Who’s a Poet?

Note that I do not consider myself a poet and never have. On the other hand, I’m a writer, and words come out of my fingers like water flowing from a spring. Ooh, a simile.

My little work area of poetic inspiration

I’m bringing this up, because I heard a feature on the radio encouraging young people to submit applications for being the Texas Youth Poet Laureate. The woman promoting it pointed out that there are many types of poetry, not just the classical things, and all it takes do create poetry is to write down what’s going on with you in some sort of disciplined way.

There once was a woman called Suna
Who lunched on some sushi of tuna.
And as it’s her hobby,
She piled on wasabi.
Her face turned red as a petunia.

Yep, that’s the story of my lunch, all right. I have always loved limericks. I used to write acrostic poems, especially when my kids were little and did them in school.

A horse can be a challenging friend,
Particularly when he won’t tell you his thoughts
And you keep guessing what the deal is until
Changed attitudes suddenly bloom and
He is like the buddy you once
Enjoyed, oh so long ago.

That exhausts my abilities. I’m not good at free-form, and though I love to listen to it done well, I haven’t mastered the internal rhymes and repetition in good rapping. But, the lady on the radio said to just get started by repeating “I am” over and over, and boom, you’d have a poem. Okay, then.

I am a knitter and weaver of fabric and words
I am glad for all my experiences (bringing wisdom)
I am braver than I ever thought I could be (take the first step)
I am content with uncertainty and change (at last)
I love fiercely, freely, and without expectations (so hard)
I am here

Speaking of being brave, I think it’s brave to share poems you write off the top of your head in just a few minutes. But, I admit this was fun. How about you? Do you have a poem ready to spring forth?

Last night’s pool view. You can hardly tell you’re in a large city.

Book Report: Poetry E-book Edition

You may know that I am very fond of books, the physical objects. I like to hold books, feel the paper of the pages, smell that inky new-book smell, etc. But, some books aren’t available physically, including self-published books. I’ve always liked the idea of making one’s work available for friends and family, and don’t expect perfect copy editing, formatting and all that (what I DO mind is being charged a lot of money for a printed book, only to find it was not copy edited AT ALL, has eight random fonts, and is randomly justified).

Today I’m not talking about one of those! Instead, I’d like to briefly share a book of poems I just read, which I know I’ll re-read many times. Past Life: Poems is a collection of poems by my long-time online friend Ida Bettis Fogle. She’s always been a word person, as shown by her thoughtful posts that I’ve enjoyed for many years and her career as a librarian.

She published this collection of her favorite poems from the past 25 years to share with her friends. A lot of gushing has ensued, as members of our long-time group of mothers pointed out their favorites. Why were they so enthusiastic?

Well, Ida has captured the experience many women of my generation had, both in childhood and as mothers. Many of her poems brought images back to my mind of similar events I’d been through…it’s like I continued her poems in my own head.

One of my favorites, “Three Minus One,” talks about the third child you never had but always wanted. The longing you feel for a child who almost seems real mirrors my own experience exactly.

There are poems about birth, vacation, scary things, and beautiful things, all the kinds of small but memorable things many of us have experienced as we go through life. Ida celebrates moments and captures them for the rest of us to share. And it is formatted normally with only one typo (that I didn’t notice).

If you need something to take your mind off the present and take you back to a past that is real, but not all bad, you might really enjoy Past Life. I found it worth much more than the four dollars and odd membership process in Smashbooks that was required to obtain my PDF. (And if you are a poet or other kind of writer, this may be a way for you to share YOUR work with others.)

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