On poetry.

We recently had the good fortune of being invited to Ross Gay‘s book release for his new volume of poetry.  So we bundled N into her spacesuit, braved the cold, and went — thank you, Ross, for a wonderful evening!  His new poem “To the Fig Tree on 9th and Christian” is spectacular, so kind and expansive, and hearing him read it aloud was quite a treat.

Personally, I don’t write poetry very often.  Main reason?  I’m still not very good. Use too many words to say things.

But I’ve been reading a fair bit of poetry lately.  During the fall I’d sometimes strap N into a jogging stroller and go for a run during the day — if I don’t exercise my brain gets worse and then it’s hard for me to even write prose.

But it’s too cold for the jogging stroller now, so we’ve been going to the YMCA.  Ours is a big indoor facility with a seven-laps-to-the-mile jogging track: I strap N into a carrier and walk with her a while.  And while walking, I’ve been reading poetry out loud.  I figure it’s probably good for her to hear some words arranged more artfully than “Father has the green ball.  Would you like the green ball?” and it’s definitely good for me to intone them.

And it seems that I did feel inspired to write at least one poem back in December.  This one wouldn’t be great for reading aloud; it’s more visual than semantic.  But I still smiled when I was sifting through my files and chanced upon it; one consequence of doing baby care during the day and then writing at night is that sometimes by morning I don’t quite recall what I worked on the night before.  I can only assume this was written at the end of a lousy night.


Edited August 2015:

Here seems like as good a place as any to include a list of some of the other essays I’ve written about poetry; when I began writing these, I didn’t realize how quickly twice-weekly posting would result in an unmanageable collection.  So for those of you who are interested in my totally non-expert thoughts on poetry, here are a few links.
Edited November 2017:
As it happens, I’ve now been teaching a poetry class in the local jail for almost two years.  Many thanks to John-Michael Bloomquist, with whom I co-taught this class for about a year.  A few more-recent posts about poetry are below.