December 7, 2006

Poetry Thursday - Meme

1. The first poem I remember reading/hearing/reacting to was. . . A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas. When I was very young, my grandmother gave me an exquisite small press edition on thick creamy paper, deckle edged, and the illustrations were woodcuts, beautifully rendered. I was enthralled and knew then and there that Dylan Thomas, poetry (and books) would be my companions for the rest of life's journey.

2. I was forced to memorize. . . Stopping by The Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost. I still love that poem and can recite it by heart.

3. I read poetry because. . . poetry nourishes body and soul - it is the shape of our earthly days made incandescent, the landscape of spirit and wonder, the breath of life.

4. A poem I’m likely to think about when asked about a favorite poem is . . . the magnificent Fern Hill by Dylan Thomas.

5. I write poetry . . . because I am compelled to do it. The poems are insistent about emerging into the light of day and onto the page or screen, but I have no idea where they come from. None of my poems are very good, but the best ones emerge full blown and complete from an unknown wellspring and always surprise me when they appear, no anxieties about shape, words chosen or thematic materials.

6. My experience with reading poetry differs from my experience with reading other types of literature in that . . . poetry has a cadence, rhythm and musicality lacking (for the most part) in other literary genres. Good poetry is eloquent and symphonic. Once in a very long while, if she is fortunate, one discovers such eloquence, cadence, rhythm and musicality in fictional works such as Winter's Tale (Mark Helprin), The Wood Wife (Terri Windling), The Alchemist (Paul Coelho) or Little, Big (John Crowley), but it doesn't happen very often.

7. I find poetry . . . everywhere I look, in trees, stones, hedgerows, thickets and even city streets - one just has to look to see it everywhere.

8. The last time I heard poetry . . . was last evening on the radio (CBC II) when the broadcaster read from a lovely collection by Wendell Berry.

9. I think poetry is like . . . spoken music. It is the lyrical spoken music of the world around us and the whole vast turning cosmos.