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Posts Tagged ‘The Practice of Poetry’

Poetry Friday is with Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe

Photo from Flickr: Kelly Colgan Azar

When I was home last weekend with my parents and my sister’s family, we watched a Carolina wren feed a nest of babies inside a flower pot.  I posted about this miracle of nature here.  ( I even made a short video of the nesting chicks.)

My summer discipline includes writing a poem every day. In the Practice of Poetry, Deborah Digges offers an exercise titled “Evolutions” that can be traced back to Philip Levine.  “When you can’t write, try writing about an animal.” This exercise takes some research.  Having the internet at my fingertips helped me find information about Carolina wrens.

This exercise came with warnings: “be careful not to sentimentalize, to usurp the animal you have chosen by turning it into a flaccid symbol for human emotions…The animal is itself.”  I tend to over-sentimentalize, so I tried to focus on the behaviors of the birds.  After some work and a few writing partner critiques, I feel good about this one.

 

 

 

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Poetry Friday is with Carol at Carol’s Corner.

My writing group has decided to explore a book on writing poetry this summer. We chose The Practice of Poetry edited by Robin Behn and Chase Twichell.

I have been thumbing through and randomly choosing an exercise to try. On pages 51-53, Susan Mitchell’s exercise is titled “Experience Falls Through Language Like Water Through a Sieve.”

We write poems about what we can’t articulate, but feel pressured to say, which is why poems use language in unusual ways…And often, metaphor and simile may be a poet’s only means for capturing experience in its rich complexity.
Susan Mitchell in The Practice of Poetry, pages 51-52

She explains that when we use metaphor, we often write ahead of our understanding. When I write poems, I connect to a deeper part of myself, one who I don’t know as well, one who reveals more of myself to me.

In this exercise, I read one of the suggested poems Milkweed by Philip Levine and decided to use its form to inform my own.

Remember how
we sat in a field of clover
picking handfuls of white bursts
tying stem to stem
to make crowns, bracelets,
necklaces. We’d promenade
among the pine trees
overlooking Purple Creek,
curtsy,
loop our arms,
do-see-do
through those carefree
days of summer
that meant nothing
to anyone, even us.

Yesterday I walked my dog
through a field of clover.
While he stopped to sniff
and leave his scent, I watched
the clustering blossoms
sway and bow
to the coming
of a summer shower.

–Margaret Simon, after Philip Levine, all rights reserved

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