Welcome to April! It’s National Poetry Month!


Welcome to April!  It’s National Poetry Month!

I started writing poetry nearly forty years ago, when I was in college.  I started getting published when I was in my 20s, learning to make my way in the world outside my parents’ house.  My poetry and I were young together.

Poetry for me was short, intense and immediate, like youth.  As I became more settled in life so my poetry did too:  it became longer, rounder, fuller, heavier, more filled with story, until it couldn’t be contained anymore.  Finally it stretched itself out and became a novel.  That’s what I’m focusing on now—writing novels.  But I want forever to be a poet who writes novels.  I want poetry to claim me.  I want poetry to find me worthy.

When I first started writing poetry I wrote without form.  I wrote what came out of my hand, without concern for rhyme or meter.  People often told me that my poetry painted beautiful pictures but the truth is I’m not much good at visualization.  I often find the visual too stimulating, too overwhelming.  I’ve always been an auditory learner.  When I’m writing I choose words because I like the way they sound, I like their rhythm.  Even in free verse, it’s about the sound to me.  It’s about the music.

So let’s post poems this month!  Please share your poems with me.

Here’s a poem I wrote many years ago.  It was published in the anthology, Unlacing:  Ten Irish American Women Poets, edited by Patricia Monaghan (Fireweed Press, 1987).

How to Find the Muse

Think about the sky.

It’s a new blue tablecloth

and a big hipped woman

has carelessly dribbled

gobs of whipped cream

all over it.

There she has set down

an orange bowl.

Smell cinnamon and coriander

as you scoop

spicy carrots

and squash from the bowl

to your mouth.

Bite into a raw cucumber

to cool the fiery curry

on your tongue.

Now drum your fingertips

on the table.

Listen to a jazz quartet.

Tap your feet

on a black and white

tiled floor.

When she starts to sing

those torchy blues

press your lips together

and hum

until you taste sweetened cream

spilling from the sky.

Click on the comments space and share a poem, either one of your own, or one you love!

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