Friday (Writing, Reading, and New Shoes) Musings

I spent most of today reading and writing. I finished Dana Levin’s Wedding (comments to come later), read half of the Translation issue of Poetry, and started leafing through Kim Addonizio’s Ordinary Genius. I also wrote a poem and started on two others. It was a good day.

I picked up Ordinary Genius at AWP, where Addonizio seemed to be all over the place. In retrospect I think I may have seen her in the elevator. I’ve read a smattering of her poems online and in different journals. Her poems have grit and I like how she uses pop culture references. I was also given a cd of hers when I bought the book, and it’s pretty interesting. Anyway. I’m always looking for writing exercises, because unlike some poets, I don’t always sit down with a clear idea of what I want to write about. Also, I’m a teacher, so writing exercises are invaluable to my students. In the first part of the book, Addonizio gives solid, and familiar advice to first time writers. She mentions keeping a “book” (journal) and making time to write and how comittment is vital. She’s absolutely right, so it makes sense that I felt like I was being reprimanded while reading her words. I need to get back to what I was doing a few months ago, which was setting aside half an hour each day to write something. It didn’t matter if the poem failed or was complete crap. I just needed to keep the gears grinding. So beginning this week, I’m getting right back to it.

This is one of the translated poems (Dutch in this case) from the April issue of Poetry that I really liked:

Last Night

Saved two children last night.
They lay under thin black ice
one gone blue, the other grey.
I laid them out on grass
that snapped under my step
wrung their bodies warm and dry
gave them the gust of my breath.

Then I looked out at the morning
that lay lukewarm on the water
put on a tank top
arranged some grasses in a vase
fished two children out of sleep.
Hester Knibbe

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