Originally Blogging the Artist's Way. Thoughts, musings, experience of the 12-week course, January to March 2006. And after that?.... Life, creativity, writing. Where does it all meet? Here, perhaps.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Poetry Thursday. The Meme

This week at Poetry Thursday, we're invited to complete a meme on what poetry means to us. Well, before I go and read what anyone else has to say, I thought I'd write out my top-of-the-head responses to the prompts/questions.

1. The first poem I remember reading/hearing/reacting to was …"Bed in Summer" from "A Child's Garden of Verse, by Robert Louis Stevenson. My mother gave me a gift of this book when I was about 6 or 7, and lots of those poems stay with me. They are part of the culture of my childhood, and remain as reference points for my sister and I. Just a couple of months ago, she quoted from it, when she was on night-work, and had to sleep during the day, and I knew exactly what she meant.

2. I was forced to memorize (name of poem) in school and … Too many poems, and I've forgotten most of them. The Lady of Shallott stands out. I loved it, but was a bit of rebel when it came to memorisation. I don't even memorise my own poems, and wish I did. I love to see a poet recite their work without needing to refer to "the book"

3. I read/don’t read poetry because … I read because it feeds me. It nourishes me. It brings light into my life. Poetry says so much that I thought couldn't be said.

4. A poem I’m likely to think about when asked about a favorite poem is …Primo Levi's "To my Friends", I can't find a link at the moment, but think I used it in one of the early Poetry Thursday posts. Yes.... HERE IT IS Just in case you don't have time to follow the link, here are the few lines that catch my heart whenever I read

........I speak for you, companions of a crowded
........Road, not without its difficulties,
........And for you too, who have lost
........Soul, courage, the desire to live;
........Or no one, or someone, or perhaps only one person, or
........Who are reading me: remember the time
........Before the wax hardened,
........When everyone was like a seal.
........Each of us bears the imprint
........Of a friend met along the way;
........In each the trace of each.
........For good or evil
........In wisdom or in folly
........Everyone stamped by everyone.

5. I write/don’t write poetry, but … I write poetry, but always think my last poem is my last poem, because I have no idea where they come from, and doubt that there will ever be any more, and then... along comes a poem, I write it down, and still doubt it... is it a poem, really? Is it any good? Does it actually say something? And given some time, when I look in my notebook next week or next month, sometimes I am pleasantly surprised to find a poem I seem to have written that I like.

6. My experience with reading poetry differs from my experience with reading other types of literature … Yes. I seldom read an entire book of poetry, even of a poet I love. I pick and dip. But then, with fiction I seldom go back, even to books I have loved, whereas poets... Yes, I return again and again. AND... I love to share poems. I'm much more likely to insist that people listen to this poem than that they read that novel.

7. I find poetry … everywhere.

8. The last time I heard poetry … Hmmm. Was it my own voice? Eeek. Yes. I was recording some poems for a radio programme. First time ever. Not yet broadcast.

9. I think poetry is like …sunshine, like rain. It is the stuff of life. What makes us grow.

Find more Poetry Thursday memes HERE

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At 6/12/06 10:56 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I went back and read the Levi poem in its entirety and it is a good one. Each of us leaves our mark on each one we meet (even the ones we've only met through cyberspace).

And The Lady of Shallott always reminds me of Anne of Green Gables and her oh-so-dramatic re-enactment ;-)

Thanks for allowing us this glimpse.

At 7/12/06 1:32 am, Blogger Endment said...

I enjoyed reading this! Have been asking myself whether to respond to this meme - You have really put together an interesting response.

At 7/12/06 4:53 am, Blogger deirdre said...

I still feel so ignorant about poetry, not always sure what I'm reading or how to comment on what I've read. It's good see a poet write about what poetry means to them.

At 7/12/06 6:27 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks. Nice read.

At 7/12/06 8:26 am, Anonymous tinker said...

I remember A Child's Garden of Verses - I love the Land of Counterpane. Thanks for bringing back that memory for me. It was interesting reading your answers to the meme, Imelda.

At 7/12/06 9:09 am, Anonymous Bice said...

What a lovely memory you have of your mother giving you the gift of the Stevenson book as a child. I wished I had moments like that from my childhood. Cherish them forever!

At 7/12/06 3:47 pm, Anonymous r's musings said...

The last line of Primo Levi's poem, "Everyone stamped by everyone." How true. I like to read aloud, too, but I don't like the sound of my voice on a recording.

At 7/12/06 4:16 pm, Blogger gkgirl said...

you made me
the robert louis stevenson
poem i used to read
when i was little...
something about animal crackers
in bed i think...

At 7/12/06 6:05 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is so great:

"I write poetry, but always think my last poem is my last poem, because I have no idea where they come from, and doubt that there will ever be any more,"

I think that surprise and delight in the craft and process will definitely keep you writing for a long, long time. I see that, in a way, as gratitude for the gift.

At 7/12/06 6:05 pm, Blogger Amber said...

As i have said in other comments to this meme, blogging as opened me up to poetry. It had been so long in not really reading much poetry. But I realized that the writers I love all write in a poetic voice! So now I look for it, starting a new enjoyment.


At 7/12/06 7:28 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the Levi poem. AND congratulations on the radio gig- that's very cool.

Have you ever heard Loreena McKennitt's version of Lady of Shalott? It's on The Visit album. Maybe you might want to put it on your Christmas list?

At 7/12/06 9:24 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No. 6 hit home with me because more often than not, I just flip thorugh the pages of the book and dog ear the poems that really speak to me. I kind of let the pages fall where they may...
I really enjoyed your meme.

At 8/12/06 3:58 am, Blogger Jane Poe (aka Deborah) said...

I loved reading your answers. The words you wrote in #5 were interesting ... although I don't think I'll ever have a last poem (until I depart this earth), I do sometimes wonder where a poem came from or marvel that I created a certain poem ... I suppose it is all rooted in doubting our own abilities to a certain degree. Keep writing!! Much peace, JP

At 8/12/06 4:27 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too am fascinated by your #5, the magical way your poems come to you. I'd wager that they never do stop coming - nor should they.

At 10/12/06 10:38 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought of the RLS book too. I had it when I was a kid.


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