Friday, February 24, 2017

A poetic look back at Baltimore with Lynne Viti

HALLIE EPHRON: Poetry seems to me the most challenging of the literary art forms. Scenes are the atomic particles of novels, and their sheer length (pages!) gives the writer a lot of wiggle room. The poet’s atomic particle is the word. Every one has to be perfectly chosen, placed on the page, and ultimately read aloud and considered.

When I heard that my friend from college days, Lynne Viti, would soon be publishing a collection of poems – Baltimore Girls – I couldn’t wait to read them and to talk to her about how, how on earth, you write a poem.

Welcome to Jungle Red, Lynne… congratulations! And please, share where does this collection of poems spring from?

LYNNE S. VITI: In Baltimore Girls I reach back into my memories of growing up in the ‘Fifties and ‘Sixties in the city of Baltimore, at a time when that very segregated northernmost Southern city was on the cusp of social and political change, and then became swept up in that chaotic time.

Memories of family— of the city itself, its factories and churches, public swimming pools, taverns, buses and trolleys, churches— blend with my imagined journey, through poetry, back to my adolescence: an all-girls Catholic school, coming of age, the fascination with music, from James Brown to the Beatles to the Rolling Stones, our rebellion against our parents’ tastes and mores. We thought we were so cool, that our parents knew next to nothing, relics from the Depression and the World War II era that they were.

HALLIE: Such a perfect way of framing the first poem in the collection, “Salad Days.” It includes this:


Our mothers thought our world was crazy. 

Too much Orbison and Presley, then in a whirr,

James Brown, the man in the orange cape, and

the Beatles, who made us scream, or the

Subversive Dylan, who questioned us,

How does it feel, to be on your own?
--when our mothers wanted us to be safe--

Take the bus to school, be home on time.

No drinking, no smoking, study hard,

Go to college. Find a nice boy. Get

married, stay in town. Our town, which

changed and burned, changed and burned again.
What’s so cool about this is that you’re both looking both ways, both back to when you were a teenager but from the perspective of a mother of two grown sons.

LYNNE:
I began to see all of our shared history through the eyes of
a mature woman who now found herself on the other end of it, dealing with two sons and seeing them through their adolescence–out of “adultescence”  and into adulthood, in the new millennium.

HALLIE:
What else did you find yourself writing about?


LYNNE:
Several of the poems focus on the loss of friendships, whether by neglect or attrition, geographical distance, or death.  This preoccupation with loss is something that has always been part of my psychological makeup. But it has grown more intense, and more poignant, in my late sixties. 

Thinking about these losses and working towards the insights that come from meditating on one’s own mortality, have, I think, made my poetry deeper and more universal. I hope that a reader need not have grown up as a Baltimore girl in my era, for the poems to resonate with her or him.


HALLIE: Do you think poetry needs to be heard (as opposed to silently read)? I often find myself reading a poem aloud to myself, just because the spoken word seems to carry more meaning. And then I need to repeat it so I can hear it again.

LYNNE: Something I feel quite strongly about is the need for
poetry to be out there in the world, as a spoken art, a text read aloud, not merely lines in a printed book that no one borrows from the library. For me, this means doing readings everywhere I can get my foot in the door—public libraries, writing workshops, open mics, bookstores, churches, community centers. I use social media like Facebook and Twitter, as well as my blog, to get my poetry in front of people who would not normally buy poetry books, or borrow them from the library.

HALLIE:
So will you be giving readings? Where? When??


LYNNE:
 

April 2,  2017, Westwood Public Library, Westwood, MA 3-5 PM

May 6, 2017 Massachusetts Poetry Festival, reading Salem, MA

October 19, 2017  Featured poet, Gallery 55, Natick, MA

January  13, 2017  Florida Center for the Book, Fort Lauderdale, FL


HALLIE: What’s your writing process? Do you workshop the poems with other writers or is it a solitary effort? Does a poem flow out or come in spurts?

LYNNE: I start by writing alone. I write on foolscap, those yellow lined legal pads.  Sometimes I start a poem in a notebook, but those big tablets are my favorite. I revise  right on the first draft, until it gets too messy, then I get it down on the computer. I save every version of a poem, because sometimes I've revised it, but haven''t made it better, and I  go back to an earlier version to get it right.


 I have a poetry writing group of two, actually. As well, I participate on and off in Danielle Legros Georges (Poet Laureate of Boston)'s poetry workshops, and for three years --up until 2014, I was a regular member of poetry workshops that the previous Boston Poet Laureate, Sam Cornish. Getting feedback from a variety of workshop participants is daunting, but also very useful.

I put myself on a schedule. I try to write a poem, or part of one, each day. Sometimes I get stuck, but usually, I start a poem and finish it, revise it, revise it again, and then show it to one of my first readers for feedback. Then I revise.

If I submit a poem over and over again and receive rejections from all sides, I look at it with a cold critical eye and work on it some more.  I hate to give up on a poem.


HALLIE: This is making me want to go back and revisit the many books of poetry we have, slow down, and read aloud to myself.

