Friday, April 15, 2011
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Today on Poets.org~
|by Donald Hall|
When I walk in my house I see pictures,
bought long ago, framed and hanging
—de Kooning, Arp, Laurencin, Henry Moore—
that I've cherished and stared at for years,
yet my eyes keep returning to the masters
of the trivial—a white stone perfectly round,
tiny lead models of baseball players, a cowbell,
a broken great-grandmother's rocker,
a dead dog's toy—valueless, unforgettable
detritus that my children will throw away
as I did my mother's souvenirs of trips
with my dead father, Kodaks of kittens,
and bundles of cards from her mother Kate.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
From the NPR website:
"April 4, 2011
In celebration of National Poetry Month, "O —The Oprah Magazine" has published its first-ever poetry issue. The April issue features interviews with poet Mary Oliver and poet laureate W.S. Merwin. Several celebrities, including Diane Sawyer, Demi Moore and, of course, Oprah Winfrey, talk about why poetry is important to them. Host Michel Martin discusses the special issue with the magazine's editor-in-chief, Susan Casey and writer Aracelis Girmay, who was featured as an emerging poet in the magazine."
To see the full transcript, visit the link above.
On NPR right now. . . if you live in the Seattle area. So good.
Billy Collins And National Poetry Month
04/06/2011 at 9:00 a.m.
Related EventBilly Collins will be reading tonight at Elliott Bay Book Company at 7:00 p.m.
Guest(s)Billy Collins was the US poet laureate from 2001 to 2003. He is a distinguished professor of English at Lehman College, City University of New York, and is the senior distinguished fellow of the Winter Park Institute in Florida. His publications include "Nine Horses," "The Trouble with Poetry" and "The Art of Drowning and Pokerface." His latest book is "Horoscopes for the Dead."
Elizabeth Austen is debuting her poetry collection, "Every Dress A Decision." The collection is out this month from Blue Begonia Press. She's been KUOW's literary producer for the past decade, interviewing poets and introducing poems to public radio listeners. Each month she offers a journaling and poetry workshop for the staff at Seattle Children's Hospital, where she makes her living as a communications specialist.
--From KUOW website
I do my journal writing (99% of the time) before bed, in bed, usually after 10:30 p.m. This is either good or bad, depending on how tired I am. I have actually written poems I didn't know I wrote when looking back through the journal pages weeks later, and some of them seem halfway decent to me. I don't know if this is a function of age, or just extreme fatigue. I do know that writing while tired can be freeing, because your 'editor' quite often has already fallen asleep.
The other reason I'm not sure if I've truly written a poem a day in six days is that I actually started this process at the beginning of Lent. I'm not giving up chocolate, but taking on daily writing, which, if I'm lucky, will last beyond Easter, the end of April, and hopefully into the months to come.
By way of distraction, here is a photo, taken yesterday, for today:
Maybe today's prompt could be about something I've photographed. My dad is still on my mind; mom, too. Will they become involved in today's poem?
What will you write about? When is your best time to write? Your most successful time (to write)? Let me know, if you've got the time. I'll be curious.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
"Today is our first "Two for Tuesday" prompt of the month. For those who are new to the challenge, I provide two prompts instead of one--usually polar opposites of each other--and poets can choose which one to use. Of course, quite a few poets write a poem for both prompts.
For today's prompt, do one of the following:
- Write a goofy poem.
- Write a serious poem.
So, my task is set.
So far, my poems have been all but goofy. Much of the subject matter is pulled from my dad's passing (on 1 January of this year). Before he died, I had a flood of poem ideas, and some that will be published soon, but now it gets harder. Now it's not so much about the process, but about the past, and the future.
How to write the goofy poem? Will it retain some underlying sense of irony? Can it be truly light-hearted? I don't know. But I do know that for me this will be a challenge.
* * *
A few photos, in keeping with my parallel challenge of posting a photo a day, which I haven't done. Here is one for each day up till now.
Off to work, and to ruminate on my goofy poem. If you get a chance, let me know if you're working on writing a poem a day also. I'd love to hear what you're up to.
