Tuesday, November 29, 2011

On Earth As It Is in Heaven

Today, Jack Myers would have turned 70. Happy Birthday, Jack! So many of us miss you.

I came upon a poem of his this morning I think serves this occasion well: On Earth As It Is in Heaven.

Also, I'm giving away a copy of his The Memory of Water. Tomorrow is the last day to sign up. I can't wait to share this book with someone!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Recycle or Trash Bin?

I found three poems at the bottom of my duffel bag today. Two of them are unfinished are are destined to remain as such, I think. I may steal a few lines from them at some point. I may just throw them away altogether.

Do you ever experience this? Do you ever look at a poem you've written and think, "Wow, I really need to experience the world a little more and get some new or better writing material"? I think I'm in need of some travel...

Good thing I have poetry to transport me. I'm taking my time with Jane Hirshfield's Come Thief. There are also a few lit mags on my nightstand waiting patiently.

There are four more days to enter to win Jack Myer's brilliant collection entitled The Memory of Water. One can never have too many books to read. ;)

I hope your Thanksgiving not only left your belly full, but your heart as well.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Working Along the Edges

"Poetry, and all art, is a very dangerous, life‐changing enterprise if it’s done with heart and seriousness‐of‐purpose." - Jack Myers in the interview posted below...

Yesterday, a friend of mine sent me the link to an interview Jack had about Richard Hugo, his mentor. I feel compelled to share it with you: Kent McCarter interview with Jack Myers about Richard Hugo.

At the interview's conclusion, Jack says, " I wouldn’t want to take responsibility for directly influencing the way someone has chosen to lead his life." He believed he had a different way of teaching his students, one where he remained in the periphery, working "along the edges, hoeing and weeding, alongside them."

He didn't just help me to tend and trim the perimeter, Jack taught me about the importance of the seed before it ever gets planted. And I think he deserves more credit that I know he would ever give himself. (I wish I could have thanked him myself.)

If you haven't read The Triggering Town by Richard Hugo, I highly recommend reading it. And if you haven't read Jack's The Memory of Water, I'm giving away a free copy of his book at the end of this month HERE.

Who has influenced your writing?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Poetry as a Reason for Living

But only the poem you leave behind is what's important.
Everyone knows this.
The voyage into the interior is all that matters,
Whatever your ride.
- from "Littlefoot: A Poem" by Charles Wright

 What is poetry to you?

*And if you haven't read The Memory of Water by Jack Myers, nominated for a Pulitzer, and its poem "Necklace of Moss" for a Pushcart, you can enter to win a free copy HERE (and read this poem!)

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Memory of Water Prize Nominations

A few days ago, Thea Temple, Jack's wife shared some incredible news: Jack's poetry collection, The Memory of Water, has been nominated for a Pulitzer and one of its poems, "Necklace of Moss" for a Pushcart!

Just as Thea said in her Facebook post, I'm sure all who were blessed to know Jack "wish he were hear to hear and feel the buzz..." I wish I could hug and congratulate him right now.

So, I'm passing the buzz on. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, because I am more than grateful for the fate of meeting and learning from Jack, and in remembrance of him this November 23rd, I am giving away another copy of The Memory of Water. You can read my review on Goodreads about Jack's book here.

Entering is easy, simply leave me a comment with your name, email address, and a note or memory about someone who's most influenced your life. I will draw a name randomly on Wednesday, November 30, 2011. And as with all good things, I hope you share the news. ;)

Happy Friday, everyone!  Andrea

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Portable Poetry Workshop: Connecting Content - The Image Narrative

The image narrative: the "story told, in coherent form, through a series of the poem's images and perceptions." Jack offers the poem "Summer" by Cesar Pavese (the one who first spoke of a poem's "image story") along with "TV Room at the Children's Hospice" by Michael Ryan as examples.

Segues and white space in a poem act as connectors of the images within the story on their many different levels. Jack offers the poem "Paper Bird" by Robin Behn as an incredible example of the use of white space. (If you haven't read this poem, you must!) I think Behn's poem "Living with Sister" stands as a wonderful example of both segue and white space as a technique within the image narrative:

"Living with Sister" by Robin Behn

On a side note, this particular section within this chapter had me chuckling to myself today. Jack asked me to read in class one day and the word "segue" was in the poem he chose. I had never come upon this word before and butchered its pronunciation. He waited patiently, not once trying to interrupt, and once I gave my final, what I thought was successful, utterance of the word, he smiled his kind smile, half grinning, and launched into a mini-lecture about what a segue does. I am sure the class was fond of me that day. I've never forgotten that word.

Well, and white space, that was a lecture he dedicated a full day to, and I had some sort of epiphany during that lecture resulting in my crafting of poems with words spaced out all over the page. Sporadic placement poems is what I shall now call them. It even inspired a poem I titled "White Space." Jack got a kick out of it. He must have thought I was crazy.

To poetry and fine teachers, Andrea

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Y Después (And Then)

Lately, I find myself thinking in poetry. Or rather, the things I want to say are in poems I've read. Yes, I want them to speak for me.

Yesterday, I wanted to say something but couldn't find the right words. I know all the words that have come before have been wrong. So, I figured these particular lines I had read would make it a little more clear. But I can't find them. I've scoured all my books and journals, but these few lines seem to want to remain hidden, out of my grasp.

These come close at least:

Y Después, A Cento

To You, 

Today in El Paso all the planes are asleep
on the runway.  The world
is in a delay. The labyrinths 
that time creates disappear. Always
you were given one too many, one
too few. What almost happens, doesn't.
What might be lost, you'll lose. 

We find out the heart only by dismantling what
the heart knows. We must unlearn
the constellations to see the stars. 
The sky is the only store
worth shopping in for anything
as long as a life. If the moon
smiled, she would resemble you.
You leave the same impression
of something beautiful, but annihilating.

Your absence has gone through me
like thread through a needle. Everything
I do is stitched with its color.
I wish I had the power of not looking
back. Not the power of having a wish
granted, but the power to look at my wish
and see behind it.

Love, Me

"April Snow" by Matthew Zapruder
"Y Después" (And Then) by Federico García Lorca translated by Ralph Angel
"Three-Legged Blues" by Jane Hirshfield
"Tear it Down" by Jack Myers
"Rebellion against the North Side" by Naomi Shihab Nye
"The Rival" by Sylvia Plath
"Separation" by W.S. Merwin
"One Last Wish" by Jack Myers

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

All This and More

Robert Lee Brewer's November Poem-a-Day Challenge has begun.  You can follow/participate in the challenge on Twitter by using the #novpad hash tag, or by stopping by Robert's Poetic Asides blog.  Every day during the month of November, he will be posting a new prompt for you to explore with your pen and paper or keyboard.  This is my second year participating and I'm looking forward to all the poetry this month.

This year, I am challenging myself a little more by reading a poem every day.  A nice poetry pairing of sorts, but being that I do read a lot and try to read poetry every day, I want to make this challenge a little more specific.  I want a continuous flow of poetry for the month, and am not really sure if this will create a nice flow, but it's a thought nonetheless.  This extra poem a day will be outside of any book or journal I'm reading or anything I've randomly happened upon online.

I recently finished Lit by Mary Karr and was excited to read she is a poet.  I'm starting with a poem of hers today.  Tomorrow, I will read a poem by a poet she has been influenced or touched by, and so on down the line.  Today's poem is "All This and More" and can I really say anymore after reading it?  Brilliant.

Happy writing/thinking/living to all, Andrea