Here we are at the near end of National Poetry Month. Did you do anything to celebrate? Buy a book of poetry (I highly recommend this one)? Read more poetry? Write more poetry? Perform and read your poetry in front of an audience? Attend a poetry reading?
I watched more performance poetry since I prefer spoken word. I have one last one to share with you. This performance by Katie Makkai of her poem, “Pretty”.
Let this inspire you to write 100 words (in poem form or not) on:
A short and sweet post dear word-nerds. And can I just mention how humbled I am that you come back week after week and share here with me and each other? Because I am.
The cat cleans herself next to me. It soothes me. Her tiny silky skull, her pink tongue, the soft grays and creams and orange of her fur. It soothes me to know that she is unaware of the foibles of humans. She can’t read the news, or understand the images on the screen. All she knows is that it is time to clean, or time to nap, or time to eat, or time for affection, or time to play fetch, or time to stretch lazily in a patch of sunlight.
She blinks at me when she is done, curls herself alongside my thigh, and sighs once deeply.
Obviously this is not a photo of a cat curled up sighing and sleeping. I pulled it from the archives so as to preserve the present moment as it is.
I’ve taken to sketching again, something I’ve not done on a regular basis since high school. I didn’t know where to start so I returned to a childhood favorite, Dorrie the Little Witch. Here’s the results of my first pass.
Despite all the cold, we did manage to plant a few things in the ground.
These are the things I’ve been doing to stay grounded and sane despite the media onslaught of bad news these days. This is how I unplug.
A friend shared this song with me today. Songs are poetry too, so apropos for this month’s theme in honor of National Poetry Month, and apropos to the news and my mood about it. Also, it’s from the “dystopian folk opera” Hadestown by Anais Mitchell (a Vermont native).
There is so much awesome in that last sentence that I’ll just stop there and let you listen to the song:
Your word this week, my dear word-nerdlings, is:
Do something radical and brave with it. Even if it’s to write your first 100 words.
By now you’ve heard the terrible news about the Boston bombing. I live in Massachusetts, have friends in Boston. A few years ago my sister lived there. It’s rattling, as all tragedies that feel too close to home are.
Everyone I know and love is safe. I get to say that. Several people don’t. Not the people whose legs were blown off, or the families who lost someone today. I don’t know what else to do, so I cook for my family and then scroll through the endless stream of tweets and Facebook posts and Instagram photos and YouTube videos and Google+ discussions and live blog updates from the news sources. I think I forget to blink for a while and my eyes get dry.
I need to know how people are going to handle this, that’s what it’s about. Bombs going off in a city two hours away from me is terrifying, but sometimes so is what happens after.
Last night, before all this, I was watching some videos of performance poet Kate Tempest. It is still National Poetry Month after all. She was recently awarded the Ted Hughes award for innovation in poetry. Here is one of her more recent:
I try to find reminders every day that there are people creating things, bringing fierce beauty, shining light, offering a hand, keeping it real.
Your word this week, dear word-nerds, is pulled from this Kate Tempest performance:
Do good things.
Hey word-nerds, I hope you all know that April is National Poetry Month. I looked for one article or post I could share with you that would sum it up, but there was too much. Instead I’ll just direct you to the Poetry Foundation where you can read as little or as much as you please about it, and browse some poetry while you’re at it.
I have a funny relationship to poetry. I like to hear it read, especially if it’s read by the author, and even more so if the author has a sultry or gritty voice. But in most cases I’d prefer a painful and unnecessary medical procedure to reading a book of poetry. There are exception of course. Mary Oliver, Laurie Ann Guerrero, Adrienne Rich, or Galway Kinnell to name a few.
Kinnell is from my homeland Vermont, and I had the pleasure of hearing him read at a local venue at a time when I was distinctly and helplessly in love.
He read, among other poems, The Perch, and it hummed in my body for days, months, years. Here’s an excerpt:
I looked to see if my friend had heard, but she was stepping about on her skis, studying the trees, smiling to herself, her lips still filled, for all we had drained them, with hundreds and thousands of kisses.
Forgive the formatting problems. My WordPress theme doesn’t like poetry and wants to put enormous spaces between lines. The entire poem, properly formatted, can be found here. And the word this week, from the same poem, is:
P.S. I apologize for not making the rounds to all your posts last week, but my computer was in the shop until a couple nights ago. Been playing mad catch up on all things since.
The article, How to be a Failure for a Month, Year, or Decade and Still be Okay, written by Christina Fitzpatrick is a witty, sometimes funny, essay on how much it sucks to be a creative type in a world of people who think 9-5 with a steady paycheck is the only sane way to live.
She laments on the unsolicited advice:
In bars, at dinner parties, even minding my own business on airplanes or among close friends — everyone wants to give me advice. Maybe you should become a schoolteacher? A paralegal? How about a nurse? A nurse in a psych ward?
And then gives advice (7 rules to be exact) on how to stay sane as a creative type whose income or job description isn’t as concrete as others would like it to be. My favorite was #6, “Avoid Shitty People“.
What kind of shitty people? The ones that say, “So are you still writing? Acting? Competitive eating?” The ones who say it with an intonation of incredulity, the ones who treat anything you’ve ever achieved as something distant, small, or lackluster. The ones who mention someone else who’s doing everything you do better at a younger age with more money to show for it. This person is shitty — far, far shittier than the dude who stole your purse or ransacked your bank account or forgot to tell you he was cheating on you. You wouldn’t hang out with the purse thief or the identity thief or the heart thief, so why are you hanging out with the good-vibes thief?
Avoid him. Keep your prized feelings in a safe. Lock your windows and doors. If he still appears, through an air vent or forgotten crawl space, inform him that you are feeling murderous. And be compelling.
Avoid shitty people. That’s pretty much my New Year’s resolution from now on. Every year. Even if I didn’t know a single shitty person, or any persons who are not shitty generally but have their weak moments, it would still be my New Year’s resolution. It’s just so good in that way that it applies to everything you can think of, and it makes you smile about things that are otherwise, well, shitty.
I pulled this week’s word from Fitzpatrick’s 6th rule: