Monday, July 02, 2007


Heath's comment on the poem set me to thinking. A year ago I wouldn't have dreamed of writing a poem. I hated doing it for school, and didn't enjoy reading poems much. Poetry was something for other people. Snooty people, mainly. (Excepting, of course, Linda)

Then last year, when browsing in The Tattered Cover with Katrina while Anna slept in her stroller, I found a book of poems that I couldn't put down. I bought it on a whim and bravely took it to the cabin with me. That's brave because I was going to show it to Dad, and he's the smartest man in the world, and also literary-so if it was stinky, he'd tell me so. But he liked them, and so I discovered a world of accessible poetry. Good Poems selected and introduced by Garrison Keillor. Susan got me Good Poems for Hard Times for Christmas, and I've also enjoyed it. You should definitely read them.

The poems in these books are more about capturing a moment or a feeling than about any other grand thing. Maybe all poetry is about capturing a moment, and I was too busy feeling bad that I couldn't find the grand something that I missed it. Regardless, these poems make me laugh and cry and make me feel like I can also write poetry. And that it's alright if my poetry is not very grand, if all it does is capture a moment or a time or a feeling. It's a way to scrapbook emotion. And you know I love to keep things.

The poem-a-longs on Linda's blog have also been great fun. I wonder if there is a way to make kids feel this way about poetry while they're in school? I don't know. There are some wonderful English teachers, but kids are hard.

Here is an example from the book. I just flipped through and picked one, there are so many good ones.

I Stop Writing the Poem--Tess Gallagher

to fold the clothes. No matter who lives
or who dies, I'm still a woman.
I'll always have plenty to do.
I bring the arms of his shirt
together. Nothing can stop
our tenderness. I'll get back
to the poem. I'll get back to being
a woman. But for now
there's a shirt, a giant shirt
in my hands, and somewhere a small girl
standing next to her mother
watching to see how it's done.

Anyhoo--Check out these books! Write poems! It's fun!


Drrty Joe said...

"Everyone has that power, if they want to manifest art. It's just an amount of confidence and the willingness to let yourself go."-Ryan Adams in American Songwriter.

I applaud creative expression, no matter how "good" anyone thinks it is. It's the "doing" that's important, for one's own catharsis or understanding. That's it!

Thank you for sharing!

linda jean said...

There are a lot of English teachers that don't really like poetry. Some days I think I would really like to teach poetry, you know as a break from dealing with thugs, idiots, and the wrongly accused.

betsyann said...

That's the trouble with teaching High School, it's not really a break from that.

Jo said...

Hope your party was killer tonight!