jillypoet: mom trying to write

Each day I wish I had invented waterproof sticky notes (for shower inspiration) or pen-friendly diapers to get down all my quirky thoughts that I am sure are relevant and publishable. And so God (actually another writer-mommy) sent me The Blog.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

jillypoet writing, writing

OK dear readers. I have been in blog limbo long enough. I can’t say why, definitively, I haven’t written, but clearly, since my last post was pre-turkey day, and no, I did not cook the turkey this year, I have been remiss.

To commemorate my return to blogdom, I am doing a meme in response to Poetry Thursday’s prompt. I’m not sure what a meme is. It reads like a me! me! kind of thing. You know, “It’s all about me… “ Our pastor likes to sing that occasionally.

Anyway, here it is. First the actual questions, then my actual answers. And just so you know how dedicated I am to this polka-dotted blog of mine, and to my dear polka-dotted witch friend who made me realize I had to get off my “bleep” and write again, my head feels like it’s about to explode and my 1-year-old is asleep, so just who is going to call the paramedics?

PS: I have news! My poem “The Thing About Summer” has been published in Literary Mama! You can see it all this month at http://www.literarymama.com!

1. The first poem I remember reading/hearing/reacting to was …

The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes. I think this may be a lyric poem, if it is a poem at all. Can you believe, me a lit. major, and I don't know for sure? It was in one of those fancy bound books people buy to put on their shelves and look literary. I remember dark nights under the tall pines in the Adirondacks and my mother’s haunting voice (she worked hard to be haunting, for effect) repeating, “The highwayman came riding, riding…” Intersting, my first memory of a poem is of terror… I mean, check out Part One: The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees,The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,The road was a ribbon of moonlight, over the purple moor,And the highwayman came riding- Riding-riding-The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn door.

To read the whole poem, click here. http://web.cecs.pdx.edu/~trent/ochs/lyrics/highwayman-orig.html

2. I was forced to memorize (name of poem) in school and …

I didn’t have to memorize any poem that I can think of. I memorized a limerick that my dad taught me with the word “pee” in it. Much to my mother’s chagrin…

Oh, yeah, “You do not do, you do not do one black shoe…” Anne Sexton. No, no, no. Sylvia Plath. I will have to look it up. And “Love set me going like a fat gold watch…” I should have done my research before I started this. These days I am so far from Sylvia Plath & Anne Sexton, both literally (both of their books are in my attic with the stairs I have a hard time pulling down) and figuratively, because I am just not a daddy-hater, feminist, head-in-the-oven kind of girl any more. But I still like their words.

3. I read/don’t read poetry because …

I read poetry because I love words. I love stories. I think the best poems are stories with just the right words. And I love “a-ha” poems. Like, a-ha! I totally know what you mean, or A-ha! I never thought of it that way before!

Sometimes I don’t read poetry on purpose because I am feeling that I can never write a decent poem again and I don’t want to be reminded of how beautiful and clever and witty words can sound if only you would string them together and bind them to the page. Truly.

4. A poem I’m likely to think about when asked about a favorite poem is …

Anything by Mary Oliver. “You do not have to be good.” Who could not love that line? Who, except some of the suburban, mini-van moms in my neighborhood, could not afford to live by that credo?

5. I write/don’t write poetry, but …

Yes. I write/don’t write poetry. No but. I write. I don’t write. That is it. I write. Then I don’t write. But poems are always in my head. Lately, my 1-year-old is louder than the poems. Except when she’s asleep in the backseat. And then, when I see a blue jay run over by a sedan and live to fly away on the other side of the fender, by God! I am writing, so watch out suburban mini-van moms, jillypoet is writing while she’s driving!

6. My experience with reading poetry differs from my experience with reading other types of literature …

I read fiction to lose myself. I read poetry to find new and exciting ways of looking at words. Kind of like why some people try new restaurants with innovative chefs, and some people stick to their favorite diner or family restaurant that always serves spaghetti on Wednesday. That is not to say that I don’t like the reassurance of spaghetti on Wednesday, but sometimes grilled squid is nice on Wednesday, along with some saki and wasabi and raw tuna. Wouldn’t raw tuna be a great name for a band?

7. I find poetry …

Everywhere. One of my favorite poems is “You Can’t Write a Poem About McDonalds.” I saw a bluejay get run over, for goodness sake, and after weighing the pros and cons of being late to pick up my kindergartener/versus pulling over during a snow squall and hauling my 1-year-old out to find the bird and bring it home to nurse it back to health, I pulled in the school parking lot and wrote a poem in a coloring book, which was the only paper I had handy.

