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Monday, May 19, 2014

What's Deep Inside



Since my writing infancy, I’ve penned poems, though as a rule, I don’t “get” poetry.  Oh, I understand my own, of course, and other free verse examples.  But in high school and college English, I struggled when we had to analyze poetry.  It took me forever understand meanings, and if you consider poetry styles, I’m clueless.  Couplets?  Sonnets? Sextets? Iambic Pentameter? Huh? I remember during junior year of college, digging into Walt Whitman’s When Lilacs last in the Dooryard Bloomed which (I think) was an elegy, written after Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, and struggling to get through it. I had a good professor, Dr. Reiss, and he got me where I needed to be,  but the whole exercise felt like peeling bark from a tree with my fingernails.

Still, I write poetry even now, and I wrote a poem last summer and posted it to this blog, while undergoing what felt like a seismic shift when our only daughter was about to turn twenty.  Recently, Robin, of Your Daily Dose honored me by reprising it on her blog.  

Robin is one of the most generous blogging souls as it pertains to supporting other bloggers, and I was tickled when she featured me.  But I was surprised, too, that with all the essays I’ve written over the last five years, Robin chose to represent me via a poem I wrote during the weeks when it seemed our daughter’s childhood was peeling away.   When I found my poem on her blog, I had this golly-gosh realization.  Oh right. That’s me.  Sometimes, I write poetry.

Robin’s call-out made me realize something.  The thing about poetry is that every word needs to be honed down to its absolute, essential meaning. Writing poems allows me to strip back words until I get to a nugget—a place where I can stare down the spare language of feeling, and digest it.

There are times in life emotion is so great, it's hard to express it.  That's what poetry is for.
A big thank you to Robin for reminding me.


16 comments:

Old Kitty said...

Of course you are a poet! I remember that lovely poem! I totally agree with Robin too - it's a gorgeous piece of writing! Take care
x

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Hopefully that prods you to write more poems!

Karen Walker said...

Well now I am going to have to go check Robin's blog to see the poem. I can take some lessons from what you say here about writing poetry and apply it to my novel.

Robin said...

Blogging in many ways feels like journal writing to me. Even if that isn't the intent. Writing is so deeply personal that what we feel inevitably leaks out here. If you ever want to know where you have been or how far you have come, read your own old blogs. You will be shocked to see parts of yourself that you forget about right here.

And, yes, writing poetry is part of you who are. Not all of who you are by any means. But it is a slice of Liza.

I loved showcasing your blog on mine.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I have the same struggles with poetry as you though I've tried and tried. My brain is too math oriented, I think. Hope you keep at yours.

mshatch said...

I've written poetry, too, and enjoyed the classes I took. But I'm not a poet, I just like to dabble sometimes :)

Jennifer Shirk said...

Ooh, yes, poetry is a whole different animal. I can't write it. Kudos to you for being a poet on top of everything else!
You're so creative!

Jan Morrison said...

I remember that lovely poem! I have always written poetry no matter what else I may be involved with. Probably if I was forced to choose between novels, plays and poems I would choose poems. Luckily no one is going to make me though! Short stories are the thing I can't do. Weird and wonderful are the ways of writers...

emaginette said...

Like all art forms poetry is very individual. Your earlier encounters with it might not have touched you. Lucky for us you still let poet out. :-)

Anna from Shout with Emaginette

Michael Di Gesu said...

You are so right about Robin... She is so giving...

Poetry is a wonderful style of writing because it does express our raw emotions and opens a window into our soles...

I remember your poem from Robin's blog and it was very special.

Wine and Words said...

I so agree...about the nugget. Poetry for me, takes the puzzle bits of feeling and emotion and paints a picture I can look at and say, "YES! That is exactly it!" It takes my thought process out of a whirlwind and into something concrete. And yes...sometimes we write poetry :)

~Sia McKye~ said...

Yes. That's the beauty of poetry. It's a way to express emotion. I've done that all my life during the worse times and the best times. I don't necessarily consider myself a poet and I don't use all the different parameters of poetry. I use what fits my emotion at the moment.

How nice to have someone, like Robin, appreciate what you wrote and was drawn to the emotion behind it. It feels good!

Sia McKye Over Coffee

~Sia McKye~ said...

Yes. That's the beauty of poetry. It's a way to express emotion. I've done that all my life during the worse times and the best times. I don't necessarily consider myself a poet and I don't use all the different parameters of poetry. I use what fits my emotion at the moment.

How nice to have someone, like Robin, appreciate what you wrote and was drawn to the emotion behind it. It feels good!

Sia McKye Over Coffee

Nick Wilford said...

I envy those who can write poetry because it's a great skill to put words together in such a way to evoke a strong emotion. I know I can't do it!

Stephanie Faris said...

That's the tough thing about poetry--every word counts. That's why picture books are so hard to write. I stick with middle grade novels...it's actually easier to say something with a lot of words than it is to say it with a few words!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Liza, that poem is so beautiful, but I'm not surprised because your prose is always filled with stunning language, too. You have an artist's eye with words.