Today's question: Is there a place for poetry in your life, and which poets (or lyricists) have spoken to you and for you?


Baltimore Girls is a brief collection of poems that examines the poet’s early life in the 1960s and the culture in which she grew up. It is personal history — tales of a small group of young women who lived in the segregated city of my youth. The poems are mini-memoirs, snapshots of young women who had determined they were bound for greater things: “we were in a hurry to get out of town, out of state, through school, to a job…”
Pre-order from Finishing Line Press

Lynne Viti is a senior lecturer in the Writing Program at Wellesley College, where she teaches writing-intensive courses in bioethics, legal studies, media studies, and journalism. Her poetry, nonfiction and fiction has appeared in over forty online and print journals and anthologies, including The Wire: Urban Decay and American Television (2009), The Baltimore Sun, Amuse-Bouche, The Paterson Review, The Little Patuxent Review, Drunk Monkeys, Cultured Vultures, Incandescent Mind, and Right Hand Pointing. She won an Honorable Mention in the 2015 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Contest, and the summer 2015 music poetry contest at The Song Is. She blogs at stillinschool.wordpress.com.

54 comments:

  1. “Baltimore Girls” sounds quite intriguing and I’m looking forward to reading it.
    I enjoy both reading and listening to poetry; Robert Frost is a particular favorite . . . .

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    1. Frost is one of my favorites, too--though I do not find him the cozy, sweet poet of New England that my high school teachers portrayed him as. He can be quiet dark, as in his poem "Design." Think I'll pull down some of his work from the shelf today and reread a few...now that you've suggested it....

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  2. Welcome, Lynne! I'm going to make sure my Baltimore friends stop over here today to hear about your book.

    I love listening to poems aloud, and like Hallie, often read one aloud to myself (like when I come across a poem in the New Yorker). Of course I love listening to Mary Oliver and Billy Collins read their own work, too, and Maya Angelou. I've dabbled just a little in writing the form, but it's not easy coming from the book or even short story world.

    I include a bit of couple of poems by John Greenleaf Whittier in each of my historical mysteries, where he's a supporting character to my Quaker midwife. A lot of his stuff isn't to my taste, but he's got some nuggets and zingers in there, because he was such an activist for abolition and peace, and I search those out. In April my town's Poet Laureate and I are doing a joint event in Amesbury called Prose and Poetry, since it's National Poetry month, to celebrate Whittier and the launch of my second historical. It's going to be fun - and there will be drinks! (Don't frown, Mr. Whittier...)

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    1. Whittier's closed form, rhyming poems are decidedly 19th century. Although there are poets writing today who only write in closed form, many more use free verse, open forms. For readers who demand that poems rhyme, Whittier is a good choice. Quite a challenge for some post-modern souls to relate to, though... i confess to preferring the open form--maybe I read too much Allen Ginsberg in my youth? As in his "Supermarket in California"--

      " What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whitman, for I walked down the sidestreets under the trees with a headache self-conscious looking at the full moon.
      In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went into the neon fruit supermarket, dreaming of your enumerations!
      What peaches and what penumbras! Whole families shopping at night! Aisles full of husbands! Wives in the avocados, babies in the tomatoes!—and you, García Lorca, what were you doing down by the watermelons?"

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  3. I love listening to poems aloud, but an audio book of them would NOT work. Since I need to listen to them several times to truly get the nuance. You've got to do it with your whole brain and all your senses.

    And if you missed the PBS special about Maya Angelou, be sure to watch it.

    One of my favorite poets: Frank Bidart. I keep these lines from his poem "Homo Faber" (Desire) on the wall of my office:

    "Whatever lies still uncarried from the abyss within / me as I die dies with me"
    (It's supposed to make me write faster.)

    I also love Carl Sandburg who writes short stories like poetry. Treat yourself and your favorite eight-year-old to his Rootabaga Stories.

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    1. If you like dark and if you like confessional, Bidart's your man. A close friend and mentee of the late Robert Lowell (confessional poet extraordinaire) Frank Bidart has taught at Wellesley College for many years and has racked up a lot of poetry awards. He has a fine poem in a recent New Yorker in which he brings together the political (recent Presidential election) and the personal (growing up Okie in Bakersfield, California).

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  4. Poetry speaks to me from a place that no novel ever can. One of the poets I feel most strongly connected to is William Stafford. He was a Quaker, a conscientious objector in WWII. Here is a poem with a sly comment in it that I think speaks to the times we are experiencing now, from Stories That Could Be true:

    For the Grave of Daniel Boone

    The farther he went the farther home grew.
    Kentucky became another room;
    the mansion arched over the Mississippi;
    flowers were spread all over the floor.
    He traced ahead a deepening home,
    and better, with goldenrod.

    Leaving the snakeskin of place after place,
    going on--after the trees
    the grass, a bird flying after a song.
    Rifle so level, sighting so well
    his picture freezes down to now,
    a story-picture for children.

    They go over the velvet falls
    into the tapestry of his time,
    heirs to the landscape, feeling no jar;
    it is like evening; they are the quail
    surrounding his fire, coming in for the kill;
    their little feet move sacred sand.

