When a poem is about to be, keep your hands ready. It might have words, but sometimes instead it has sounds, flashes of light and color, pressure like an April gale, a lift of wing. I always thought it strange that such fragile things as bird eggs are laid high in tree boughs. There’s that … Continue reading Careful, as with eggs
Just starting to get used to daylight savings time, and just enjoying the sunrise view from my dining room until springtime brings leaves to hide the horizon for several months. A pair of doves waits with me for rosy light to spill over the river. Now. We write a poem on the minutes. If you … Continue reading Awake
I know, that’s backwards. It’s usually “effortless effort,” the Zen approach to living. But I think it may be more realistic and compassionate to say that putting in a focused effort upfront pays off in the practice of most things. One of my friends asked me when I’m going to add “watercolorist” to my profile … Continue reading Effortful effortlessness
It's as necessary to listen to rain, and then to go for a walk in it, as it is to sit down with pen and notebook. I'm writing a poem in hope of unraveling my thoughts about the shootings in Atlanta this week. Imagine how snarled up those thoughts are for many, between experience and … Continue reading Thought or bird
pi day song - Observing sometimes means counting. How many times over, or how many iterations, repetitions in a pattern—these details are necessary to an act of keen artistic understanding. Time spent observing, letting the eye circle its shrine while interiorly circumambulating the heart’s concerns, isn’t counted. In fact, it puts time back into your … Continue reading Beautiful numbers
Saffron mood — Surprise flowers are a good strategy in love. A friend just reminded me of some translations I wrote a while back of Tamil love poetry. Maybe I’ll translate more this spring.
Try to get to the poem underneath a day, and the words just float on the surface sometimes. Then, it's better for me to revise and read and wonder. I'm thinking of my teen students who are sending their final submissions to Scholastic Art & Writing Awards today--our regional deadline. Those hours over the line breaks, word choices, image... … Continue reading Unfiltered
My shelf of how-to-write-creatively books is pretty small, but since someone asked me today, I made a quick list: Claims for Poetry, ed. Donald Hall. Some of my favorite essays on poetry are collected here. The Making of a Poem, eds. Mark Strand and Eavan Boland. Lovely to read this primer on poetic forms, partly … Continue reading How-to