Today is world poetry day. This can only be a good thing.
I am reading How to be a Poet by Jo Bell and Jane Commane. It is a wonderful handbook and a collection of some of the most useful thoughts about thinking, writing and being……crikey I’m stumbling to write this…….being a poet, that I have read. If you’ve read any of my previous posts you’ll know I’ve been I’ve been having a tricky time lately with my health and a general sense of disquiet. I’m finding a great deal of solace in writing but I am struggling to still the voice that tells me I am a charlatan, a fanciful middle aged woman. The voice that says I am wasting my time. is helping me to get over the drama, and get on with the writing. It’s the book equivalent of a stern talking to, with a great deal of wisdom. A trusted friend, if you like.
Here is a quote I read today , in a chapter contributed by by Robert Peake.
“in the end,success over the long term for me comes down to:staying alive, staying in the game, and staying in love with poetry. ”
If I can remember this I can maintain a sense of perspective. The world feels quite spiky and unsafe at the moment, globally and personally. Writing, specifically writing poetry, helps me unpack and make order for all the feelings that trample all over each other in their rush to escape my mind. I need to work and work and work to create a good poem but before I do any of that, I need to write. To do that I need to stay in love with writing. And to do that I need to stay in love with reading.
Here is one of my favourite poems from The Book of Tides, by Angela Readman.
The Woman Who Could Not Say Goodbye
He’ll come to hear it soon enough, by the door
where a woman can simply put herself out with the milk.
The air there is ivory, cool as a piano key worn
by notions of leaving that didn’t play out. It is not a sole
act, farewell, but a language slow as wood smoke
doving the wall over the hearth. He’ll come to learn
the so longs she laid all around the house. Carved
into couches, an embrace of absence, sags where he can sit
and observe her slow bow, stowed in the snowdrops
she placed in a vase. So suddenly, the clothes lines
look like unwritten confessions in diaries. The horizon is
a closed ballroom where days of the week refuse to dance.
How to be a Poet and The Book of Tides are both available from Nine Arches Press