The Flooid is a short poetry form, no longer than five lines. It is rooted in a prior “good deed.” The Flooid poem can be written only in the aftermath of the author’s action to benefit others, whether it’s the community, the environment, and other worthy causes.
Poetics: “To be a poet is not to write poems, but to create a better way of life.” (Paul LaFleur)
Call for Submissions to WHAT MAKES US HUMAN: The First Flooid Anthology
Editor: Eileen R. Tabios (an inventor of poetry forms whose Flooid poetry form follows on prior poetry creations, the Hay(na)ku and the MDR Poetry Generator)
Deadline: March 31, 2022 (this is a rolling deadline; the initial deadline is set to allow the editor to review initial submissions and consider how to adjust the anthology’s scope)
Submissions: Submissions are open from anybody and everybody, not just self-acknowledged poets. You can submit as many poems as you wish. Each poem should be accompanied by 1-2 paragraphs explaining the underlying “good deed” undertaken by the author and that inspired the poem. (For more information, see below re the Flooid’s History).
Send Submissions in the body of an email to Eileen R. Tabios at email@example.com.
THE FLOOID: A HISTORY
The Flooid is reportage-poetry. Its author must first participate in an action that benefits others, whether it’s the community, environment, and other “good causes.” It cannot be a poem based solely on the author’s imagination, even though the poem can expand its scope further from the action. The Flooid must begin from the author’s prior action to benefit others.
The Flooid is a short poetry form. It can be written in any form not longer than five lines—from a haiku to short free verse to a hay(na)ku to a couplet to a tercet to even a monostich (single-line poem). The poem has to be short because it originally was designed to be inscribed on a piece of bamboo (see Background below).
The first official Flooid poem was written by Judge Philip Champlin. His poem was written after a presentation on the Flooid to the Rotary Club of Napa, California. Ms. Tabios is interested in presenting the Flooid, not just to poets but, to those who incorporate service to others in their daily lives. The Rotary Club is a service organization that describes itself as “a global network of 1.4 million neighbors, friends, leaders, and problem-solvers who see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change—across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.” Here is the first Flooid poem to be written (please note the Flooid need not be titled):
Are we handicapped when we can’t walk?
Polio often robs us of mobility,
But not the ability to think and rejoice.
Can we be made whole?
Rotary International can.
Judge Champlin, a graduate of Yale and U.C. Berkeley School of Law, was Napa Superior Court Judge from 1977-2000 and part-time traveling California Judge from 2001-2021. His poem is rooted in being a member of the Rotary Club whose Global Polio Eradication Initiative has eliminated the disease in most parts of the world.
Eradicating polio is a huge and large-scale achievement. But the flooid also can be based on more intimate actions, from walking the dog of a neighbor with a broken leg to volunteering at a local school activity or local foodbank to paying a compliment. So-called “small” moments more than suffice in generating a powerful poem. The following example is by a poet who could have participated in, say, helping neighbors clear their property in anticipation of possible massive wildfires or winter storms. That poet is able to write the Flooid only because the poet didn’t just prepare their property but also the neighbors’ dwelling:
“The Great Grief”*
We’d grimly thinned trees
To prepare for winter’s winds.
But the leaves still fell.
Tree limbs still broke. How did we
Come to trust preparation?
* “This more-than-personal sadness is what I call the “Great Grief”… that our individual grief can actually be a reaction to the decline of our air, water, and ecology.” —Per Espen Stoknes
OTHER FLOOID EXAMPLE-POEMS ARE AVAILABLE HERE.
“Written in five lines, FLOOID used to be inscribed on bamboo utilizing a precolonial script, the aknat. FLOOID is reportage-poetry and what it reports must be an activist exercise of “Kapwa,” a value system based on the interconnectedness of all beings across all of time.”
—from DOVELION: A Fairy Tale for Our Times by Eileen R. Tabios (AC Books, New York, 2021)
The Flooid is first introduced in Eileen R. Tabios’ first novel, DOVELION. Her novel presents an indigenous tribe known as the Itonguks whose tribal citizenship criteria includes writing a minimum number of Flooid poems each year. Because Flooid can be written only after a good deed is done by its author, the poetic structure results in encouraging lifestyles of enhancing or promoting others including other people, the environment, animals and other creatures, and worthy causes.
In DOVELION, Itonguks are presented as inscribing Flooid poems on bamboo. This methodology was inspired by the ambahan, an indigenous poetry form from the Hanunuo Mangyans of the Philippines. The ambahan was written in pre-colonial, pre-Spanish script and inscribed on bamboo. The bamboo constraint explains the length constraint for the Flooid poem.
A SECTION ON POETS LAUREATE:
Community Poets Laureate inherently combine positive activism with poetry as they conduct tasks to introduce or expand the presence of poetry within their respective communities. The anthology is open to featuring such Poets Laureate (past and present) with their Flooid poems describing some of their activities. Participants, to date, include
Melissa Eleftherion Carr, Poet Laureate 2021-2023, Ukiah, California.
Aileen Cassinetto, Poet Laureate 2019-2021, San Mateo County, California.
Caroline Goodwin, Poet Laureate 2014-2016, San Mateo County, California.
David Holper, Poet Laureate 2019-2021, Eureka, California, with a poem on encouraging preparation for future acts of courage.
Luisa A. Igloria, Poet Laureate 2020-2022, Virginia, with a Flooid poem on encouraging and helping to develop young poets in the state—see her contribution below as an example poem with explanatory prose.
Denise Low, Poet Laureate 2007-2009, Kansas, with a Flooid poem on visiting a shut-in during Covid lockdown.
Marianne Lyon, Poet Laureate 2020-2022, Napa Valley, California, with a Flooid poem on the value of teachers.
Kim Shuck, Poet Laureate 2017-Present, San Francisco, California.
Sofia M. Starnes, Poet Laureate 2012-2014, Virginia, with a Flooid poem after volunteering at a retirement community.
Edward Vidaurre, Poet Laureate 2018-2019, McAllen, Texas.
We are open to more participants from the Poet Laureate community. If you are interested, submission information is the same as for other potential participants (see above).
Virginia Poet Laureate Luisa A. Igloria for A Sample Contribution of a Flooid Poem:
I put a book already read and loved
into others’ hands — the way, perhaps,
one might say take care of this treasure
I kept long; and whose light could only
grow brighter as it circulates.
The 2021-22 Virginia Young Poets in the Community (YPIC) program is a Poet Laureate Fellowship Project of Luisa A. Igloria, 20th Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia (2020-22), with support from the Academy of American Poets and the Mellon Foundation, and in collaboration with the Poetry Society of Virginia. Twenty-four young poets, selected from a pool of applicants from around the commonwealth, will create public poetry projects showing what matters most to them in our world today and how poetry is a tool for social engagement (more information about the program HERE).
Luisa says, “For these young poets, I put together 24 packets, each containing a poets.org tote from the Academy of American Poets, a YPIC certificate; and a hand-picked poetry book from my personal collection.”