Yesterday, I got up early to babysit oldest grandgirl. While she was sleeping I wrote most of my post for today but I didn’t have access to Internet. After babysitting the heat got to me. That and the fact that sleeping without dreams about school, I have been sleep deprived.
Last week, I shared a Ted Kooser poem to start my summer long study of The Poetry Home Repair Manual. If you have not read this book, I highly recommend it. Very practical and readable. So these are this weeks notes(Kooser notes in blue, my responses, black):
“I favor poems that keep the obstacles between you and that person to a minimum.” There are two kinds of poems: difficult and clear and accessible. Kooser advocates for those poem that can be read and understood. We should show appreciation for readers by writing with kindness, generosity, and humility toward them.
I am reminded of a friend of mine who hates poetry because she was forced to dissect each and every one for the deeper meaning. What if she had been exposed to accessible poetry? What if she had poems without obstacles.
Kooser contends that the only rules worth thinking about are the standards of perfection you set for yourself.
Kooser was writing about how professionals often are tied into rules. So maybe it’s better that poets not worry about making a living from poetry. And of course, William Stafford often said you have to set a low standard to get words on a page at times.
Most poets can tell you which poet triggered that interest in writing. Study the greats. We teach ourselves poems we like to read.
When I was in high school I discovered Yeats, Burns, and Browning. I read and read them. Over time my favorite poem forms have become free verse, pantoum, and haiku. I remember reading that first pantoum that was in one of Joyce Sidman’s books and wondering how cool is that?I had to teach myself to write them.
I really enjoy the prompts are The Miss Rumphius Effect each week because writers are invited to try new forms. We are invited to expand our repertoire.
How do we refresh the world with poems? Develop a daily practice of reading AND writing poetry. “Catchy phrases and little glimpses of life.” Play with you observe. Need alone time to read and write.
I love this! This summer I have committed myself to write at least one haiku per day. (Thanks to Amy at The Poem Farm who is writing a poem a day, I was inspired). It also reminds me of Naomi Shihab Nye who talks about writing at three sentences a day from your daily observations of the world. I remember last winter on my way to work, a very young girl was on the corner waiting for the light to change, with a bundled baby. The image was so strong that I wrote about it HERE.
Revision, extensive revision transforms a mediocre poem into a work that will touch the reader.
I love revision! The majority of poems on my Deowriter blog I consider drafts. Some contests do not want poems that have been “published” on the Internet. And some I have revised for submissions for publication. This summer, I decided not to post everything I write.
Other quotes from the reading:
“We serve each poem we write.” Any well written poem is worth more to the world than the person who wrote it.
Poetry is like a kaleidoscope
“And don’t think you must have an IQ of 160 to write good poems. Most of the poets I know are of average intelligence. What makes them different is that they love playing with language.”
Poetry Friday was held at Carol’s Corner yesterday. There are other great poems and poetry related posts. Have fun.