poetrysaturday

Poetry Saturday!

Years ago I brought a guest with me to an art opening at the Hammer Museum here in L.A. I was deciding whether to date this man who was considerably older than I was and a little bit of an enigma. At the end of the evening I asked a couple of friends what they thought of him. One replied, “He seemed nice.” Another said he was “handsome and smart.” And my friend Stephanie Ford gave it thoughtful consideration, then described him as “curmudgeonly and urbane.” And in her two words I suddenly understood the strange push and pull I had been feeling toward this man for months. That’s what Stephanie Ford, my friend and poet, does. She simply and eloquently reveals the heart of the matter. And her new collection of poems, All Pilgrim, reveals our ordinary day to day lives here in Los Angeles. With titles like “If Every Point is an Origin” and “Temporary Assets of the Visible West” her poems manage to see through the smog of the city and honor its light with a surprisingly hopeful undercurrent and a wonderfully specific vantage point. And through her efforts our ordinary days spent merging with traffic or gridlocked seem suddenly extraordinary. 

Random Book from my Book Shelf, or Books are My Memories …   In honor of Poetry Saturday I pulled one of my favorite poetry books off the shelf. I had the honor of taking a writing workshop with Lucie Brock-Broido 26 years ago. I remember that summer like it was yesterday: Boston, a series of dusks, the second floor of an university brownstone, a small clanky window unit air conditioner, a small group of eager young poets, and Lucie–no words really to describe her fully. Doe-like eyes, hair past her waist, extraordinary insight, and poems that begged to be read out loud–delicious morsels in my mouth, worlds beyond my imagination but still grounded in the domestic details of our daily lives. As in this excerpt from her poem, “Domestic Mysticism:”  “In thrice 10,000 seasons, I will come back to this world/In a white cotton dress. Kingdom of After My Own Heart./Kingdom of Fragile. Kingdom of Dwarves. When I come home,/Teacups will quiver in their Dresden saucers, pentatonic chimes/Will move in wind. A covey of alley cats will swarm on the side/Porch & perch there, portents with quickened heartbeats/You will feel against your ankles as you pass through…”

Random Book from my Book Shelf, or Books are My Memories …

In honor of Poetry Saturday I pulled one of my favorite poetry books off the shelf. I had the honor of taking a writing workshop with Lucie Brock-Broido 26 years ago. I remember that summer like it was yesterday: Boston, a series of dusks, the second floor of an university brownstone, a small clanky window unit air conditioner, a small group of eager young poets, and Lucie–no words really to describe her fully. Doe-like eyes, hair past her waist, extraordinary insight, and poems that begged to be read out loud–delicious morsels in my mouth, worlds beyond my imagination but still grounded in the domestic details of our daily lives. As in this excerpt from her poem, “Domestic Mysticism:”

“In thrice 10,000 seasons, I will come back to this world/In a white cotton dress. Kingdom of After My Own Heart./Kingdom of Fragile. Kingdom of Dwarves. When I come home,/Teacups will quiver in their Dresden saucers, pentatonic chimes/Will move in wind. A covey of alley cats will swarm on the side/Porch & perch there, portents with quickened heartbeats/You will feel against your ankles as you pass through…”