I haven't written much mommy-related poetry lately. But I've found that part of being a good mom, or at least a sane one, is taking the time to do your own thing, like attending the poetry reading last week at Meredith College. Ted Kooser, US poet laureate, and Kay Byer, NC poet laureate were worth the trip to Raleigh. The readings were great, but I was also interested in the poetry "scene." The politics. I realized that I may get an MFA and hope to publish more, but the scene is a bit yucky and sad.
The readings themselves were amazing. And if you think about the concept, really think about it, how cool is it that people packed a chapel to hear two people's words? Byer's poems are totally diffferent in the air than on the page, and Kooser is a true storyteller. I learned just from paying attention to pacing, line breaks, humor, presence. Here's a poem I wrote right after:
Delights in the Shadow
Old poet crosses one leg in front
of the other, leans on podium, lets
his voice pebble the stage:
echo around audience.
He explains: his poetry is observation
of single moments expanded and ladened
with metaphor. He takes himself out
of the picture, unless, of course,
when writing about his own love
of women's love, his lapping of
feeblest of fame.
Eyes behind glasses focus far away
on well-worn yarn from one
appearance to the next, across land
in chapels like this, auditoriums, homes.
This is what he's paid for:
this stretching of the wool,
slight variations of texture
and color of his tweed coat.
No applause, each closure of
followed by a collective moan
of surprise and quiet satisfaction.
He's got us. We shuffle before
Afterward, someone will probably ask:
how he started writing poetry,
how he gets his ideas, how he knows
when a poem is done.
So he's ready with humor:
small, skinny kid tries to get the girls,
and sagacity: ideas are in attention
and the inevitable: a poem is never
complete, it's abandoned.
He removes glasses, wipes slowly
with a cloth, or maybe
that was in his poem. Either way,
it was for the effect of slowing
down time, tightening frame:
and it worked.
Check out Poetry Hut
today to find out why Kooser recently said, "I was never much of a student, and now I'm a doctor."