Friday (Writing, Reading, and New Shoes) Musings

I spent most of today reading and writing. I finished Dana Levin’s Wedding (comments to come later), read half of the Translation issue of Poetry, and started leafing through Kim Addonizio’s Ordinary Genius. I also wrote a poem and started on two others. It was a good day.

I picked up Ordinary Genius at AWP, where Addonizio seemed to be all over the place. In retrospect I think I may have seen her in the elevator. I’ve read a smattering of her poems online and in different journals. Her poems have grit and I like how she uses pop culture references. I was also given a cd of hers when I bought the book, and it’s pretty interesting. Anyway. I’m always looking for writing exercises, because unlike some poets, I don’t always sit down with a clear idea of what I want to write about. Also, I’m a teacher, so writing exercises are invaluable to my students. In the first part of the book, Addonizio gives solid, and familiar advice to first time writers. She mentions keeping a “book” (journal) and making time to write and how comittment is vital. She’s absolutely right, so it makes sense that I felt like I was being reprimanded while reading her words. I need to get back to what I was doing a few months ago, which was setting aside half an hour each day to write something. It didn’t matter if the poem failed or was complete crap. I just needed to keep the gears grinding. So beginning this week, I’m getting right back to it.
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This is one of the translated poems (Dutch in this case) from the April issue of Poetry that I really liked:

Last Night

Saved two children last night.
They lay under thin black ice
one gone blue, the other grey.
I laid them out on grass
that snapped under my step
wrung their bodies warm and dry
gave them the gust of my breath.

Then I looked out at the morning
that lay lukewarm on the water
put on a tank top
arranged some grasses in a vase
fished two children out of sleep.
Hester Knibbe

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