It's been a week of loss and memory of loss. Senator Scott White and Kasandra Murray-Cornett are two of those who have meant much to my life in recent years. Read more about Loss
Six years ago I drove over the Black Mountains in the Brecon Beacons into Hay on Wye, the little Welsh town of bookstores. I stopped for lunch and a book.
In a shop called The Kestrel, I found a slim volume of Dylan Thomas. Now there is much of Thomas which is completely opaque to me. But this one paints a picture I can see clearly. Read it out loud:
It was my thirtieth year to heaven Read more about POEM IN OCTOBER
when I got up this morning with these lines from Robert Louis Stevenson's A Child's Garden of Verses running through my head:
In winter I get up at night
And dress by yellow candle-light.
In summer quite the other way,
I have to go to bed by day.
I have to go to bed and see
The birds still hopping on the tree,
Or hear the grown-up people’s feet Read more about Still dark
Does anyone read Henry David Longfellow anymore? Why would they?
"By the shore of Gitchee Gumee, by the shining big sea water, stood the wigwam of Nokomis, daughter of the moon, Nokomis..." I don't think anyone's forced to memorize those lines anymore. Not only does it border on poesy, it's probably not all that PC either. Nevertheless ... Read more about Longfellow? Really?
In the spirit of [amazon 0865475911 inline] and my upcoming flight to the Midwest for a high school reunion and relative binge, this week's poetry selection is one of my own. As you can see, I've always had this thing about crows.
The wind came out and blew her down the road
Her coat skirts wrapped around her knees.
She moved alone between the cold fields of corn stubble and
Black choppy seas of fall-plowed land.
The houses were set back from the road.
They were too far for comfort.
And none of them were hers.
Storm crows settled between the black furrows, Read more about Migration
There are things you have to learn, moving here from anywhere else. Like how to pronounce geoduck, Puyallup, and Sequim. Drew Myron, has a little longer list:
Fern, talus, tide
It’s salal, he says, but I don’t know how
to say what he touches, how to make the
words that form new memory
It’s alder, birch, spruce,
a shore pine edge in offshore wind
We drive through days of dictionary
pages, catalog a new land of heather
and fern, talus and basalt
Surrounded by twisting syllables
and vines of vowels, we reach new ground Read more about Learning the Pacific Northwest
Watermark . Once upon a time, Joseph Brodsky went to Venice and in more than one way never returned. He went back, again and again, always in winter, when it can be cold and rainy, when the water levels rise in what Venetians call aqua alta, and the canals lap around the architecture, licking the thresholds. Read more about Love Letter
I picked up [amazon 0674676246 inline] at her home in Amherst, Massachusetts a couple of years back.
There is much of Emily that I like very much. I like the little visuals - "Snow flakes. I counted till they danced so Their slippers leaped the town..." That alone is worth discovering 45 poems in. Read more about Dickinson Death March
Sliding aimlessly round
An unpunctuated day
Looking for parts of speech
A verb I can do
A noun I can say
by Patrick Thompson
An old friend from my writer's group, whose offerings I miss. Read more about Punctuation
Poetry is an evocation, a metaphor, a simple simile – a distillation – there you have it – much better word – of something that prose takes an exponential increase of words to relay.
With this in mind, I once tried to convince a professor that the ten-page paper he required once a week could perhaps be served just as well in a one-page poem. I have been cursed with unimaginative teachers – that is, with teachers unwilling to enter the world of my imagination. Read more about Poetry and Its Disenchantments