Shades of Blue and By Example

Hi guys,

I have two very different poems for you to read today. One was just published at a really cool online literary journal, Hello Horror. That poem is available to read online for free in issue three. It’s a free verse poem called “Shades of Blue.” I’m very happy that this creepy little number has found such a beautiful home, and I hope you’ll take a moment to go read it!

Now, turn 180°…

I’ve also had the rights revert back to me on a poem that was first published in the National Federation of State Poetry Societies’ prize anthology Encore. In 2012, my poem “By Example” won second place in the Indiana State Federation of Poetry Clubs Award. And since that book was printed instead of published online — and I hate asking people to buy things — I’m going to share it with you here today. (But NFSPS is an amazing organization, and you really couldn’t go wrong buying any of their publications, for what it’s worth.)

It does seem like good timing to share this one, since yesterday was Father’s Day and tomorrow will make five years since my dad died. It’s hard for me to believe it’s been so long. This month he’s very much on my mind, which is why I’ve been somewhat MIA lately. So I hope you’ll forgive both a delay in my responses and a sentimental poem. (For any who’re wondering, this poem is called a rondeau – my very favorite of all the fixed forms.) Okay, poem below.

By Example

You taught me how to work by hand
to build a tree-house on our land
and how to never be afraid
to try new things – with spoon or spade;
you always had a project planned.

The use of oil, rubber bands,
some fishing line, gray duct tape, and
an always sharpened pen-knife blade:
you taught me.

To never buy the fancy brand;
when fresh is better than pre-canned;
that no employer can degrade
a worker who is all self-made;
that pride and humor share a strand:
you taught me.

© Annie Neugebauer, 2012
All rights reserved.

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  • Regina

    Shades of Blue is definitely creepy. Won’t get that one out of my head for a while. Well done.

    The second poem made me think of my dad and all he did for me while he was living and how his legacy continues on in my life even though he’s gone now. 🙂 Thanks Annie.


  • Melissa Crytzer Fry

    Oh Annie… I got teary reading the poem about your Dad. I’m sorry you’ve been having such a tough time an that Father’s Day – understandably – is so difficult. But on a brighter note: how proud he would be. Your way with words is magical – just like Shades of Blue. I was transported by your description and felt the hair on my own arms standing on end. So beautifully (and creepily) done. 😉

  • Wow! Shades of Blue is fantastically creepy.

    I love By Example as well. I can relate to it and your sentiments. It will be two years in August since my dad died.

    I’m a little jealous of your command of the form poem. I’ve never been able to grasp the intricacies of writing them. I do well with free verse, but form befuddles me.

    • I’ll be thinking about you in August, then. And thank you! I’ve always felt very at home with form poetry, maybe because I’m such a fan of rhyme.

      • I love to read form poetry and love rhyme, but my rhymes also seem too sing-songy, forced. I still try though. 🙂

        • That’s a struggle for everyone, I think. As long as you enjoy it!

  • Peggy Biggs

    Two great, creative poems that I love! What a great way to remember him on Fathers’ Day!!

  • Cynthia Robertson

    I love poetry that makes me have questions. Shades of Blue made that happen. Good one, Annie.

  • jclementwall

    Love both poems, Annie. I can feel Shades of Blue is going to stay with me. The imagery in that is beautifully chilling.

    And By Example is such a wonderful tribute. I’m glad you were able to share that one.

  • Oooh. Actual poetry; the kind that has a title for its format. Dang. That’s scary right there. Poetry intimidates me (unless it Dr. Seuss!), but I understood the gist of yours, and that’s something!

    Believe it or not, I once dabbled and had a poem pubbed. A Horror poem.

    I know, not in the same class as yours at all, but I just had fun with mine! 🙂

    • I love it Lexa! Believe it or not, shape poetry *is* form poetry — so you’re further along than you give yourself credit for. 😉

      • LOL! Thanks so much. That’s really kind coming from a serious and award-winning poet like yourself. I’ll just putter along with my novels now — novels, all 100k words of them, are easier than poetry, and goodness knows I’m lazy. 😉

        • Haha, Lexa you’re the first person I’ve heard say that a 100,000 word novel is EASIER than a 100 word poem.

  • Nina Badzin

    Really enjoyed both poems and seeing your different styles and tones! So glad you shared them.

  • Love the poem, by example! My fav line: to try new things – with spoon or spade