I’ve been in Colorado visiting friends and family since early June, and I admit to being a bit homesick by now.
This week, I’ll be co-facilitating a poetry therapy Intensive Training with my friend and mentor, Kay Adams, founder of the Center for Journal Therapy and the Therapeutic Writing Institute, where I’m currently teaching an on line class called Mary Oliver at the Beach. The other facilitator working with us is my friend Susan de Wardt, artist, coach, poetry/journal facilitator, and past president of the International Federation for Biblio/Poetry Therapy.
This summer I have met a man who told me quietly that he has written 500 limericks; a woman who said she just might be able to write a poem now that I’ve assured her that it doesn’t have to rhyme; and a group of women from around the country who sat in circle to write memories of landscape with the talented and insightful Kate Thompson and Mary Reynolds-Thompson.
Closer to Home
Until I’m back in the warm embrace of the Rogue Valley (did I say “warm?” Maybe I mean HOT!), I’ll enjoy sharing with you a poem by Medford poet Carol Brockfield.
Carol is past president of the Rogue Valley Unit of the Oregon Poetry Association, and currently serves on the OPA Board. She’s a former editor and in any crit group can be counted on to suggest improvements in stanza shape, punctuation, and other vital components of poetic craft.
Here is Carol’s poem, and her answers to The Big Three:
Things in Jars
I might keep them in jars
if I kept things in jars
Lining the windowsills
tops firmly affixed
contents imprisoned there
naked behind glass walls
staring out at the world
mute with resignation
ready to be put to use
I put them in boxes
give them some privacy
Carol’s Big Three
I’ve been doing this since I first could write/print, on old greeting cards, bills, receipts, ledgers–what paper happened to be at hand for me to deface. Let me repeat what I’ve been told: The writing gets easier and better the longer you do it!
2. I absolutely love Billy Collins. Humor has it’s place in poetry, and is much neglected as weightier and more philosophical styles abound. I admire Collins’ quirky viewpoints and confess to being influenced by him. Also, how could any poet in Oregon not say how much they have read and reread William Stafford’s work? (Quite the opposite to Collins!)
3. One of my favorite topics is encouraging beginning writers. (It makes no difference how old you are!) The habit of responding to your feelings and to the world around you in writing rewards and strengthens you. And see the last sentence in my answer to question one: Your writing will become more fulfilling with practice; Just do it! Learn as you go!
Carol added: I understandably enjoy hearing the best local poets read their work. I also attend the Downtowne Coffee House open mic (second Thursday evenings) to identify new fledgling poets and witness brand-new poets reading for perhaps their first time! I have recently read from my own work to young people (NW Poetics, in Corvallis) and to seniors (Skylark retirement home in Ashland) and find both audiences enthusiastic and receptive.
More About Carol:
I have contributed to a number of literary journals and anthologies (including Cimarron Review, Chicago Cram, Lavender Review, and Generations of Poetry) and self-published three themed chapbooks: “She Walks,” about the sudden death of my mother, “Knife in Hand,” about raising meal worms for wild birds, and “At Leaf’s Edge,” the year’s go-around in the garden. A longer work, “Waiting for the Dark,” is comprised of other poems, older and more recent, written in different locales. I have a much neglected website–leafsedge.wordpress.com–and would be very happy to receive any comments about almost anything: email@example.com.
Let Me Hear From You!
If you’ve been on the road this summer, send me a note about your travels, especially if you’ve written a poem about it all. I love hearing from you.