Advertisement

Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart

poetry and the new Poet Laureate ~

There’s a new US Poet Laureate — Philip Levine. This may not be earth-shaking to many, but to a poet, whose vanity plate gives her ‘POETIC’ license, it’s HUGE :).

And I like Levine’s work. I never like all of someone’s work — not even my own :). And Levine’s mentor was a poet I’m pretty ambivalent about ~ John Berryman. As I told colleagues the other day, sometimes Berryman is breathtaking. Other times, I wonder why he bothered…

Advertisement

So what does this have to do w/ beginner’s heart, w/ love, w/ anything besides poetry? Well, for me Levine returns poetry to the hip pocket of average Americans. He’s not Billy Collins, whom many academics abhor (I love him, just FYI :)).  But he  writes about tangibles as well as intangibles; he tells stories.

I love stories. Most of us do — it’s the way we first learn. And it’s always my favourite way. Books really are frigates, for me. And poets the best of sea captains :).

Advertisement

We need poetry. We need the time it takes to read it, let it in, feel it expand the way light fills up a room. And we need poets like Levine, who worked industrial jobs, like the one he had at a gear & axle factory. Poets who can make poetic sense out of the literal nuts and bolts of our everyday lives. Levine’s written that he wanted to make sense out of his own life, so he wrote. But he also said that he believed that if he could write poetry from his own life, it would somehow transform the experiences. Poetry can do that. It’s one reason we need more poets. :)

Advertisement

Sometimes when you live in the buckle of the Bible belt, people ask you what your religion is. And sometimes, no matter what you answer, it won’t be what they want to hear :). So I often answer ‘poetry.’ Poetry is my religion. The focusing of it. The observation of it. The optimism you have to have to commit yourself to such an outré passion. The way it requires you to try to move into someone else’s heart. All of these strike me as profoundly important, even spiritual.

In other words? I believe in poetry. :) And Philip Levine ~

 

Previous Posts

packed bags and letting go
My youngest son is readying for another adventure. One that involves rolled up clothes in duffel bags, a passport, and another continent. He can't wait. By ...

posted 8:49:55pm Apr. 28, 2016 | read full post »

fathers, and what a grandson can remind us
This is the way I always remember my father. He was much younger than I am now -- 20 years or so. Today is his birthday: he would be 99, were he still with ...

posted 5:40:36pm Apr. 23, 2016 | read full post »

interludes, illness, and coming back to focus
It's been a while. I plead flu, travel, a rambunctious grandson of not-quite-three, and life in general. Somehow, when people spoke of retirement, I had ...

posted 2:03:08pm Apr. 18, 2016 | read full post »

why poetry?
It's National Poetry Month again! I adore National Poetry Month. For one thing, it's April, and that's my birthday month. So I get presents (which I also ...

posted 6:10:44pm Apr. 03, 2016 | read full post »

social media, bad news, and hate
I have a love-hate relationship with social media these days. One year I gave it up for Lent, and I should have just kept driving in that ...

posted 8:55:03pm Mar. 28, 2016 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.