Sunday, April 10, 2016

April is Poetry Month - Let us Celebrate!

This is what my friend, the poet Scott Owens says about poetry in his poem inspired by Heath’s Orange Moon. He says the art of poetry “is what won’t sit still inside your head / what wakes you up at night / what calls memory back from darkness / what gives words the shape they take / what makes you wonder how much more you could do / and just why you haven’t been doing it.”

Most poets can't help themselves. They must write poetry. I have said that Scott thinks and dreams in poetic verse and language. Poems flow out of him like an artesian well.

In the most recent class I taught at Tri-County Community College, I could not interest my students in poetry. I mean they simply said no. They did not want to write poetry. They were not interested in reading it either even though I told them how much reading poems could help their prose writing. 

I like this statement by Samuel Taylor Coleridge on the subject of writing poetry and prose.

"I wish our clever young poets would remember my homely definitions of prose and poetry; that is prose; words in their best order; - poetry; the best words in the best order."   ... Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Choosing the best words is an important part of making a good poem. I think my favorite part of writing a poem is going back, revising and finding the best word I can to put my reader right where I am when I am writing. 

The poem below tells how a handsome young ski instructor in Colorado teased me, a young married woman and a complete novice at snow skiing. I blame most of this on the altitude.

     High in Colorado

He poses, hip cocked in red and blue,
sun-glistened face of Eros turned to me,
a fledgling atop the icy slope. My
breath quickens in foolish adoration

at the sound of my name from his mouth.
Knees bent, I push on poles and slide
down to him, past him, racing for the edge.
"Sit down," he cries.  My legs collapse,

long shoes shoot sidewise.  I try to rise,
but can't.  He twirls, zips toward me,
digs in.  You know a mogul is a South
Georgia girl who falls and can't get up.

He laughs, his teeth like sparkling icicles.
Giddy Aspen air heliums my brain,
overflows my heart that dances in triple time.
He yanks me up, skims powder to the lift.

At sea level, snow dreams
melt into arrogant soap bubbles
as his smiling face yellows
on a faded brochure beneath my ski apparel.
                                         ... Glenda Council Beall

What do you think? Did the words I used help your image of what happened?


carol said...

What a fun poem and how true. I love the last stanza about coming back to reality.

Abbie Taylor said...

Glenda, the words you used definitely helped me create the image. This is why I don't ski. Ha ha!

Glenda Beall said...

EC, I see that you had the same experience. Makes me wonder if all ski instructors are like this.
I am impressed with the words you used in your comment, especially the reflections in the sea of adoring eyes.

Glenda Beall said...

Carol and Abbie, thanks for your comment and for reading my blog.
Abbie, I have never tried to ski since that awful experience.

Anonymous said...

From Nancy Purcell

Hi Glenda,
Of course you caught the scene and action with your beautiful way with words. I love writing poetry and have been fortunate to have a few published. For me there is such a distinct difference between writing prose or writing poetry. I seem to be able to find just the right word placement that brings the piece to life. I've attached 2 poems that came to me while parked on the side of Crab Creek Road...surrounded by the beauty of the rolling hillside one early morning. Before me was a field and a stable of horses just left out into the cold.
The 2nd piece came to me on the trip back to Brevard at the very same place.

Poetry is magic to me; the clicking of words that swirl in my brain and come out with meaning.

Springtime does that to me and fall. Crazy, hus?


Anonymous said...

Bill Ramsey
Apr 13 (3 days ago)

Did your words help me imagine? Yes, perhaps a little too clearly. After all, I am too old to actually do the things I missed. Bill

Glenda Beall said...

Thank you, Bill Ramsey, for leaving a comment. I understand what you mean about being past the time to do some things.