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

chocolate, and my own #AmtrakWritingRetreat
The first leg of my 2+ days on the train. Despite getting up at 4 in the morning (& not sleeping well before that!), I couldn't sleep on this first ...

posted 2:25:47pm May. 27, 2015 | read full post »

more on the home front ~
Today was 'look at houses' day. Funny how pictures bear so little resemblance to the real thing. When I taught, I used to give my students postcards from ...

posted 2:36:27pm May. 26, 2015 | read full post »

hunting for home
Looking for a house is hard. Looking while recognising that this will be your long-term home -- not a rental, not a summer vacation -- is ...

posted 5:40:03pm May. 25, 2015 | read full post »

living through the unexpected (with equanimity?)
 This is how we spent two hours Friday: lined up to cross the French Broad River bridge. TWICE. (I've been calling it the French Bread River Basin since then; ...

posted 10:32:07pm May. 24, 2015 | read full post »

road trips
You see differently when you're on the road. Something about the ribbon of highway before you, the enclosed space of the car, the forced closeness and the ...

posted 9:36:21am May. 22, 2015 | 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.