Wordsworth believed that poetry "takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility"
Thursday, February 28, 2013 was a very interesting day for me. I’ve several websites I check each morning, and The Writer’s Almanac entry set the tone for my day.
The poem for that day, one in free verse, which to me means it doesn’t rhyme and has no meter, was Breakfast, by Joyce Sutphen. An o.k. poem, quite a bit toward the prose side of writing, but evoking a pleasant scene. I thought a bit about it and decided it made for a nice memory.
The single birthday entry for the day was that of novelist Colum McCann. I’d never come across any of his writings. What struck me was this bit: He has had a happy life, he says, the kind that doesn't make for an interesting story. He said, "For me, the logical conclusion is that I have to write outside my life." All day long that Thursday I thought about how my own happy life was the same – the kind that doesn’t make for interesting writing. Yet in that poem about breakfast with her father, Sutphen took the memory of a brief moment in an ordinary morning from a happy but probably otherwise, for many, uninteresting life, and made a web-worthy poem. Uninteresting lives don’t make for interesting novels, but they’ve got lots of poem potential.
I wish I was a poet. I’ve many interesting bits that might come out well as poetry if I just write them out as a sentence and then rearrange it into a few stanzas. It’s something to think about. Could I do that?
Then – two days later on March 2, came this poem, The Key, by Jane Hirshfield. It too is about a morning, but very different, still free verse, but not just a slice of life. I’m torn as to which of the two I like best. --- I’m still torn, and I’m writing this on March 10th. I’ll post it when I’ve got an opening.