In a few weeks, I'll be heading to a part of the country I've never visited before to take part in Western Washington University's Poetry Camp. I'm excited about the trip and the people I'll meet there--fellow poet/presenters whose poems are included in the Poetry Friday Anthology series compiled by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong and the audience of teachers, librarians, and writers.
This summer has been loaded with distractions, so on a recent trip to the library, I grabbed an armload of poetry books to study so I could focus on poetry again. I started with Ted Kooser, whose work feels so comfortable, comforting, and at the same time eye-opening. I read his sweet Valentines and then his brilliant Delights and Shadows. That one made me want to write a bit, so I contributed a quick draft to Laura Purdie Salas's 15 Words or Less Poems yesterday. I felt a little bit like a poet again.
Today, I started my morning with Mary Oliver's Owls and Other Fantasies. Here's what jumped out at me:
...Listen, everyone has a chance.
Is it spring, is it morning?
Are there trees near you,
and does your own soul need comforting?
Quick, then--open the door and fly on your heavy feet; the song
may already be drifting away.
--from "Such Singing in the Wild Branches"
...Ah, world, what lessons you prepare for us,
even in the leafless winter,
even in the ashy city.
I am thinking now of grief, and getting past it;
I feel my boots
trying to leave the ground,
I feel my heart
pumping hard. I want
to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.
--from "Starlings in Winter"
I'm always looking for something when I read; often, I don't know what. I found something today in the poems quoted here and also in "Yes! No!"
"To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work."
Always a good thing to remember, I think, both for writing and for life.
Today's Poetry Friday Roundup is at The Poem Farm. Enjoy!