Monday, December 18, 2006

...and another thing

Today I have been blessed with poems coming in many forms: my friend, Kurt Hein, sent me a compilation of Rumi poems and I choose this one to post because it seems....seasonal.

There Is Something in Us

Imagine a man selling his donkey
to be with Jesus.

Now imagine him selling Jesus
to get a ride on a donkey.
This does happen.

Jesus can transform a drunk into gold.
If the drunk is already golden,
he can be changed to pure diamond.
If already that, he can become the circling
planets, Jupiter, Venus, the moon.

Never think that you are worthless.
God has paid an enormous amount for you,
and the gifts keep arriving.

There is something in us
that has nothing to do with night and day,
grapes that never saw a vineyard.

We are all returning

says the Qur'an. Enjoy Shams,
or if you cannot do that, at least
consider what honest people tell you.

In addition, I have had kind greetings from poets Dorothy Mahoney and Amanda Earl. I met Dorothy at the Glenairley retreat in November and this has been truly serendipitous. In addition to being a vibrant and reflective poet, she is warm and encouraging. It is good to have a new poet friend, out there in Windsor-area land. And I have already mentioned Amanda, today...but am happy to remind you to read her poems, blog, and find her at Bywords.

In the mail, literary magazines. Last week I received Vallum on "The Desert" and am finding it rich. Today, Arc and CV2. Now I have something to savour over the next few days. I was interested to find some of the late Anne Szumigalski's work in CV2...and to read Saskatoon poet Mark Abley. When you have lived in a city, and love it, it's interesting to read a poet's works, and Abley narrates a poem in which street names from Saskatoon...Warman Road...appear as part of the geography, and it takes me immediately to those places. It also takes me to memory: back in the days when I was a U. of S. student and did not know much about anything poetic, I had a friend who took me over to another friend's place for tea. The mother who served the tea was Anne Szumigalski. I knew she was a poet, but how could I have known that I would be reading her work, and remembering her, for decades? I think, perhaps, my innocence kept me from having a bad case of the 'groupies'. I still get a little thrill when I encounter a familiar name in a magazine I reading Pamela Porter and Barbara Pelman in Arc and CV2. Both were at Glenairley, and it is no surprise to find their work in these lovely, lovely magazines.

A good day for poetry.

More good news

This morning I received a note from Amanda Earl, at Bywords, that three of my poems will be published in their winter edition, and an invitation to read at their winterfest at Chapters Rideau on January 21, 2007. If you will be in the Ottawa area, come on over!

I can't say enough about Bywords. Amanda, along with her husband Charles and several volunteer readers, do an amazing job of making poetry accessible and visible in the Ottawa Valley. The chapbooks are interesting and affordable, the opportunities to read and share the poems truly outstanding, and Amanda's personal dedication to all things poetic is remarkable. Plus she is a really wonderful poet herself.

This is my shout out for Bywords...for encouragement, and for caring, and for excellence.

Friday, December 15, 2006

More from bywords

Please have a look at this month's bywords online, where I am one of three featured poets...hope you enjoy.

I also received a little hello from Prairie Fire, with some encouraging words about some poems I had submitted (one of those you almost made it ones) so I sent them some more.

Read poems! Write a few if you can! What better reflection over holiday times?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Your Turn

Amanda Earl "tagged" me with a poetry quiz this morning. I am sending it on to the poets I met at Glenairley.

Here are my responses:

The first poem I remember reading/hearing/reacting to was… probably a nursery rhyme, and later a 'classic' but the first time a poem really hit me was hearing Walt Whitman read aloud.

I was forced to memorize numerous poems in school and…well, no, I wasn't.

I read poetry because…it connects with some part of me that nothing else reaches.

A poem I’m likely to think about when asked about a favorite poem isSong of Myself. No question. I have learned to read many, many poems since Whitman, but that was the first time I realized poetry was not a Hallmark card, and had real meaning.

I write poetry, but…I wonder if it's simply a therapy for me or if the words, when someone else reads them or hears them, have a meaning beyond the personal. I hope so.

My experience with reading poetry differs from my experience with reading other types of literature because…I hear it in my mind more clearly.

I find poetry…more compelling than most other forms of literature. I think it's form + emotion that does that...meaning in a small space.

The last time I heard poetry was…yesterday evening. Once a month, I attend a poetry evening at my cousin's home. He is an Ottawa poet and holds a group called "the Ottawa Creative Writers' Group" which is now about 12 years old. I have been attending for almost three of those years.

I think poetry is like …eating a beautiful gourmet meal. You don't feel sick and full afterwards but know that you have tasted something beautiful and that your heart, mind and soul have been fed all at the same time.