Poetry: A Path into Wonder.

Poetry month

April is National Poetry Month.

I love seeing what poems have touched people’s hearts as they share them on-line.

I love that we take a month to celebrate poets and how they see the world, how they allow us to see the world a little more clearly, a little more deeply.

I’ve had a complicated relationship with poetry. I resented that I didn’t always understand it. I resented being told what it meant. I resented being told that how I interpreted it was “wrong.”

How could I be wrong? These words touched me and like a tuning fork, reverberated within me. How could that be wrong?

I remember the first time I was drawn back to poetry as an adult. I was out of school so it wasn’t for an assignment. It was out of curiosity, out of joy. I was reading Natalie Goldberg and she shared coming across a book of poetry by Erica Jong about vegetables. Eggplant, I think. And she thought, “You can write poetry about eggplant?”

That was my thought, too.

I thought poetry had to be obscure and about serious things like “death.”

I started to dip my toe back into the pool of poetry. I remember reading a poem by Marge Piercy in her book, “My Mother’s Body.” It is called “Six Underrated Pleasures” where she writes a series of poems about:

  1. Folding sheets
  2. Picking pole beans
  3. Taking a hot bath
  4. Sleeping with cats
  5. Planting bulbs
  6. Canning

Wait. Poetry could be be about simple pleasures? It could be about folding a sheet?

Of course it could. Poetry is a path deep into the moment, not unlike yoga. Which is probably why I usually read a poem at the end of every yoga class I teach.

Poets know how to be present.

I am dawn to poetry that seems like it is about something mundane, like folding a sheet, or watching a grasshopper but then it veers off and I fall into this abyss of wonder.

That is what poetry is for me. A path into wonder.

It allows me to see the world with fresh eyes and an open heart, flinging me out into the beauty of an ordinary moment.

The Summer Day

Image found via Pinterest.

 

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A Book I Love. #TBT

Each Thursday in honor of #TBT, I am going to feature a book that I truly love, that helped shape me as a writer, as a woman, as a human.

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I’ve always been wary of poetry. Never feeling quite smart enough to get it. I think high school dissections of poems did that to me. Since I went to art school, I wasn’t exposed to poetry as part of my education. So, as part of my self-education as a writer and a human, I explored poetry myself. Not poems that I was told I should read, but poems that spoke to me, that lured me in somehow.

I remember being drawn in by the title of this collection and back then I had been devouring all of her novels. I skimmed through it and came across this poem at the end called “Six underrated pleasures.” Six pieces on folding sheets, picking pole beans, taking a hot bath, sleeping with cats, planting bulbs, and canning.

You could write about folding sheets? That was poetry? My world cracked open. Poetry didn’t have to be dense and impenetrable. Poetry was simply paying deep attention to what was right in front on you.

“Whenever I fold a fitted sheet

making the moves that are like

closing doors, I feel my mother.

The smell of clean laundry is hers.”