Yes. And.

These are two of the most powerful words in the English language, and when used together, they can produce more magic than abracadabra. 

When I teach poetry, I sometimes invite my students to pair up and play a popular storytelling game with these two words. The first person begins the story with a single sentence. The second person responds by saying, “Yes, and …”, then adds another

Books and Recordings by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

sentence. The first person says, “Yes, and … .” And so on.

First we affirm what the other person has said, even if we don’t like it. Then we move the story forward.  Though this game allows for a great silliness, at its root, it teaches collaboration. To that end, it’s useful in the kitchen, the boardroom, anywhere two humans are conversing.

In poetry, I’ve found that when I am stuck with a poem, playing a game of Yes, And with myself is a great way to get unstuck and let the poem find a new direction.

 Perhaps the most transformative application, however, is to use Yes, And when we don’t like what’s happening in our lives or in the world. I’ve noticed a human impulse to say “NO!” when we are hurt, frustrated or angry. No to terrorism. No to accidents. No to pain. No to war.

 But no doesn’t get us very far. When we scream “No!” as the glass vase is falling, it does not prevent the shattering.

 More productive (and honest) is to say “Yes” to the world as it is. It doesn’t mean we approve what is happening, we just acknowledge that it is happening. From that real, grounded place comes the “And.” The “And” is how we move our own story (and the world’s story) forward.  

Why not try it yourself right now? Pick something that’s bothering you. Say “Yes” to it. Now say “And …” And who knows what might happen next?

Three Poets Laureate

Three Laureates—Rosemerry was appointed the third Western Slope Poet Laureate for 2015-2017 by outgoing WSPL Aaron Abeyta. Joining them that night was Colorado’s Poet Laureate Joseph Hutchinson.
Read more at Talking Gourds online.

NEWS:

What Do You Call A Group of Poets? A Heard! I’ve partnered with the San Juan Independent to launch an interactive poetry map, Heard of Poets: Poems from Colorado’s Western Slope. Each week we feature a new poet. Find it here.

Getting The News from Poems: New Verse News has picked up two of my poems recently, “The Last Lunch” and another about a candlelight vigil in Brussels after the Paris attacks, “Crossing the Divide”. 

Ever feel as if you’re pushing a rock up a hill? The lovely blog A Year of Being Here featured this poem of mine recently on just that feeling. "Perhaps It Would Eventually Erode, But ... "

One for the Dark: Because sometimes it feels so darn dark. Published on the beautiful site, Journey of the Heart, INTO THE DARK AGAIN.

Upcoming Book! Lithic Press will be publishing a collection of three-line poems and three-line illustrations I’ve done in collaboration with artist Jill Sabella. Look for the collection by November 2016.

Listen to the Music: One of my sonnets was arranged by Robert McCauley and performed by Kyra Kopestonsky and Colleen Mahoney. See the performance here on YouTube.

A Daily Dose of Poetry:
To read my daily poems, check out my blog