heron on the path

I was not the only one on the path yesterday.

Slowly I walked forward. Soon after this picture, the heron slowly shifted weight and then took off, flew a few wing beats to a clump of grass in the creek.

Summer left in a flurry–a 30-day poetry challenge, LiTFUSE, a new Hugo House class, and a SAL reading, all like running a wonderful race.

I wanted to say, Happy October! Welcome the season of pumpkins and skeletons that have been in the stores for weeks.

I wanted to say, Enjoy the wonder–you never know what’s coming next.

On the way home, I heard about the shooting today in Roseburg, Oregon.

Happiness and excitement about a new month doesn’t fit with the sadness I feel for the people who were killed, the people who were injured, and their families.

Guns and grief. There’s no good apology, and it’s hard to find even a bad reason.

You never know what’s coming next, but wonder is out there anyway.

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card of writing advice

The picture isn’t great, but you get the point, right? Write!

Summer slid into fall on the back of wind, in the wake of rain. I have been feeling silent. I have been shying away from words. I hate saying that out loud, so I haven’t been saying much–here. I have been participating in a poem-a-day challenge (I missed one day–but only one so far). I have been living outside of my comfort zone, which is supposed to be good for me, but then there’s that fear thing. We go way back. But I saw this in a bookstore back in April (!) and wanted to share it.

Here’s to silence of reflection, of listening–not the stingy selfish silence.

Here’s to writing. Happy day before fall.

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I hadn’t planned to take a summer break from blogging, but the days added up, and now it’s August. We managed to take a quick trip to Lummi Island, and otherwise it’s been work, driving, not doing my physical therapy, and breathing. Breathing is good. And writing.

I’ve spent months working on three poems–which leads me to ask: When is revising too much? When do you cross the line from generation and invention to plain old worry?

I now have two versions of a poem–one ends in spring, with the tulip fields. One ends in the fall, with the horse chestnut trees, and I’m trying to decide which to choose, which ending the poem chooses.

What do you do in your impasses? How do you breathe through them, write through them?

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cover of a steady longing for flight

I know that the press started more than 20 years ago–but tonight in 1995 was the reading for their first chapbook award. I was honored to share the stage with James Bertolino, Judith Skillman, and Ted McMahon. Honored and nervous!

Twenty years! Our oldest son was in high school. Our two younger kids hadn’t even started school.

Many thanks to the founding members of the press, especially Peter Pereira and T. Clear. And many thanks to Kathleen Flenniken and all the other fine folks who have kept this press going and growing for two decades.

Cheers to you!

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I was reading Gerald Stern while I was on vacation.

I was reading This Time by Gerald Stern because I’d read Kathleen Graber, and she has mentioned him as a mentor.

Early on, Stern’s poems  made me think of Dean Young’s poems. I looked that up and could not find a direct line between the two, although maybe there’s a meandering line through the New York Schools 1 and 2.

Poems that make you think of other poems, other poets—that’s one kind of conversation. I remember hearing in a class that if you put a fly in a poem, the reader will think of Dickinson. Really? Always? That was intimidating, because I wondered what other things I was supposed to be thinking. But I also get to draw my own connections, listen to what I’m reading and hearing.

Then there’s the conversation that poems within a book are having. I especially enjoy the conversation between poems that have similar titles. Think of the titles in Louise Glück’s The Wild Iris or in Oliver de la Paz’s Furious Lullaby.

Music can make a soundtrack for our lives. We hear a song and remember what we were doing the other times when we heard that song. Or the lyrics remind us of a past moment.

Poetry’s sounds, rhythms, and imagery can evoke similar memories. While I was on Maui reading Stern’s poem “Here I Am Walking,” I thought of my friend Laurie and my days living in New Jersey. Then I sent her the poem. I read Melissa Kwasny’s poem “The Sentience of Rocks” in Pictograph and thought of Joshua Tree (many of the poems in Pictograph brought memories to the surface, bucket after bucket pulled up from the well’s depths).

All these conversations, these connections–and we need only to read, to listen.

What are you hearing between poets, between poems, between reading and the rest of living?

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