Thursday, September 29, 2011

Poetry Friday: Only Love Can Do That

“I don’t believe poetry should be a solitary intellectual adventure. It should be a relationship with people, it should forge a connection. Good poetry does not belong to the poet.” ---Dolores Kendrick, D.C. Poet Laureate, in this interview with the Washington Post

I've been gone from this blog for almost three months now, and it's not because I was on "a solitary intellectual adventure" (although I've been revising a YA novel.) It had mostly to do with three successive moves in the family---or what we have dubbed The Summer of the U-Haul Truck. Which has ended happily with two children in new digs and my husband and I now living in a row house with its own library.

(This picture is pre-books.
Now it's full, every inch of it.)

Still, after a three-month break, it's hard to re-engage with blogging without thinking about why I'm doing it. It's a question authors get asked a lot: Why do you write? (Yes, blogging is writing.) At this past weekend's National Book Festival (to which I walked, thanks to our new location) I heard Gary Schmidt say he writes because a book may be the only companion a child has. He visited a prison where six locked doors separated the kids from the outside world, where the inmates were allowed no personal possessions, and yet, they had been able to read his book and could talk to him about it. One child said he identified with the dog in the story---because he himself would never be able to have one.

Me, Gary Schmidt, and Sondy Eklund
at the National Book Festival
Which brings me back again to the quote above, about poetry not belonging to the poet. Or, as Gary Schmidt might say, books don't belong to the author---they go where they are needed. And yet, it's the age of personal vocalizing. Blogs enable us to catcall, cheer, kvetch, croon, and crystalize our every thought. So does this blog, in fact, belong to me, in a way my poems or my novels don't?

In answer, I overheard last night a cell phone conversation at 2:00am. We sleep with our windows open, and the bay window in our bedroom amplifies sound from the sidewalk below. Usually, it's remarkably quiet---the first morning in the new house, we were awakened in this great city by a noisy. . . bird.  But last night, Mr. Angry Man crept into my sleep, gradually wakening me as he and his phone walked into my hearing zone, until I surfaced to this loud bellow: "I texted you yesterday that I WAS FINE!!!" I could even hear the unintelligible but anguished reply of his cell phone friend before he passed out of range.

So, dear friends, I am fine. This blog is fine. I do write almost all of it as a solitary adventure. I have no routine. No set mission. No way to permanently hold onto the posts or poems that I put out there.

But I don't think I want to do it without a connection with you. You are the only reason I write.

So welcome to Poetry Friday.  Please leave your links in the comments below and I'll round them up.

In lieu of a poem, I'd like to contribute these words from Martin Luther King, whose speech was often poetic. They can be found on his new memorial, which is now open to the public---and is a very long walk from my home, and yet on the day of the National Book Festival, we did that too. Because we could.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; Only light can do that
Hate cannot drive out hate; Only love can do that.

Please read Sondy's wonderful writeup of Gary Schmidt's talk and the rest of the National Book Festival.

Poetry Friday Connections:

Poet Charles Ghigna summons us with an original poem, "Drum Beats," at his new blog, FATHER GOOSE.

Robyn embarked on a walk with "binoculars and optimism," and comes back with The Birds by Linda Pastan.

Teacher Dance collects poems of goodbye for her students, and she shares a lovely one in her post, Endings Hold Mixed Emotions.

At Gathering Books, another teacher celebrates former students through the poetry of their father in The Ties That Bind.

Jone is trumpeting the Cybils Poetry Team today. Huzzah, Poetry! And as Jone says, don't forget that Cybils nominations open tomorrow, October 1st. 

Diane brings a whole basket of poetry links for us: an original poem at Random Noodling"The Oleo Kid" at Kids of the Homefront Armya poem by Gail Mazur at Kurious Kitty and a quote by Joan Giroux.Kurious K's Kwotes'.

At The Poem Farm, Amy is thinking about time and things we "used to do." She reminds me of why I have my old Raggedy Ann doll in my writing office. 