Monday, April 4, 2011
Saturday, April 2, 2011
by Elizabeth Bishop
I caught a tremendous fish
and held him beside the boat
half out of water, with my hook
fast in a corner of his mouth.
He didn't fight.
He hadn't fought at all.
He hung a grunting weight,
battered and venerable
and homely. Here and there
his brown skin hung in strips
like ancient wallpaper,
and its pattern of darker brown
was like wallpaper:
shapes like full-blown roses
stained and lost through age.
He was speckled and barnacles,
fine rosettes of lime,
with tiny white sea-lice,
and underneath two or three
rags of green weed hung down.
While his gills were breathing in
the terrible oxygen
—the frightening gills,
fresh and crisp with blood,
that can cut so badly—
I thought of the coarse white flesh
packed in like feathers,
the big bones and the little bones,
the dramatic reds and blacks
of his shiny entrails,
and the pink swim-bladder
like a big peony.
I looked into his eyes
which were far larger than mine
but shallower, and yellowed,
the irises backed and packed
with tarnished tinfoil
seen through the lenses
of old scratched isinglass.
They shifted a little, but not
to return my stare.
—It was more like the tipping
of an object toward the light.
I admired his sullen face,
the mechanism of his jaw,
and then I saw
that from his lower lip
—if you could call it a lip—
grim, wet, and weaponlike,
hung five old pieces of fish-line,
or four and a wire leader
with the swivel still attached,
with all their five big hooks
grown firmly in his mouth.
A green line, frayed at the end
where he broke it, two heavier lines,
and a fine black thread
still crimped from the strain and snap
when it broke and he got away.
Like medals with their ribbons
frayed and wavering,
a five-haired beard of wisdom
trailing from his aching jaw.
I stared and stared
and victory filled up
the little rented boat,
from the pool of bilge
where oil had spread a rainbow
around the rusted engine
to the bailer rusted orange,
the sun-cracked thwarts,
the oarlocks on their strings,
the gunnels—until everything
was rainbow, rainbow, rainbow!
And I let the fish go.
Friday, April 1, 2011
My birthday, which included three nice dinners, and lunch with my Pilates class. And, I finally got my camera (more soon).
Seattle Arts and Lectures series evening with Marie Howe, which was wonderful. I found her inspiring in many ways. I could relate to the content of the work she shared, having recently lost my dad to disease, and she, her brother. Of course, her poems echo a strong spiritual sense as well. This is something that was prevalent in many of my poems, and something I feel has changed in mine. But that is a topic for later.
I got the latest launch done for our gym's strength training program, and feel relatively good about the results. Tried it out last night, too, because I just couldn't wait. I love my class participants, many of whom are friends at this point.
And, spring break. My daughter was home for a week and a half. This week my son is off from school, which is nice for us all - we get to sleep in. A definite plus.
There have been challenges as well, and I've felt divided into many parts. The Mother part emerged the strongest, and received the most wear. The fitness instructor part hasn't received enough. The artist and poet? Oh so little.
So. I made a little Lenten pact with myself (which I also shared with Marie Howe when she graciously signed a copy of the Kingdom of Ordinary Time) - to write something every day. And, for the most part, I have done that. But the poems are not coming easily. And today we launch into National Poetry Month, where I feel compelled to write a poem a day, no matter how bad it is.
Then again, maybe something will be good. Maybe I'll find time to spend with friends, doing timed writes and poetry exercises, which I find so helpful. Something else I found I could relate to: Marie Howe mentioned how hard it is sometimes to generate poems. Unlike Billy Collins, who seems to crank them out on a regular basis, with little or no editing, and the results are good. At least, it sure seems that way. But then, what do I know?
The artist also wants to have her day, and now that the camera is here, I'll do my best to post a photo often. Photo a Day? We'll see.
It's opening day of National Poetry Month. The above link is to one of my favorite sites, Poetry.org. If you're wondering how to celebrate each day, visit the link above for some fun ideas~ And, don't forget to write some poems!