Sunday, April 01, 2012

A witticism I never get tired of... that it is now April, also the cruellest month, also National Poetry Month. Why does this make me chuckle so? Oh, I don't know.

Most of my poetry-minded readers already know that Adrienne Rich died recently. When I heard, I realized that she had been a part of the world of poetry for the entire time that I have been a poet. I've been thinking about her beautiful, challenging, vexing, provocative work that whole time, and pointedly so over the last few days. If you'd like to read--or re-read--a beautiful sequence of sonnet/sonnet-like poems, you can read this, "Twenty-One Love Poems," from Dream of a Common Language. I love the sequence, and indeed the whole book.

I also remember reading Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution, a stark book, but one which shaped my own understanding of motherhood, and which I hope made me both a more compassionate person and a more conscious mother.

Anyway: I mentioned to middlebrow that I wanted to write a poem a day for a month, as Dr. Write and I and others have sometimes done, to celebrate National Poetry Month, but didn't know if I could do it. He said, "...haiku?" Which reminded me of the passage in The Beauty of the Husband, Anne Carson's prose-and-poem book of wonder, in which she (in the passage, see below) describes her practice of writing an elegiac couplet once a day, each focused on a branch outside her kitchen window:

There was a branch I used to watch from my back kitchen window
            and gradually began to keep a record of it
            almost every day
            in elegiac couplets,
            for example:

                        Foaming against its own green Cheek it cools in brief
                                    or seems to cool each Underleaf

            (this was in spring, or
            here's one from early October)

                        Dull whitish and deadly as that Chalkline marked on the Door
                                    by Homer who likened Carpentry to a Stalement in War

            (or an overcast morning:)

                        Whose Shadow in abstract Rain appears to be
                                    lashing the Wall at some secret Velocity

            (just before a thunderstorm:)

                        All but bare:  dangling like Bits of Bone
                                    in an All Souls Wind just five
                        you see those Souls seeping up the numb
                                    Shafts, see Souls come oaring out of the Dark alive


In the spirit of this, I am going to write a couplet a day about the honey-locust trees in front of my house. We'll see how far I get. Anyway, I'll be adding to it here, if you want to check in.


  1. Cool! What a great idea. I look forward to reading these!

  2. I love what you have written so far! Looking forward to more.

  3. So many possibilities with a name like honey-locust. Can't wait to see where you take it. April seems less cruel already.

    Word verif: Swelogy--the study of being swell?

  4. Inspiration! And Radagast is right. Unpack that honey. Bring the seagulls on. Also. Why Radagast does he have the old, easy word verif? I have these new things I can hardly read. Perhaps that will be my April poetry inspiration: onalitio rdsarsts!

  5. Good project. I like the first two, and I particularly like the Prezi format.

  6. love honey locusts. love of woman born. love anne carson. love couplets. great post!

  7. I keep meaning to ready the Beauty of the Husband. Adrienne Rich defined a generation of poetry for me, too. And I'm so looking forward to your honeysucle couplets!



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