Capturing snippets of life is best done by using the senses to the greatest extent possible in the observation of ordinary life. The writable about writing prompts today are about an ordinary object – a sofa. How far does your imagination take you when you look at your current couch or remember past couches? Enjoy Avery’s vision and Heaney’s lilt to expand your world view. National Poetry Month is almost half over. As you write today, think about your goals this month. How many pages did you want to write? How many useable fragments have you gathered? Are poems emerging?
Listen to Seamus Heaney read http://www.poetryfoundation.org/features/audioitem/4520#.U0pxaM-ONPA.twitter
You probably know a die-hard poetry hater. It’s probably someone who couldn’t memorize the requisite number of lines from the prologue of “The Canterbury Tales. Perhaps there was a traumatic experience with the Norton Anthology of English Literature–a wrong assumption that all of it had to be read – every page – including poetry – in one semester.
Perhaps Marianne Moore’s poem that she too hated it reinforced this perception. Maybe The Iliad, The Odyssey, Shakespeare, the Romantics, the Beats held some appeal, but since peers shunned it, so would they. And worse by far, perhaps, poetry-fearing zealots may once have been aspiring poets until caught in the act of writing it by friends. For this and any myriad of reasons, they solemnly declared never to dabble in sentimentality again. Poetry – not now – not ever!
And then along came Billy.
Billy Collins, one of any number of not-too-difficult names to remember. He is a past poet laureate of the United States. As all my friends will attest, I love Billy. I love poetry. I love the arts. And now these two have merged into a new sort of poetry — beautiful to the ear and to the eye.
Today your challenge is to take 15 minutes of zen right now. Watch this video and behold the new power of poetry as you see the poems come alive by some very creative artists.
And if you like it, share it with someone who needs to rediscover poetry and the imagination it inspires. And if you are very brave, try your hand at poetry again if it’s been awhile. One of the purposes of this blog is to inspire handwritten poems by any means. Just remember the words of Billy’s student, “poetry is harder than writing,” so don’t be discouraged. Writing gives your thoughts tangible form. SEE what you have to say.
And if poetry still doesn’t seem to be working, follow Billy’s friend advice – “If at first you don’t succeed, hide all evidence that you tried.”
But don’t give up on poetry. I’ve always said you need to read 1,000 poems before you can write one good one. Just keep reading – maybe you will want to make videos with poems or open meetings with them as Billy suggests. Just keep open to the possibilities of poems and what you may find there.
What real toads live in the imaginary gardens just outside your window? Show us. Write it down.
You’re sitting somewhere. It could be anywhere. You’re on the Metro; you’re in your favorite cafe; you’re in line – a tedious, long line; you’re at the park. You could be anywhere. They could be anywhere. You overhear words that say it all. Seem to incapsulate an entire truth in a few words. Speak to some greater truth.
The journal entry I captured includes only the side of the conversation I could hear. The other person at the Bureau of Vital Statistics sat behind a walled-off area and only muffled rseponses could be heard from my vantage.
I scribbled the notes as fast as I could, capturing the short life of this small infant before he became entombed in this hall of records, forgotten in the maze of statistics that record the passing of our days. I transcribe the poem here in case you aren’t able to read my handwriting. Please feel free to share your comments and any found poems or snippets you might wish to share.
“What do I do
with this kid’s birth certificate
that was born and died on the same day?”
“Well, I’m doing the death certificate, too,
and he didn’t have a length of time that he lived–
number of days says zero.”
“Born 2:03. Died 2:18.”
“Fifteen minutes is all he lived.”
“They want his age but the birth certificate says zero.”
“What do I do?”
If you’re a writer, you write. You find what was dropped.
You pick it up, and you run with it.
ntaylorcollins © 2011, 2012