So many poems have been falling out of the sky lately and landing on my head/page/lap/grocery list/tire repair receipt– everywhere. I love this gift of life and learning, the hard work that goes into it, but also the inevitability. The roll of it. Honoring this means stopping to get against a solid service to get the line down, and it also means granting permission to do so rather than denigrating my talent with bullshit like “Oh, that’s stupid” or “Who even reads poems anyway?” or “I can’t do this.”
Answers: “No it’s not.” “Everyone, whether they realize it or not.” “Yes you can.” Good, glad that’s clear now.
Lately I am in a fever dream of production, and it feels honest and raw: an earthquake rumbling my consciousness. Some sadness has come of it too– confronting loss, disappointment, heartbreak. This is often where the goods are, but all must be carefully handled lest the kryptonite dissolve into all my high school angst (which I still secretly love and honor despite myself). For this reason alone it can be wonderful to teach and to be a high school English teacher, so lurkingly close to the source.
The artist M. Lamar recently posted the following note on Facebook that stopped me cold: “I have always seen my art making as constantly being introduced to myself by myself and that introduction being a surprisingly unexpected encounter with a stranger.” Beautifully stated.
This can also be intensely scary. Ergo, for an additional vitamin boost of empathy, insight, generous spirit, and absolute courage, I recommend this post by composer Nico Muhly on mental health and getting out of your own way. Aaaaah.
My own pen churns my soul’s soil to offer up a funny little bounty. Sometimes I plant for big fruit and come away only with a miserly strawberry, sunburnt and shriveled. Other times I toss a few seeds and walk away, hands in empty pockets, only to return to glorious rows of opalescent growth in the form of lines, words, whole compositions, images spreading across the page. It’s spring now, and my first chapbook is underway.
Other iotas of upcomingness: Three new poems forthcoming in the summer edition of the lit journal Kestrel, short stories in The Watershed Review and Little Patuxent Review, and a guest poet situation at Poets House. Gratitude and daffodils to it all…. now where’s my trowel?