Reflecting On National Poetry Month

A few days into May and I’m sitting at my desk, drinking coffee, reflecting on National Poetry Month. It’s taken me a few days to let the full weight of the month absorb into my mind. A hurricane of pencils, scraps of paper, and sheer determination surrounded me for the full 30 days in April. What started out as an incredible first Thursday of the month soon led into three more Thursday nights joined by a group of people just as passionate about poetry as me.

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Yes, each Dose of Poetry event was unique and inspiring in its own way. Below you’ll see a variety of photos from weeks two through four. (Photos from the first week can be found here.) What was truly amazing was how the poets that we were honoring each session heavily influenced the tone of the night. It was interesting to compare the impact that Whitman and Dickinson had amongst the crowd compared to Yeats. Besides that, having so many wonderful voices gathering to share their own work was something that filled me with so much inspiration. I’m truly grateful to everyone who participated.
When I set out to make these poetry events happen, there were some challenges. Determined to not let doubtful comments stop me, I instead allowed them to fuel my spirit. Thankfully, it all paid off. It’s always a coin toss with these kinds of things. Especially at a University library where things can sometimes be poorly attended. However, the numbers remained steady and full each week. I truly appreciated every single person that came to celebrate poetry. With all that said, I can only hope that the future will yield more Doses of Poetry, and that I will be able to plan and host them just as I did last month.
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As if all of that wasn’t enough, I also participated in April’s National Poetry Month challenge 30/30. It may not seem like a lot to write a poem a day, but it certainly is. I still have yet to sort through every single one of the poems I wrote, but I will say that it was an excellent learning experience. The topics varied from day to day, and I began to become inspired by more instances and objects that occurred or appeared during my daily routine. From the sea salt brownies I bought one afternoon, to the black cat sitting in the middle of the street one night when I was driving home…I used it all. I know the best part about the challenge was incorporating the habit of writing a poem everyday into my schedule. It has since spilled over into May and poetry is still very much on my mind all the time.
To close, I want to share some more happy news that’s on the horizon with all of you. I applied and got accepted to the Frost Place 2016 Poetry Seminar! Looking to further my knowledge and work on my craft, I applied unsure whether or not my poetry submissions would be good enough to get in. I was thrilled when they were. I won’t be headed to New Hampshire until the end of July, but it’s something wonderful to look forward to.
Until next time,
Christine

Poetic State of Mind

The summer is upon us…which means I hide inside on super sunny hot days. However, I will say that today was beautiful. I’m honestly more of a go for a drive when the sun sets type of girl…I’d much rather worry about mosquito bites than sunburn. One of my favorite things to do is go to the beach at night. It’s a much more peaceful experience, spending quiet time with the ocean.

…you know…ebbing with the ocean of life like Whitman.

You’ll be happy to know that I’ve been writing a lot. My bond with poetry is still going strong, and I think that largely has to do with the fact that when I’m not working on my own, I’m reading other poets work. I’m very much in a poetic state of mind every single day, and it feels great. It kind of allows one to look at the world differently, and makes me curious to explore all sorts of things.

I haven’t always been a people watcher. There were so many times that I’d be having a conversation with a fellow writer and they would tell me how they love to go sit at a coffee shop and just watch people. Normally, I’d respond by nodding my head and smiling when I was really thinking, “how in the world does that help you?” Fast forward to present day, and I finally get it. The only trouble is, I’m not quite sure how to explain it…helpful Christine, right? I don’t know how everyone does it, but I don’t exactly sit there are stare at people like a creep. It’s more the atmosphere of it all. Most of the time, I’m writing articles for my Bleeding Cool job so I fade in and out of the happenings around the room. Today, I actually went out to lunch by myself and had a super delicious breakfast sandwich. While I was scarfing that down, I noticed an old couple talking over a newspaper. I couldn’t hear what they were saying, but in a weird way, I didn’t need to because my imagination immediately kicked in. Don’t you love when that happens?

It’s safe to say that I’m pretty content with writing poetry, so for now I’m going to continue following that path. Like I mentioned before, I’ve also been reading a lot of poetry. I’m about to finish up a few different poets, and I’ve decided that my next poet to explore further will be Sylvia Plath. It’s funny because I’ve read some of her stuff before, but it wasn’t until I was browsing quotes (as I so often do) one day and came across this one…

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It wasn’t the first time I’d read it either. Actually, I’d probably read it several times, but this time was different. I had an overwhelming urge to learn more about her. It’s definitely one of the most truthful statements that’s ever been written. So, I’m happy to say that I snagged copies of her unabridged journals and a collection of poetry. I’ll be sure to report back after I’ve read through it all. I would mention who I’m finishing reading now, but I have so much that I want to say that I won’t even mention his name. I’ll just be mysterious until I decide to write a separate post about him too.

On a completely unrelated note (because I’m cool like that) I’d like to leave you with a piece of one of my favorite poems called “One Art” by Elizabeth Bishop. You can read the full poem here.

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;/ so many things seem filled with the intent/ to be lost that their loss is no disaster./Lose something every day. Accept the fluster/of lost door keys, the hour badly spent./The art of losing isn’t hard to master./Then practice losing farther, losing faster:/places, and names, and where it was you meant/to travel. None of these will bring disaster.
For me, the poem provides a refreshing perspective of not allowing yourself to become too attached to anything. To kind of accept the every day flow of life and how things tend to naturally evolve and change.
Until next time,
Christine