Friday, January 3, 2014

A Lovely Way To Do No Harm

Phoebe took this picture this morning on her photography walk. I think it is poem worthy.
For Christmas, my dear sweet poet friend send me a book called The Poetry Home Repair Manual, by Ted Kooser.

Last year at this time when I was in my dark night of the soul, I took her poetry class, and it was often the only thing that I had to look forward to. Poetry is just one of the daily miracles that helped me through those months.

This is a book I had been wanting ever since I heard her mention the title last summer. And so far, it is brilliant. I have been drunk on reading it since New Year's Eve and I thought I would share one really great part.

By the way, Ted Kooser was the U.S. Poet Laureate from 2004-2006. Did you know that there is a national poet appointed every two years. Yep. He/she is called the Poet Laureate, and part of their appointment is to try to make the country better through poetry. This book, published in 2005, was probably part of that effort.

To preface this, I should say that I have been writing for years, and sometimes I write poems, (here is a favorite) but I have never called myself a poet, because I always believed that this would be offensive to real poets (whatever the definition of real poet was in my mind).

But Ted has a great section in which he addresses these elitist notions about poetry. Here is an excerpt:

"Considering the ways in which so many of us waste our time, what would be wrong with a world in which everybody were writing poems? After all, there's a significant service to humanity in spending time doing no harm. While you're writing your poem there's one less scoundrel in the world. And I'd like a world, wouldn't you, in which people actually took time to think about what they were saying? It would be, I'm certain, a more peaceful, more reasonable place. I don't think there could ever be too many poets. By writing poetry, even those poems that fail and fail miserably, we honor and affirm life. We say 'We loved the world but could not stay.'"

Brilliant, no?

I used to teach writing and I sort of miss it. I think I will plan some poetry readings in the near future for anyone who wants to come visit my oasis here. If you want to make my day, feel free to share or link a favorite poem in comments.

Here is a link to one that inspired the title of my other blog. Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. I'm ordering that book now! I love Ted Kooser, he wrote a poem I love called In the Basement of the Goodwill Store.

    And sharing poems, good idea :)

    One of my favorites, short 'n sweet:
    this one's good too: