Poetry & My Week

I’ve spent so long trying to capture and express my thoughts on poetry over the past week that my laptop charged completely before I wrote this sentence. Poetry flows in a constant undercurrent below my conscious thoughts, and it’s harder to shine my attention onto it than I thought it would be. I’ve been thinking about ‘found’ poetry a lot, I guess, in as much as one can think about something and only realize what they were thinking about in retrospect. This week I read “Day-Old Baby Rats” by Julie Hayden and I can’t stop quietly reflecting upon how she uses italics. It’s like she has a little poem-yolk enclosed within the short story. 

I’ve been taking note of the seemingly unintentionally poetic things I hear in my classes, but so far nothing’s really come from that. On Monday, (as a joke) my friend Grant asked me to write a poem about Han Solo. On Tuesday, I pushed through a morose hangover by writing a terrible poem about Han Solo and I will never show it to anyone. I miss my mom a lot this week, so she’s been haunting everything I write— even more so than usual. I feel like that makes it sound like she’s dead, but she isn’t. She’s just very ghost-like. 

The best poem I read this week was “Death and Tacos”, by Nathaniel Whittmore. I like poems with kids in them, and I like the casual and authentic conversation captured within it. I keep reading / learning / talking about cancer this week, so that might have been part of the poems’ appeal. On Saturday I caught fire. When the flames were climbing my bangs my first thought was “wow I think I’ll write a poem about this”, and then I didn’t. I think I will eventually, but I just don’t know how the fire connects to the rest of my life right now. I’ve been keeping books of poetry in my bag for some reason unknown to me. I guess it just feels right. In the event of a hostage situation, I’ll have something to do, at least. That’s all. 

2 Replies to “Poetry & My Week”

  1. This post is almost a poem; several of its sentences are, and “In the event of a hostage situation, I’ll / at least have something to do” is either the end or start of a poem, or both.

    Also, I thought you meant “caught fire” metaphorically, the way a WNBA player is on fire. Then I realized you were being literal, not figurative. Ouch. Hope you’re okay. But this, and the accidence that led to it, is also a poem of sorts.

    In other words, beyond being playful, I’m pushing you towards the poems you’re writing as emerging from both the connections possible in the life you’re living (it’s too much to suggest “Portrait of My Mother as the Han Solo Poem I Refuse to Show Anyone” but I hope you get the point) and the ways you use language (it’s not an accident that “caught fire” hovers between metaphor and literal).

    Keep keeping those books of poetry in your bag. Even for an absences of hostage situations.

    1. You caught fire?! That is incredible, I didn’t know that you were flammable! Glad to hear you’re alright though. I think that the weirdest, most awkward part of poetry is letting the undercurrent swell into words. (It’s called word vomit for a reason)

      You definitely let it come up in this post so I recommend you take the time to just read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, and lastly, read. Doing this not as a mere passive action but pulling apart the text and trying to replicate it is how we all learn to write. We learn to speak by mimicking sentences, and then when we have an understanding of grammar, we begin to formulate our own. I think the same holds true for poetry and all creative endeavors. First, we see others do it and then we try ourselves. It may take some time but keep going! And save your Hon Solo poem, it may come in handy one day!

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