But sometimes I wake in the dark and try to draft something in a notebook. With luck I can translate snippets of it in the morning. And sometimes they actually jump-start a poem. Prompts seldom interest me except for the age-old one, of Webster-diving.
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But I confess: I cheat often. Nausea and tergiversate I can barely spell let alone use in a poem. Call me an undisciplined writer, but one always in the process of reforming. Please describe that form and why you are drawn to it. Many contemporary poets include haibun in their collections. A haibun combines prose--often, heightened, similar to that of prose poetry--and haiku.
Usually, a haibun closes with a haiku, but one or more can be found anywhere in the haibun. The haiku should not complete the prose or repeat it in another form but take it in another direction. Why do I write them?
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Because they combine the exploratory nature of the essay with the heightened prose of the prose poem. Because they originated in a country, Japan, where people live their lives attuned to nature and beauty. Because you can write about any subject in them and use many forms--letter, travel journal, biography, conversation, or even prayer. Some even substitute poems for what were traditionally the prose sections.
Because they are usually small, though Basho wrote a whole book of them, and you can finish one in an afternoon though it will never be perfect or even necessary.
What poetry project are you currently working on? Putting a manuscript together. Writing new poems. Trying to become at least somewhat competent in the centuries-old form of haiku. To succeed in capturing the world in eleven to eighteen syllables, I find a very challenging struggle. Mary Oliver--because she looks deeply at the world and describes it in jewels of language, easily understood. These nature poems expand beyond nature to also show us our human foibles, problems and hallelujahs. In each line she incorporates the world of the senses.
She watches nature for hours. She brings you to that pond or wood on Cape Cod, sits your smack down on a grassy bank and lends you her eyes, her beautiful sensibility, her questing mind, her knowledge of animals, vegetables, minerals, and especially humans.
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I was struck by the wonderful turnout and how everything was so well planned. What is the most important advice you can give to someone wanting to set up a public poetry reading? Talk it up! Share your excitement. Get the word out. Find a partner. The Writers Guild in Bloomington is always game for more programs, and they advertise for you also.
Gather a list of contacts of folks who love literature. Use social media. Buy snacks. Invite people you know personally with a phone call or by mentioning it when you see them. Pray that B-town has not invited some great musical act, comedian, or world-class speaker that same night. Or that the Hoosiers will play B-ball against—well against anybody.
What are three of your favorite places in Monroe County? In Monroe County, Lake Griffy tops the list. To visit the park in the early morning is to watch the world born anew: spider webs glimmer on the grass, reeds rustle in the wind, and as the rising sun spills rose over the lake, the heron begins her one-legged fishing on the far side.
Griffy has it all: beauty, hiking trails, canoes to rent and acres and acres of forest. On a knockout spring or fall day, the preserve gets very crowded, but if you time your visit you can find solitude and solace there. My favorite Griffy memory is the night my daughter, who was still in high school and having a difficult time, suggested we hike a nearly two-mile trail barefoot.
My feet learned to recognize the slight rise of a big root and its fall on the other side. At the beginning of the hike, I opened my eyes wider and wider. Griffy has gifted me with several poems but more importantly the serenity into which to compose them. Yesterday, as Mr. Darcy jumped into the car after a hike and we headed over the bridge, a heron rose from the lakefront just before us and flew into the sky, rising higher and higher.
It gifted us with a poetic, aha moment. Kivalina, Alaska, aerial view. Menes www. They not only make the world a more fascinating place, they reveal aspects of ourselves we may otherwise be blind to. Griffy Lake at sunset by Doris Lynch. Why such gloom? Murky skies lift our spirits. When buzzards roost on rooftops, we see Dominicans, tonsured and aquiline, wings clasped in penance. We are Latins, not yeoman yanquis. Those plain churches in your cherished Chesapeake Bay are mere hovels to us.
We prefer overwrought facades, garish bell towers, rituals rich with condiment. Gilded altars rouse our faith, candles titillate, incense makes us so giddy we can crawl on cobbles as if plush pillows.
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Transubstantiation is gobbledygook, but I do understand yeast. Not the wild kind that breeds in cauldrons of dank air; I mean the bloom, that soft, white powder on black grapes before they get squeezed to must then vinify in casks of Calvary. My yeast comes from merlots plump as fish eyes I keep safe from molds in a tin tabernacle, my paschal oven by the altar stone where I bongo the dough, roll the loaf, three taps on the rump.
Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus.
Even Judas gets a ginger effigy. Yeast is all you need to raise the dead.
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I grew up the beggar of seeds, almsgiver to strays, then was by chance apprenticed to a barber but bungled combing, inept at leeching, loose with razors. Misfortune was my blessing. How else could I have become your Bishop of Brooms, my crosier that sweeps away the sins of the world, my miter the do-rag I wear to scrub naves. Jesus favors the lowly laborer, bruised of knee, rickety boned. The rich are wrong to think they will go to Heaven.
Their gold offerings evaporate to dross, their pleas drain like water through limestone. Give thanks to Our Lord for linty purses, empty cupboards, calloused soles. A widow with ten kids, she has skin like olives Brined, jute hair, gaunt eyes, yet her bony hips Are lithe as twigs on wet tamarind leaves.