Thursday, February 7, 2019

Love, daughters, and spelling

When I was sixteen, it was simple. Poetry existed; therefore it could be written; and nobody had told me — yet — the many, many reasons why it could not be written by me.
~Margaret Atwood

I've been writing poems for the peace poem postcard project (a poem a day in February) and I've noticed some things about myself. One is that I don't want to send anybody a poem I don't like, which is a lot of pressure (impossible??) for that many poems. The second is that I can't handwrite a poem on a postcard for anything. My lines are too long and I wind up changing my line breaks. Even though my handwriting is pretty neat, I wind up worrying about the poems' readability. I've been printing my poems and then gluing them on the postcards because I can have longer poems that way.

I need to tap into my short poem self, which has been fairly elusive thus far. I wrote this short ekprastic poem based on Gaston La Touche's The Joyous Festival and then was like, ack, it's not peace-themed! Ah well, at least I can share it with y'all!

Also this week: my 17yo has been studying Margaret Atwood poems in English class and she and I discussed a number of them. Atwood is not an easy poet, so I am impressed that the kids are digging into her work. If all the kids in her school read Atwood, I would have different options when I am figuring out which poems to put up for National Poetry Month. Anyhoo, one that Elena and I discussed was the spicy Spelling:

My daughter plays on the floor
with plastic letters,
red, blue & hard yellow,
learning how to spell,
how to make spells.

I wonder how many women
denied themselves daughters,
closed themselves in rooms,
drew the curtains
so they could mainline words.

read the rest here.

One more quote:

I can tell you that once upon a time when I was doing public events people would ask me, "What do you think about the arts?, What do you think of the role of women?, What do you think of men?, What do you think of all of these things?", and now they ask one thing, and that one thing is this, "Is there hope?"
~Margaret Atwood

The answer, of course, is yes. Always yes.

Writing the World for Kids has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Laura!


Linda B said...

Well, short or long, your own 'words' say much, that poem/postcard is a wonderful love poem, no need for fireworks above indeed! And the Atwood. My mind swirls with each part, making my own meaning I guess, and with your introduction, I wonder what those students are thinking/sharing? I loved "& the word
splits & doubles & speaks/the truth" maybe always & only the poet's truth? Thanks, Tabatha, you always make me think, then think again.

Heidi Mordhorst said...

First: how wonderful that there is a real person named Gaston La Touche.

Second, what makes you think that there is no peace theme brushed across that short poem? Literally, Tabatha, there are
no need for
explosions above us
when we are
lit up

Thanks for lighting us up with Atwood, and I really love that Naomi SN story from yesterday.

Kimberly Hutmacher said...

Your postcard poem is just beautiful- and so perfect for peace, love, and Valentine's Day.

Irene Latham said...

Tabatha, that IS a peace poem! And yes yes yes to hope. I share your issues with the postcard poems! Great that you're using it as a way to challenge yourself to write short-er. Love that you are sharing yourself with the world in this way. xo

Iphigene said...

The poem you wrote, it brought that painting alive. It was treat, all of it. Thanks for sharing.

Ruth said...

I agree with Heidi - that poem IS about peace! :-)

jama said...

Love your postcard poem, so beautiful! Thanks, too, for the Atwood quotes and poem -- she's quite a challenging poet to study and understand.

Tara Smith said...

I love your postcard poem, Tabatha - there is peace in light and joy, after all. I find that I need to ruminate over Atwood's poems before their meaning and intention become clear, I'd love to be in that classroom as your daughter and her classmates discuss Atwood!

Linda said...

Your peace postcard poem is lovely, Tabatha. I also enjoyed reading the Atwood quotes. Thank you!

Karen Edmisten said...

I agree with others that your poem is indeed a peace poem. Yes to hope!
I find Atwood so challenging and interesting -- I need to sit with that poem a bit.

Mitchell Linda said...

omg, Tabatha, you silly. Of course you've written a peace poem. And, the thought of you not being able to do exactly what you want to do with words....well, that makes me laugh because its just not possible in my imagination. I love that you and Elena discussed this poem. I love that somewhere young people are wiping the marrow of Atwood from their fingers.

Michelle Kogan said...

Lovely image and poem Tabatha– It's "lit up" and glowing too! What a power-packed poem from Margaret Atwood-lots to think about and ponder on there… And to her last question, Yes there must be hope! Thanks for all Tabatha.

Liz Steinglass said...

I agree with Heidi. I think your postcard poem is FULL of peace. I would definitely include it. And I'm blown away by the Atwood poem. I will come back to it later today and tomorrow and the next day. I just sent it to my daughter.

Molly Hogan said...

Your postcard poem is gorgeous and I agree with what so many others said--it resonates with peace! The Atwood poem deserves much more than a cursory reading by me and I will come back to it later when I'm in that kind of space. Thank you for always sparking thoughts and ideas with your posts.

Christie Wyman said...

I'll be honest. I didn't realize Margaret Atwood wrote poetry. Something new to explore! I think your postcard is peacefully perfect!

Margaret Simon said...

I don't think I can say anything that hasn't already been said, but it bears repeating. Your postcard poem has peace written all over it. And thanks for the dip into Margaret Atwood. I can't tackle her books; I've never tried her poetry.

laurasalas said...

Your poem is stunning, Tabatha! It made me FEEL peaceful and joyful, even if it wasn't about peace. Thank you for sharing:)

Brenda Harsham said...

Yes, there is hope as long as people keep writing poetry. Thanks for this wonderful, rich and simmering post, full of an overflowing of short poems.

Here is an Answer in a Found Poem (and it's short)

Margaret Meets Tabatha

Is there hope?
Always yes.

Carol Varsalona said...

Here’s to hope, peace, and pondering! I also liked your poem as it flowed alongside the lanterns.

Jone MacCulloch said...

What a beautiful poem for peace.