Thursday, April 2, 2015

Celebrate Poetry This Month!

Image result for national poetry month

It's National Poetry month. This time of celebrating poetry and poets rolls around every April and I am always happy to recognize it. So many people shy away from both reading and writing poetry. It's a shame as there is pleasure in doing both. 

One of the things I particularly like about a book of poetry is that it's not a one-time read like many novels. Instead, leave it on your bedside table or by your favorite chair and pick it up now and then and read the book again. I find more in a poem every time I read it. 

The reason I asked my poet friend, Roy Beckemeyer, to do a few guest posts here is to stir up some interest in reading, and writing, poetry. Roy writes wonderful poetry and he's a fine teacher for the uninitiated, as well. 

I have featured a poem from another poet friend, Ronda Miller, in an earlier post. I must ask Ronda to consider doing a guest post here, too. Her poem, Moonstain, left a deep impression on me.

Many years ago, when I was in college, I helped in a fifth grade class in a campus lab elementary school as part of my Junior Partiicpation requirement. The classroom teacher gave me some responsibilites with the class and graded me on how I performed. In November, she told me I would be taking over the Language Arts class for a few days and she suggested I work with the students in some creative writing aimed at the Thanksgiving holiday. The writer in me came to the surface, even though I wasn't writing at the time. We wrote a class poem about Thanksgivng. The kids moved from Oh no! to That was fun. I wish I had saved the poem but I didn't. I had no idea in 1959 that I'd like to have it in hand when writing a blog. more than 50 years later! I didn't know a lot about poetry but I winged it and the project turned out well.

It's the same now. I've never had formal training in writing poetry--have never taken a class. But I've read a few articles and books on the subject and I've tried my hand at writing poems. Some of the results were pretty awful but some turned out quite alright.

Anyone can write a poem that comes from the heart. It may not be perfect in a professional poet's view, but if it pleases you, so be it. For the beginning poet, free verse seems to work best. I don't try most of the many forms of poetry because I don't know enough about them, but free verse is one I can tackle and I bet you can, too.

This is a poem I wrote after I accidentally knocked one of my husband's pottery collection pots off a pedestal. I felt bad that it had happened and the poem came from that. I rather liked it and enterd it in my state authors annual contest. The judge wrote notes all over the paper that had me mystified at first, then sent me into laughter. She thought that the pot signified my marriage, that I was getting a divorce and/or the victime of spousal abuse. Believe me, nothing is farther from the truth but it shows how some interpret the poetry they read. Here's the poem. See if you can figure out how she came to that conclusion. So many poems are metaphorical and she must have been thinking on those lines. This one was just plain fact!


                                                His treasured pot—art piece
                                                bought in a gallery on a
                                                warm winter day in Texas,
                                                one more for his growing collection--
                                                now in shards, the tall pedestal on
                                                which it posed still teetering,
                                                while my heart stops, then beats,
                                                erratic but pumping life’s blood.

                                                I kneel and gather the small pieces,
                                                place them inside one larger chunk,
                                                still rocking after its shattering fall.
                                                A sob catches in my throat.
                                                I barely brushed the pedestal with the
                                                empty laundry basket in my hand,
                                                an accident. Will he forgive me?
                                                Nearly five decades together, so
                                                he surely loves me more than this
                                                one hand-done piece. He has others.

                                               I want to remind him that he
                                               once broke my favorite crystal pitcher,
                                              Waterford that is made no more.
                                              I want to bring it up, but I won’t.
                                              I will say I’m sorry, and be sincere,
                                              and he will forgive, but will he forget?
                                             My hand slides across the pedestal’s cold
                                              marble top. What will rest there next?

                                                                            ---Nancy Julien Kopp 2011

1 comment:

  1. What people read between the lines probably tells you a lot about where they are coming from, too!