Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Lonely transfer student talks about poetry

Poetry has been on my mind a lot lately. It kind of hurts.

A couple of things in particular have got me thinking about it:
  • In her latest blog post, Lucy wrote about how she loved poetry in high school, but has since moved on to different things. I agree with her that connecting with people through venues such as journalism, nonfiction, and social networking just isn't the same as connecting through poetry; an important emotional element is missing. Her post really spoke to me, and was especially poignant because I met Lucy at the Controlled Burn Seminar for Young Writers nearly six years ago. So I've workshopped and participated in readings with her. I understand exactly how much she loved poetry, and how weird it feels to not be immersed in it anymore.
  • When I found out that Carolyn Forche will be at SVSU on Thursday, I cried. I cried because I'm no longer an SVSU student, so getting there is a lot harder than simply penciling it into my planner. I cried because I work on Thursday nights. I cried because I took last Thursday off work to spontaneously run off to Pittsburgh for the weekend, and probably can't get away with pulling the same stunt this week. And most of all, I cried because I realized that I really, really wish I could be there, which means that I still love poetry a lot, even if I've been trying to talk myself into accepting the fact that I don't.
I remember the last productive workshop I took part in. I was a sophomore at SVSU, and had recently joined the editorial staff of the campus art/literary journal, Cardinal Sins. Then editor-in-chief (a fellow writer and friend of mine) mentioned that his first semester of editing had made him realize how much he missed workshopping. So while we were waiting for submissions to come in, he organized a meeting for anyone interested in a workshop. Four of us (three students and one faculty member) showed up on a Friday morning at the end of January.

I'd like to share the poem I brought to the workshop that day. And I'm doing this because as Lucy mentioned, doing so feels strange. I never in a million years thought that I'd use poetry to leave my comfort zone.

Crossing Jefferson in the Rain

We're the only ones
who speak this language. Words splash
against the windshields
of passing cars, seep through our clothing,
soak into us.

But nothing is permanent.

The fabric will dry and
you'll leave this town, whose
lawns and sidewalks meet
like lock and key,
form a pattern and click
into place.

And I'll keep my eyes closed--
feel every breath of the ground
beneath my step,
each of its shy gestures.

Funny how the last poem I wrote is about a friend who isn't really part of my life anymore. So many things have shaped me in ways that I hadn't expected them to. I'm trying to figure out just how everything fits into my identity without getting hung up on the ways in which they're not significant parts of my life anymore. And I don't want to shut out new things.

I don't know. I wish I had the time/energy/resources to match my capacity to love. But I don't. So, what to do? Who to be?

No comments:

Post a Comment