8. The last time I heard poetry …

My son said, “Mommy, look, there’s your movie, Charlotte’s Warehouse.” I told you, I find poetry everywhere. The last time I heard spoken word, grown-up poetry, was on my local public access channel. Our library was airing an interview with a local poet. Julie Gutman. She’s a tall woman with an imposing voice. Her poetry rocks! My husband taped it for me while I was out teaching. He’s a computer guy. He thinks Jim Morrison is a true poet. That’s true love, a dude like that taping a poetry reading for me!

9. I think poetry is like …

Finding the perfect Christmas tree and feeling the raw edges of the rusty saw cut through the first sappy fibers.

Like kissing a stranger under a full moon in July.

Like giving birth to a 9 pound baby with no epidural and knowing it’s your own damn fault because you waited too long at home picking lilies of the valley.

Like smelling snow in the air.

Like hearing a whole band of chickadees and tufted tit mice and not being able to see a single bird, anywhere.

I think poetry is like the coolest thing, ever, man.

Poetry Thursday, you saved my life!


Blogger G said...

Jilly! welcome back! Congrats on the Literary Mama thing! And I'm sorry about the blue jay and the sedan. Makes you want to stop driving. So we have more in common: you've quoted Plath's "Morning Song" ("love...watch") in your meme, and you gave birth to a 9-lb w/o anesthesia because you waited too long. And we have a 1-y/o baby. And I love Oliver's "Wild Geese" too. So glad you're back!

4:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome back! I absolutely love #7: I'd love to read that poem about McDonalds. Incidentally, that entire answer sounds like a pretty great poem to me.

ps: congrats on your poem in literary mama! I'm off to read it now.

pps: "You do not do, you do not do, Any more black shoe, in which I have lived like a foot for thirty years, poor and white" is Plath's Daddy.

4:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, welcome back! Loved reading your answers. And congrats on your publication in Literary Mama! Woo Hoo!

4:29 PM  
Anonymous my backyard said...

Enjoyed your poem in Literary Mama. Congratulations!

4:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First, congrats on LIterary Mama. I have jilly envy--not just of your published poem but of your bio. you are the real deal and the emerging even realer dealer. (with words like these, is it any wonder that I am a lackluster, underappreciated blogger?)

i loved your answers to the meme. and i'll admit right along with you that i didn't/don't know what its name means BUT i completed it in my journal and decided not to post it b/c it was "lackluster" but you've inspired me to go ahead. mostly because i pale so greatly by comparison to the first poem you ever heard. the headless horseman? i put "humpty dumpty." ugh. :)

8:05 PM  
Blogger jillypoet said...

Oh my blogging frineds, I have missed you! Thanks for your comments! g: how is it we've never met, so connected we are? poet w/ day job: I will look for the poem and either post it or send you the author's name. And thanks for the help with Plath! All cells just aren't firing, I guess! January & my backyard: thanks! Carolee: Dude! Lackluster? As if.

9:38 PM  
Blogger liz elayne said...

okay, you are my kind of woman...getting lost in the joy of picking lily of the valley only to have to give birth without an epidural. that sounds exactly like something that would happen to me. i can hear my saying to my husband, "just a few more minutes. i am doing okay. i promise."

and "aha" poetry...my favorite kind.

love your answers.

12:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"the coolest thing ever, man!" agreed.

i like to say that we all think in poetry, so i wonder how one could not write while driving...

thanks for your comments, jilly.

2:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i had to read this again and i had to comment again because there's a poem for you in here: "because I am just not a daddy-hater, feminist, head-in-the-oven kind of girl any more." where is she now? what have you done with her? where did she go? do you miss her?

1:58 PM  
Blogger deirdre said...

Welcome back. Your answers to #9 are poetry in themselves.

5:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the Christmassy definition of poetry.

4:50 AM  
Anonymous Kris Underwood said...

hey-welcome back! Congrats on Literary Mama! I am a bit jealous-been trying them on and off for poetry. Off to read it!

10:31 AM  
Anonymous Kris Underwood said...

Oh-and the Highwayman-love that poem. It is indeed a lyric poem.Loreena Mckennitt(sp?) does a rendition of it. lovely and haunting.

10:38 AM  
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