Poetry Happenings

So it’s been a while, but my excuse is hibernation. I’d like to think winter is an acceptable time for us to be hermits, hiding in dark caves and letting things settle in our minds. Perhaps it’s part of the process.

In my last post, I wrote that my goal was to join a creative writing group, and today I can finally check that off my list! My friend and brilliant poet/artist, Michelle Seaman, brought me along to her poetry group, the Federal Poets. They’ve been meeting forever in DC, and right now the group boasts some of the most amazing and accomplished poets in the area. I was hoping to come and sit and listen, but they always make newcomers read, and read first. Blerg. I hadn’t been that nervous about anything in a while; my hands were actually shaking as I passed out copies of my poem. But they went easy on me, and I got some great advice. Plus I got to hear a lot of really, really good poems.

The meeting reminded me how generative critique sessions can be. I think it would be cool if people want to workshop things here–you can email me a poem and I’ll post it and we can make comments. Anyone down?

Here’s the poem I read at the meeting. I cheated a little and went with an older poem my professor liked in college. I figured if he liked it, they couldn’t think it was too awful. Next month I’ll try to bring something under construction, so I can find some direction.

 

Strange Water

We bought them at the start of September,
glittering drops of moving candy we named
Persephone, Convict, and Elizabeth Bishop.
Poor Lizzie didn’t last long; she died, we assumed,
of despair over a flushed and exotic lover.
A week later Persephone wilted and, while her struggle
was commendable, we soon came home to her speckled belly
flashing like a razor behind the glass, a mischievous wink.
So began Convict’s companionless life, which flourished
as he darted between plant and treasure chest,
bobbing to the surface then sinking to the stones,
robust romps that lasted through December.
We found him, after the new year, torpedoed
into the rocks, nose down, perfectly at peace.
We’d never seen a fish die that way.