Thursday, January 26, 2017

Learning to write poetry from the masters

Early morning. The sun gives the horizon a tentative kiss. I shuffle in pink moccasins to the kitchen to prepare 8 ounces of honey and lemon water to hydrate and soothe my parched soul. After a few minutes of meditation in the silver gray solitude of this new day I turn on the light to read.

I am often in the process of reading several books at once but divine dawn is reserved for poetry, or poetry related books, or inspirational reading that centers me and reminds me to be mindful of each glorious moment of my life.

This precious morning I cozied up to the following books.


The first book was Mary Oliver's new collection of essays. "Upstream." Oliver is my poetic idol. Her knowledge and experience with nature in all its beauty and destruction is unparalleled. She describes flora, fauna and experience in intimate details, images that shock and surprise the reader. And she takes those details and connects them to a larger universal connection that exists among all life whether we acknowledge it or not. She makes me gasp. She makes me pick up my pen and journal to write my own thoughts or to copy down lines from her poems or essays I don't ever want to forget. Reading Oliver is a gift I give myself, ever grateful for the magic of her thoughts and words.


The second book I read this morning is one of a pair I just discovered while perusing amazon.com. "How to Read a Poem" and "How to Write a Poem" by Tania Runyon. I was attracted to these books because they are based on Billy Collins' poem "Introduction to Poetry." Collins is one of my other favorite poets and I love the poem so I ordered the books straight away and was not disappointed. Runyon offers several facets of a poem to explore, each based on a verse from the Collins poem. She then sets the reader a series of questions to ask about a poem based on that verse and gives you several poems to practice the process. The poems are wonderful and turn the book into an annotated anthology that enlightens the reader of poetry. So far I am enjoying the first book and look forward to seeing what she has to say about writing poems. 

I love finding new books of poetry or books about poetry that inspire me and help me learn. Perhaps one day some reader or poet will open one of my books and become inspired too.

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