Friday, March 24, 2023

Beginning My Day with Poetry

Wednesday I started my day with poetry.  I wish I could say that I do this every day, but sadly, I do not.  I try hard to be intentional on at least 3 days a week, so that I'm not starting my day with scrolling through Twitter or Facebook.  

One way I have done this in the past has been to stay away from the computer.  But that's not what I did on Wednesday.  I decided to try to write a rough draft on the computer, which isn't usual for me.  Lately, though, when I'm feeling like a dried out husk with no poetry ideas, I open my Word doc of evocative lines, choose one or two, and see what comes up.  It's amazingly effective.

I wrote a few lines, then turned back to Facebook, where Dave Bonta had posted photos from his daily hike, along with a poem.  I was taken by these lines:  "i go off looking for / my lost winter glove."  I decided to open another Word document to see where that line took me.

Those evocative lines led to a poem of my own.  Once this process wouldn't have been unusual enough to take note of, but these days, it feels more rare that I write a poem that eventually ends up finished.  I sent it to Dave, who posted it on his Via Negativa site.  You can read it here.

I wandered over to Facebook, where I saw a post by Daisy Fried, who introduced her students to Robert Hayden's "Middle Passage."  Along with reading the poem, they listened to this podcast that contains a discussion of the poem--great stuff!  After the podcast, I read this article that talks about the history of how this poem has been received by larger communities (the poetry community, the black community, new generations of activists).

Eventually, I shifted to seminary writing.  I like to think that my seminary writing was deeper and richer because I began my morning with poetry.  I know that my life is richer each day when I begin my day with poetry.

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