The Poetry Storehouse is a very cool new resource for bringing new life to poetry:
The Poetry Storehouse is an effort to promote new forms and delivery methods for page-poetry by creating a repository of freely-available high-quality contemporary page-poetry for those multimedia collaborative artists who may sometimes be stymied in their work by copyright and other restrictions. Our main mission is to collect and showcase poem texts and, in some instances, audio recordings of those texts. It is our hope that those texts will serve as inspiration or raw material for other artistic creations in different media.
A few of my poems are there too, along with a reading of my 2010 poem “For the Goddess of the Empty Sea” by Nic Sebastian. Do check it out, and maybe even create something new from what you find there.
Something I’ve always liked about Blake’s “The Tyger” (one of my favorites) nicely stated by The Pathology Guy:
Although Blake was hostile (as I am, and as most real scientists are) to attempts to reduce all phenomena to chemistry and physics, Blake greatly appreciated the explosion of scientific knowledge during his era. But there is something about seeing a Tyger that you can’t learn from a zoology class. The sense of awe and fear defy reason. And Blake’s contemporary “rationalists” who had hoped for a tame, gentle world guided by kindness and understanding must face the reality of the Tyger.
There was a beautiful sunset, the kind we get in Texas, all sky and cumulus clouds outside the window of animal emergency a few Fridays ago. Once again Joey and I were back for fluids to cope with an episode of bloody diarrhea. While there, I read Nic Sebastian’s Baobab Girl, a short collection I downloaded a long time ago before I got a Kindle and last Friday, I finally read it.
Sebastian’s Dark and Like a Web is one of my favorite short collections, and this one didn’t disappoint either. Baobab Girl takes the reader all over the world through experience, myth and legend. The language is pure delight: fresh and often startling. Lines like “Ivar’s silver eyes / are moon-lure, his voice / honey of ash sap” have played in my head for days as has the imagery and story told in “Under the Yew.” These 12 poems are to be savored and at some point reread.
Great poetry transports us, and this collection certainly did that. As I finished the last poem, the vet came into the room to tell me Joey would be fine. I was startled. I had almost forgotten I was in the EC with a sick pup and night falling all around.
Posted in books, poetry
After reading Where the Butterflies Go, I was interested to read more of Heather Grace Stewart’s poetry and so next up was Leap, a shorter collection than Butterflies and interesting for the way it moves between the real and online worlds. There are a number of poems in which the author seems to be wrestling with what it means to live in such a socially interconnected time, but as with her other collection my favorites are the poems inspired by parenting since that’s the focus of my life right now. It’s good to read poems that capture parenting and the way it changes marriage with such insight, wisdom, humor and well, yes, grace. A good read all around especially “Autumn Will,” “Beautiful Chaos,” and “Valley.” I look forward to reading her third collection Carry On Dancing, which is coming up soon in my reading pile.
Posted in books, poetry
I just finished reading Canadian poet Heather Grace Stewart’s collection Where the Butterflies Go. The book is divided into three sections: Pain, Growth and Family and it was the last that resonated most with me. Equal parts meditation, celebration and reflection on family life, marriage and parenting, the poems here are full of keen observation of relationships and the small details that make each family unique and special to its members. My world now is so full of learning this whole parenting business, I found myself frequently smiling and nodding along as I read. I especially enjoyed the way Stewart’s book moves between poems that recollect the transition from childhood to adulthood and others that celebrate childhood innocence through the eyes of a wise mother who knows that innocence is fleeting. Beautiful work.
Posted in books, poetry
For the third year in a row, I attempted the NaPoWriMo poem-a-day thing. I managed 34 poems, one each day, 22 of which were small stones and the rest longer form poems. I always have mixed feelings about this as it tends to upset my usual inclination to do some revision before posting. Not that there wasn’t revision, just very little. Still, I think I have some things to work with.
In the past, I’ve managed to write a few April poems that I wind up liking, but this year I’m not so sure. I’m just happy that I was able to write every day, something of a small accomplishment in and of itself. For a while now, the past year really, I’ve been trying to find a way back into daily writing and now that sleep and restful nights are becoming more common, I’m finding the time to get back in touch with that part of myself.
