Thumb, DMQ Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Tampa Review and elsewhere. She teaches writing and poetry at Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf, Germany and lives in nearby Neuss with her daughter, Sophie.

Tupelo 30/30 Poems so far:

#1*: "After Carnival, Taking Stock," on costumes, hysteria & the unknown/ group of 4 loose sonnets

#2: "After the Swan," where Leda talks back to Yeats' Swan/ loose sonnet

#3: "There Once Was a Mother Earth," country house elegiac poem/ started as an inventory poem

#4: "Hansel," from a Hansel and Gretel series I am working on/ narrative

#5: "For the Anorexic Student," meant to be an epistolary poem / indented loose tercets

#6: "A Female President," at 11 lines, my shortest poem ever! / yay the minimalist poem

#7: "Elegy with Country House and Blackcurrants" another Irish nostalgic elegy/ indented quatrains

#8*: "After Edvard Munch’s Woman with Poppies (1918-19)" Ekphrastic/ indented loose couplets

#9: I forgot about U.S. Daylight Savings and missed the deadline

#10: "Older Than My Mother Ever Was," hardest poem to write (the math is a bit off)/ Long narrative

#11: "The Secret of My Endurance as a Single Mom," humorous reply to Bukowski /loose quatrains

#12: "First Time, Dunworley Beach," another reworking of an incomplete Irish poem / elegiac narrative

#13: "Beach Hotel, West Cork (1980s)" more Irish nostalgia, after William Blake / loose sonnet pair

#14*: "One Meter Distance," (now it's 2 meters) imagining love in a time of corona/ loose quatrains

#15*: "Writer's Block (Approaching Lockdown)," a first writer's block poem / narrative

#16: Missed for a dinner out in support of the restaurants the last night they were open

#17*: "Ars Quarantina," variation of an "Ars Poetica"/ loose quatrains

#18: "Oh Apothecary, Whose Mother is This?" tough imagining of a mother's POV/ loose couplets

#19*: "Let No One Sleep (Tomorrow it is Spring)," love poem, after Turandot/ loose sonnet

#20*: " Excuse Me, Your Anxiety is Too Loud," 8 loosely connected quatrains interrupted

#21: "Ars Poetica," an artist's manifesto, remembering my mom at tennis/ narrative

#22*: "Stay-at-Home Nocturne," nocturne re: stay-at-home / loose sonnet

#23: "Portrait of the Poet as a Single Parent,"/single-line prose poem with line breaks

#24*:"Someone's Neighbor Near You," re: news report of increase of domestic violence/ loose couplets

#25: "The Gamble," childbirth / relationship poem/ 6 loose quatrains

#26*: "Instead of Goodbye," a funereal elegy/ lyric

* influenced by Corona