Once again, it's time for Last Wednesday Wisdom. On the last Wednesday of every month, I serve up a potpourri of advice, inspiration and other tidbits I've come across in recent weeks. We've been celebrating National Poetry Month all of this month, so today I'm sharing poetry-related morsels.
And if you're wondering how I did with the poetry month challenge I introduced at the beginning of the month, read to the end for a report.
Poetry is truth in its Sunday clothes.
-- Joseph Roux
If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.
-- Emily Dickinson
Poetry is eternal graffiti written in the heart of everyone.
-- Lawrence Ferlinghetti
We all tell stories and write poems . . . to keep awe and aspiration and comprehension and the other components of hopeful lives bright in each other's hearts.
-- Barry Lopez in Poets & Writers, Jan/Feb 2016
If you can't be a poet, be the poem.
-- David Carradine
Poetry is the journal of a sea animal living on land, wanting to fly in the air.
-- Carl Sandburg
When I first started writing poetry as a high schooler, I adopted what I call "The Seven Layers of Enigma" model. I wrote a verse that I did not understand, but was sure that others would marvel at simply because it was so inscrutable.
-- Joseph Bathanti in The Writer, April 2016
We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, but of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry.
-- William Butler Yeats
Poetry is like a bird, it ignores all frontiers.
-- Yevgeny Yevtushenko
So, about that challenge. At the beginning of the month, I vowed to read poetry every day. That I did. I read my way through David Tucker's poetry collection, Late for Work and dipped into Trumbull Ave. by Michael Lauchlan, whom I met at this year's Rally of Writers in Lansing, Michigan. I also discovered Ada Limón and John Brehm, whose poems appear in the May 2016 issue of The Sun. And of course, I loved reading the work of HeartWood guest bloggers Jonathan Riedel and Sandra Bernard.
But there was another part to that challenge. I pledged to write a poem a day. I did write poems, more than I've ever written in one month (fifteen so far, and the month isn't over). But some days slipped by poem-less. Other days, I deliberately followed the advice of Ansel Adams, quoted in last month's installment of Last Wednesday Wisdom:
When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.
I guess there were quite a few fuzzy-word days and not many silent ones, because I took a LOT of photographs. For example:
But even if I missed some days, I kept coming back to writing poems--trying different forms and sometimes making a game of it. One of the most fun things I tried was taking random words from someone else's poems and trying to make my own poem from those words. I won't go into detail here, but if you'd like to read more about the process and what I came up with, click here.
Now that I've given you my report, tell me how you did with your poetry month challenges. I know some of you planned to read poetry, others were inspired to write their own or paint pictures. Let's hear how that went!
Written from the heart,
from the heart of the woods
Read the introduction to HeartWood here.
Nan Sanders Pokerwinski, a former journalist, writes memoir and personal essays, makes collages and likes to play outside. She lives in West Michigan with her husband, Ray.