Dramatis persona*

helenhead Helen Chick

I've always wanted a bumper sticker that said "I'm a female, LDS/Mormon, Scout leading, geocaching, piano-playing, bicycling, mathematics educator with a PhD in maths ... and I VOTE"!

I think this makes me a minority group of cardinality 1!

* Since there's only one of me and "personae" is plural (I think), I've gone with dramatis persona.
August 2020
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Epilogue – Reflections on the 100 poems challenge

It’s now nearly four months since I embarked on the 100 poems challenge, and four days since posting the last poem. It’s probably a little early to have a full sense of perspective on the collection (not that I expect that this is a matter of any great consequence) but I do have a gut feeling about which of the poems seem to “work” and which are ones are not worth bothering with … and there are some that fall somewhere in between. So, I have been through the collection, and classified the poems according to my own devoid-of-objective-criteria judgement of good, bad and middling. The “Should Remain Obscure” category contains those poems which—while I am not actively ashamed of them—clearly miss the mark: they might be overdone, lack atmosphere, or try too hard. At the other extreme there is the “Not Too Bad at All” category: these poems are ones that I think can stand on their own two feet and be allowed out in public without apology. In some cases they aren’t necessarily great poems, but it may be that they do their small job well. I don’t claim that I think they’re publishable, necessarily, but they’re the ones most likely to stake a claim for that (although there are a couple in this category that could use a little more polishing). In between lie the “Fair to Middling” poems, which may have parts that work, or they almost come off but don’t quite, or there’s a bit I like but the rest of the poem doesn’t match that.


Comedic Serious
Not Too
Bad at
2. Love
3. Light
23A. Cat
33. Expectations
43. Dying
44. Two Roads
45. Illusion
49. Stripes
74. Are You Challenging Me?
78. Drink
80. Words
84. Out Cold
88. Pain
90. Triangle
4. Dark
5. Seeking Solace
8. Innocence
38. Abandoned
48. Childhood
86. Seeing Red
89. Through the Fire
92. All that I Have
99. Solitude
11. Memory
25. Trouble Lurking
29B. Happiness
31. Flowers
42. Standing Still
46. Family
50. Breaking the Rules
53. Keeping a Secret
56. Danger Ahead
57. Sacrifice
61. Fairy Tale
62. Magic
64. Multitasking
65. Horror
66. Traps
67. Playing the Melody
70. 67%
71. Obsession
77. Test
85. Spiral
87. Food
91. Drowning
98. Puzzle
14. Smile
15. Silence
17. Blood
19. Grey
22. Nature
23B. Cat
24. No Time
28. Sorrow
30. Under the Rain
32. Night
34. Stars
35. Hold My Hand
39. Dreams
40. Rated
41. Teamwork
68. Hero
69. Annoyance
72. Mischief Managed
75. Mirror
76. Broken Pieces
82. Can You Hear Me
83. Heal
100. Relaxation
6. Break Away
13. Misfortune
20. Fortitude
27 Foreign
29A. Happiness
37. Eyes
47. Creation
52. Deep in Thought
54. Tower
58. Kick in the Head
60. Rejection
63. Do Not Disturb
73. I Can’t
79. Starvation
93. Give Up
94. Last Hope
95. Advertisement
96. In the Storm
97. Safety First
1. Introduction
7. Heaven
9. Drive
10. Breathe Again
12. Insanity
16. Questioning
18. Rainbow
21. Vacation
26. Tears
36. Precious Treasure
51. Sport
55. Waiting
59. No Way Out
81. Pen and Paper


If anyone is or has been paying attention, I’d be interested to know of your favourites from the collection.

Overall, it was an interesting experience. Trying to write a poem a day (on average), together with the fact that I was writing to a given collection of themes — and in sequence (although I didn’t strictly follow this)—made the task a challenge, but the discipline was useful (now if only I could be disciplined with respect to some other goals!). Many of the themes lent themselves to punchline poems, and I confess that in writing one poem a day I couldn’t face taking too many of the themes seriously (I guess I am a frivolous person at heart!). I was already aware of my general tendency to be very literal and obvious in my writing, and this is reflected in quite a few of the poems (subtlety and metaphor are not my strong points). And I can’t talk about the experience without acknowledging my use of online rhyme and synonym sites, without which I might have given up.

So there you go. I’d still like to do a drawing challenge at some stage … but not with this set of themes, I think … and NOT one a day (well, not until I have had a big long rest and recovery period)!


4 comments to Epilogue – Reflections on the 100 poems challenge

  • Matthew Cengia

    I think that I put comments on most of my favourites, but will have to
    go back through them and re-read. Certainly number 89 stuck in my mind,
    mostly because it resonated with me.

    Good job!

  • David

    I will need to also go through them again to give my favourites. Curious to what would be your “Captain’s pick”.

    You could attempt a “Picture a week” challenge for one a week for a year?

    • Helen

      Hmm, don’t know that I can pick an absolute favourite, but I might think about my favourite 10. I like your idea for a one a week drawing challenge, but I’m not sure I’m recovered enough from the poems or that I will have the time to fit this in (the trouble is that I get a little too overcommitted to these things!)

  • […] I finished the challenge just before the middle of August. An epilogue post on August 13 lists all the poems, categorised by quality or poem and level of seriousness/comedy (my […]

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