Julie Larios at The Drift Record wants us to meet two geniuses. She has videos about Kay Ryan and A.E. Stallings, two poets who received MacArthur Foundation grants this week. (Bonus: the word "hokum" is used.)  Plus she has enticed me with her call for Poetry Advocates for Children and Young Adults. Visit "Poetry at Play" and spread the word.

Pentimento is tending to Blake's illustrated poem, The Sick Rose.

Jeff Barger reveals how walking sticks, luna moths, and ladybugs can rock multiplication problems in his STEM/Poetry Friday post, Multiply on Fly.   

Mary Lee at A Year of Reading always has fantastic poetry to share, and today it's a glorious Linda Pastan poem about fall. Go and roll the word "pumpkin" off your tongue.

Love is in the air at Laura Purdie Salas's blog, but with an amusing twist: love poems from one animal to another by the ever-creative  Marilyn Singer. Plus, Laura has her usual (and always unintimidating) invitation to join her in creating 15 Words or Less poems.

Karen Edmisten dips into The Writer's Almanac for her poetry selection today, a pithy bit of wisdom called September Visitors.

Can I quote Maria Horvath on her blog post today? She says Carl Sandburg explains what love was, is, and shall be. A spectacular poem that I'm clipping straight into my poetry common book. 

Rice on your sock? Poems from the "purple cursive of her veins"?  How to Tell If a Korean Woman Loves You by Christy NaMee Eriksen, a glorious find by Tabatha Yeatts.  

Ha! J. Patrick Lewis is always clever, and his poem, One Cow, Two Moos, is that and more. (Be prepared to groan a bit at the pun.) Thanks to Debbie Diller for sharing it. 

On the Stenhouse Blog, Maine teacher/author, Anne Tommaso explores why "Poetry demands you return when you are different." Dang. An exploding kind of thought if there ever was one.

If you've never read Mary Oliver, let this post hit you between the eyes: Joyce Ray gives us Oliver at her finest. 

Liz Garton Scanlon knows how to ease you past a dry spell. Today, you can linger with her and savor Nothing by Ken Mikolowski.

Poetry can take on anything. Even Animal Fights. Thanks, Anastasia Suen for another STEM/Poetry Friday mashup.

I feel a swearing fit coming on after reading Jama's post, "Manners" by Kim Addonizio. But I promise not to take it out in the Clorox aisle at Safeway.

So it turns out Julie Larios (above) was right about POETRY AT PLAY---it's fabulous. You'll be a regular subscriber/cheerleader/greatbighonkingfan after this post about master poet David McCord.

Andi Sibley at the wrung sponge reviews At the Sea Floor Cafe. More science and poetry!

Heidi Mordhorst is joining us with a poem from "the trenches of 7th grade" (hoo-boy, those can be deep!)  and news about the release of the p*tag digital poetry anthology.

Gregory K, you had me at fried: Things I Saw Fried at the Fair Thing I want most to taste fried? One of those chewy orange circus peanuts. Or possibly popcorn. Can popcorn be re-fried?

Elaine Magliaro is "Saving Summer" at Blue Rose Girls and talking furniture, reclaiming a room, and grandbabies at Wild Rose Reader. Cute baby alert!

I'm one of those stab-able morning people. (I'm even worse after coffee and a run.)  So thanks, JoAnn Early Macken, for We Are the Early Risers. Wade in, morning lovers, wade in.

Sally Ito at PaperTigers shares a book her daughter loved (the best kind!): The Eleventh Hour by Graeme Base.

For all those who have gotten sidetracked while pursuing the muse: Not the Poem I Wanted to Write by David Elzey.  How true it is, David.

Carlie celebrates webs which "bloom with bursts of silver thread" in her original poem.  Lovely indeed.

Ah, our "bootless cries." What to do when consumed by them? Ruth has Shakespeare's answer in Sonnet XXIX.

Judy is musing on "these seamstresses’ chalks and golden needles" in Galway Kinnel's poem, The Shroud.