THIS BLOG IS NO LONGER OPERATIONAL. PLEASE ENJOY WHAT IS HERE, AND DO LEAVE A COMMENT IF YOU WISH. NORTH CAROLINA'S NEW POET LAUREATE IS CATHY SMITH BOWERS. SHE WILL SOON HAVE HER OWN WEBSITE THROUGH THE NORTH CAROLINA ARTS COUNCIL SITE. I WILL BE SHIFTING MY ATTENTION TO HERE, WHERE I AM, (SEE SIDEBAR)USING IT TO DRAW ATTENTION TO WRITERS WHOSE WORK DESERVES ATTENTION. I INVITE YOU TO VISIT ME THERE. For a video of the installation ceremony, please go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xAk6fOzaNE.
Go to http://www.yourdailypoem.com/, managed with finesse by Jayne Jaudon Ferrer, who says, "Our intent is to make visitors to Your Daily Poem aware of the joy and diversity of poetry."
Sunday, July 12, 2009
(Susan, with coffee, in Florence, Italy)
I found a promising, what we older writers like to call "emerging," young poet last week. One who will without a doubt become one of the writers we North Carolinians can point to with pride. Turns out I knew her already as the daughter of my friend Tom Kirby-Smith, who taught for years at UNC-Greensboro and is himself a fine poet. I knew that he and his wife Noel Callow, also a poet and UNC-G MFA alumna, had a daughter the same age as ours named Susan, that she had attended Oberlin College, where our daughter spent her first year, but beyond that, I hadn't a clue as to what Susan had been doing over the past decade or so.
Well, I found her, or rather she found me, through a comment she left on Rhett Iseman Trull's "Poet of the Week" post. I tracked her down through her online e-zine, Unmoveable Feast, and emailed her, asking to see some of her work. She responded with a poem I liked a lot, and when I asked if she'd let me use it here, she agreed. After you read Susan's poem, go to www.unmoveablefeast.com and look around. There's plenty to enjoy, so take your time.
Susans says, "Right now I am living in Baton Rouge and completing an MFA at LSU. I met Rhett at a conference and then helped her with Cave Wall for a few issues.
My husband and I are thinking of moving back to North Carolina in a year and I know I'll want to continue to get to know literary communities here. Although I am to try out teaching again this year I have been doing editorial work (The Southern Review) and often daydream about being able to have another editorial job at one of the many fine presses around NC.
Here is a poem-like composition that's more or less about writing poetry."
A girl, a woman really, sits inside staring-- for hours in front of a blank, blank screen and, eventually, these poems appear.
But she’s not exactly sure they’re poems Aren’t poems supposed to have images?
Like the girl sitting, on the dirty gray couch, her face tense as the screen fills with words, but how mundane they are and how ordinary the image is—
Can’t she put in something exciting? Something like a red caterpillar?
The thing now crawls with its hundreds of legs, shuffles over and sits down next to her, pokes her with his long spiny tendrils, willing her engagement now.
She tries to groom him, he’s full of poison, speak with him, but he only lies. At long last, she closes the screen-- with a shriek and a puff, he’s vanished away.
The red caterpillar, of course, echoes WC Williams's red wheelbarrow, but what a transformation! Those hundreds of legs, the audacity of that image, poking her, lying to her---how could I resist this poem-like poem? That caterpillar is definitely "emerging"!
I look forward to reading more of Susan's work---soon!
I've lived in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina since 1968, though I'm a native of SW Georgia. My paternal grandmother was born in the Blue Ridge, and I grew up wanting to live here. Where I am.
I've published five collections of poetry, the most recent 4 being with LSU Press, and have published poetry in magazines ranging from The Atlantic Monthly to Appalachian Heritage. But I also hike, bang pots and pans around in my kitchen, and love several dogs who leave fur all over my carpets. I write poetry because it's my way of singing back to the world both within and without.