Saturday, January 7, 2012

Poetry, Day Three

My head is crammed full of poetry!

Our leader this year is Leslea Newman (there is an accent mark over the second e in her first name, but I don't know how to type accents in Google blogger - it's pronounced Les-Leah). She is wonderful. For every session, she gives us a HUGE packet of brilliant published poems by a wide range of poets based on some theme: poems about names/naming, poems about common occasions (birthdays, first menstruation), poems about the body (including poems about hands, poems about hair, poems about bellies), list poems. We read them aloud and talk about them together and then we disappear to all corners of the convent to write a poem of our own on that theme. Finally, we reconvene and share. This is pretty much the format all of our poetry retreats have followed, though our packets seem to be extra-fat this year.

I haven't yet written any poem that I adore, but I feel that I grew a lot as a poet - and as a person - by writing a poem about my red skin (which I hate) - and then trying to write an affirming poem about it as well. I wrote a funny poem about my belly button (but not so funny that I feel confident sharing it here). And a funny poem called "Manicure" about how much I enjoy biting my nails (also not worth sharing over the Internet, but my poet friends here chuckled when I read it).

Today we're going to focus on FORM. I love writing in form, so maybe this will be the best day yet for me. But really, the best part is just trying everything - even the exercise yesterday afternoon where we were given a poem written in RUSSIAN, yes, Russian, and had to write our own stab at a translation of it - which forced us to focus on how the original poem looked on the page, so freeing us to play with form rather than obsessing about content.

So maybe I'll have a poem I can share on this blog today. Maybe not. But I'm learning so much in every session, stuffing myself full of poems, poems, poems, poems, poems.

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