As I said a few years ago after napowrimo, the time spent not writing is just as important as the time spent writing and that hasn’t changed, but carving out a little time to write has brought a bit more balance and even clarity to my days. I am the sort of writer who writes regardless of whether or not inspiration strikes, but if I don’t write every day, I won’t be ready when it does.
I’m still trying to make sense of writing and my relationship to it. I suppose I always will, but I do know that sitting and writing something—anything—every day is critically important whether what I write is good or a rambling post like this one.
Kudos to some of my fellow poem-a-day writers: Deb, Angie and Joseph whose poems I read and greatly enjoyed even if I didn’t comment as much as I should have.
I’m eagerly looking forward to the arrival of my copies of two new books: Ancient Lights by Dick Jones and The Most Beautiful Thing by Fiona Robyn.
Dave Bonta, author of Odes to Tools and the recent Words on the Street inaction comic book, reviewed Birds Nobody Loves over at his blog Via Negativa:
This is a fun book, and light-weight enough to slip easily in a knapsack with the field guides.
I like the idea of it joining the field guides on a birding trip. The review is part of Dave’s amazing annual effort to read and review a poetry book every day during the month of April. I usually wind up buying a few of his picks each year, and this year will be no exception so it’s indeed an honor to have my book included in such fine company. Do go check out the review and be sure to read about some of the other books Dave is reading. Thanks, Dave.
I tried doing this thing of regularly linking to 10 poems, and it rarely got done so I’m downshifting to 5 in the hope that I’ll do this more frequently. Sure it’s fewer poems, but it’s only to serve you better. And, shamelessly, I start off this edition of 5 Poems with one of mine.
“if there are angels” is one of my small stones appearing over at Angie Werren’s feathers blog where Angie shares her beautiful micro-poems and this month she’s sharing her blog with others as part of Couplets: a multi-author poetry blog tour. Thanks, Angie.
“The Grackle” by Pat at Bailey Road: “With outstretched neck / He looks a bit odd / As he searches the skies / For the grackle god.” Wonderful grackle photos there too.
“Playing dodge ball in a super-collider” by Brian Miller: “Poe has a raven, Coleridge an albatross / and i / this parchment sky // where birds turn slow circles searching” Wonderful to find a vulture-inspired poem to follow the grackle one.
“Magpies” by Joseph Harker: “they arrow into the east (which is the future) / where the moon has come up like a wide / plate of marble. It is her face.” I’ve never seen a magpie since they don’t show up here in Texas, but there are a lot of really cool poems about them. This is one of them.
“Respite” by Deb Scott: “a pocket here, a soloist there / an unseen owl makes queries”. Birds and flowers from a spring walk. Great music in this one. Take the time to read it aloud. Deb’s also doing napowrimo so be sure to read some of the other poems she’s writing this crazy month.
Posted in poetry
Tagged 5 poems
First he thought it was the stars, that creaking groan and grind of tired years but with time the tension grew and he realized the problem lay not overhead but underfoot (as problems often do). Some days the gripping stuckness beneath his feet felt tighter and other days it felt looser like someone else’s shoes depending on where he walked and what he ate for breakfast. Out on the plains where the stars rattled so faintly as to be almost inaudible, he located the source of this tension, unzipped the blackland earth and studied the dull gears that moved the gears that made the world go round. He turned a wrench against the machine—so surprisingly simple to adjust, this mechanical universe—and retuned the planet’s motion relative to the earthly key of his own aspirations. That’s the way he explained his good fortune years later as he leaned back in the worn leather chair of his old age, smiling in the knowledge that he was now very close to achieving his lifelong goal of living happily ever after.
For Magpie Tales #109
Mark Stratton, poet, blogger and author of Tender Mercies, interviewed me about writing, poetry, birds, my new book and other topics:
Without naming it, describe for me your favorite beverage?
My favorite beverage consists of ice cold hydrogen atoms joined in a 2:1 ratio with a crisp pure oxygen atom. This beverage is best served over the solid state form of itself.
I hope you’ll go read the whole thing, and also check out mark’s short review of Birds Nobody Loves posted last week.