Project 411: Inviting You to Participate in Writing an Indiana Collaborative Poem!

Dear Lovers of Poetry,

Announcing Project 411! I am inviting you all to participate in a great new adventure—a collaborative poem project.

We all have a well of creativity in us—so poets AND non-poets may participate. Continue to read on, and then stretch yourself and try something new!

As you may know, the Wabash River, a symbol of our state, is a 503 mile long river, 411 miles of which flow freely from where it is dammed. Here’s an excerpt from my introduction to The Wabash Watershed website:

    Rivers have always intrigued me, in part because they mirror the intricate, interconnected movements of our world.

    As a poet, I can’t resist the Wabash as a metaphor of free-flowing power and connection . . .

    I trust you’ve noticed the subtitle, Where the Rivers of Tradition Meet the Rivers of Innovation. Rivers are rarely complete in themselves. They feed something larger and—just as significantly—are fed by many tributaries. . .

    So, the Wabash is fed by many tributaries. So it is with poetry and poets. It is the small, seemingly invisible, currents that form something larger. We are all part of something much larger than the individual could ever be. As “tributaries” we feed that “something larger,” and in the process become it, flowing into it. If we are the Eel River, as just one example, we maintain that individual identity, yet we flow into the Wabash, contributing to a great movement no individual could ever achieve alone.

Thus, I am inviting you to participate in helping write a large freely flowing river-of-a-poem. Here’s what I invite you each to do:

    1. send six poetic lines or sentences, making each as imagistic a line of poetry as possible;
    2. number each and list them separately from one another (they need not connect to one another but should read as six individual separate lines of poetry);
    3. Not sure where to begin? The following are three different strategies you are free to employ, though you are certainly not bound to follow any of these:

      a. construct the line as noun, verb, object, with intervening words, if you’d like (“The hermit ate some cold biscuits with his tea”); or
      b. you might write a line that includes a color in an unusual context (i.e., “We stepped in from the rain and watched the dieffenbachia in the living room bleed orange milk”); or
      c. you might write a line that includes a paradox (i.e. “So it is that I love pre-dawn night”)

    4. Remember, you may ignore these strategies and follow your OWN line/sentence constructions!
    5. Your contribution of six individual lines of poetry needs to be submitted in ONE Word document and needs to include your name, and BOTH your city and county of residence. If you currently don’t live in Indiana, include a short sentence describing your sustained connection to Indiana (perhaps you grew up in Indiana and have moved out of state, or you lived in Indiana for three important years of your life?).

I will make every attempt to include at least one line from everyone (though no guarantees), with the hope that we will reach (or approximate!) 411 lines.

Those who submit will not be notified of inclusion but may read the collaborative poem on The Wabash Watershed this fall.

Individual lines in the collaborative poem will not be identified; I will provide a list of contributors at the poem’s end.

Feel free to pass this call on to fellow Indiana lovers of literature!

Your contributions are due September 30, 2015—earlier, if possible.

Send to:

Thanks, in advance, for participating in The Wabash Watershed’s “Project 411.”

Flow on, my friends—flow on and on and on!


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