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!
4/27/2016 07:35:14 am
Responding to your exercise, a "found" poem from craigslist posts written years ago:
4/27/2016 07:38:42 am
Love the idea -- and the poem!
Awesome photos--I certainly thought the leaf and sun photo was a professional one. For some reason, it spoke to me. Perhaps I should write a poem about it? And so many great quotes. I'll probably swipe some. Now I must go back and click the links for more tidbits from you. Love your Wednesday Wisdom.
4/27/2016 04:40:08 pm
Thanks, JQ. That photo was one of my favorites, too. Glad you're enjoying Wednesday Wisdom!
4/27/2016 09:15:01 am
I saw Billy Collins last night - does that count?
4/27/2016 04:41:06 pm
Live poetry counts double. At least!
4/28/2016 07:10:05 am
I like your creative eye with photos, expecially the oil cans; and it made me realize that I too express my poetry through photography.Thankyou! Also, Eldon and I wrote a song a few days ago called" they burned the baithouse down". Does that count? ♡
4/28/2016 08:24:08 am
That's really true about your photos, Tonya. And yes! The song you and Eldon wrote certainly counts BIG in the poetry challenge. (I want to hear it!)
4/28/2016 09:15:12 am
If I can find enough good material, yes. I'll see what the other half of this couple thinks (and thanks for compliment) ♡
10/5/2016 03:35:19 pm
I was just struck by the superficial similarities to the more famous paintings.
10/26/2016 07:10:14 am
I confess, I don't know the paintings to which you refer. Enlighten me, please!
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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.