    Children, we live in a barbwire time
    but like to follow the old hands back--
    the ring in the light, the knuckle, the palm,
    all the way to Daniel Boone,
    hunting our own kind of deepening home.
    From the land that was his I heft this rock.

    Here on his grave I put it down.

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    1. Good one.
      I'm wondering now, do any of you out there read women poets?

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    2. Mary Oliver is my hands down favorite. And my late friend Miriam Goodman.

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    3. Lots! Louise Gluck, Anne Sexton, Carolyn Forche, Joy Harjo, and many others, but there's a special something about William Stafford's poetry--and perhaps this is naive, but for many of the poets I love the most, I don't think of gender when I read them.

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  5. Oh, I can't wait to read Baltimore Girls. Born and raised in the area (during the 70's and 80's), I left for a decade there in the middle, but we have now settled back in a Baltimore suburb and I wouldn't have it any other way.

    Any events in the Baltimore area, Lynne?

    Thanks for stopping by JRW and to Hallie for introducing us all to your poetry.

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    1. Thanks, Hon! (all-purpose Baltimore honorific) I'll be doing readings and book signings in Baltimore in the fall of 2017 probably October or early November. And I hope to read at Rafael Alvarez's 11th Annual Highlandtown Literary Extravaganza in mid-December,,at the " Zappa Branch" of the Enoch Pratt Library-- so keep your eyes open for announcements in the Baltimore media. Friend me on Facebook or follow my blog, stillinschool.wordpress.com for details on the Baltimore events. I

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  6. Lynne, welcome. And congratulations. I was just at an event at the Mass Poetry Society--it was incredible, a lineup of dignitaries each reading their favorite poem, It was at the Huntington Theater, and is was SRO! Packed! SO exciting, and so gratifying. (They invited me for next year--I am already thinking.)

    As for reading out loud--it can be a revelation. My half-brother and I were asked to read at my father's funeral, and John was asked to read Frost's After Apple Picking. I had read it to myself, and knew I could not possibly get through it without crying. (Not to mention at a funeral.) It seemed like such a benediction,and so obviously about death.

    John said he'd felt that way too--until he'd heard Frost himself reading it on some YouTube video. And Frost's own performance of it, he said, sounded not mournful or poignant, but annoyed and crochety, as if he wanted people to simply leave him alone and not push him.

    See what you think.

    After Apple-Picking
    BY ROBERT FROST

    My long two-pointed ladder's sticking through a tree
    Toward heaven still,
    And there's a barrel that I didn't fill
    Beside it, and there may be two or three
    Apples I didn't pick upon some bough.
    But I am done with apple-picking now.
    Essence of winter sleep is on the night,
    The scent of apples: I am drowsing off.
    I cannot rub the strangeness from my sight
    I got from looking through a pane of glass
    I skimmed this morning from the drinking trough
    And held against the world of hoary grass.
    It melted, and I let it fall and break.
    But I was well
    Upon my way to sleep before it fell,
    And I could tell
    What form my dreaming was about to take.
    Magnified apples appear and disappear,
    Stem end and blossom end,
    And every fleck of russet showing clear.
    My instep arch not only keeps the ache,
    It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round.
    I feel the ladder sway as the boughs bend.
    And I keep hearing from the cellar bin
    The rumbling sound
    Of load on load of apples coming in.
    For I have had too much
    Of apple-picking: I am overtired
    Of the great harvest I myself desired.
    There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,
    Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall.
    For all
    That struck the earth,
    No matter if not bruised or spiked with stubble,
    Went surely to the cider-apple heap
    As of no worth.
    One can see what will trouble
    This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is.
    Were he not gone,
    The woodchuck could say whether it's like his
    Long sleep, as I describe its coming on,
    Or just some human sleep.

    Okay reading it again. I'm trying to hear it as "working all the time is not the point and we will never be finished" but hey, it's about death. Maybe Frost just wanted to be left alone to think about it.

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    1. I agree.
      1: All Frost's poems are about death.
      2. In his old age, Frost became more famous, and more crotchety about that.
      3. All Frost's poems are about death.

      But he says it so well. One of my favorites is "Birches," fpacked with still- fresh imagery--the girl bending to dry her hair in the sun, the boy who lives too far from town to play baseball, and that last line--understated, wry:"One could do worse than be a swinger of birches. "

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    2. Agreed! :-) And it still makes me cry.
      How about Maple? SO touching, especially for someone like me with a weird name. And then that big twist at the end! Wait, finding it.

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    3. Oh, it's too long to post. And I don't want to give it away by putting just the somewhat bitter--surprise surprise--warning-ending. But here: http://famouspoetsandpoems.com/poets/robert_frost/poems/731
      Yeesh.

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  7. Love that line: Leaving the snakeskin of place after place,
    (Thanks, FChurch)
    Hank, that's gorgeous and so apt.

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  8. Oh, Oh, Oh! Thanks for being here, Lynne. Adding this to my list, for sure. Yes, there is most definitely a place for poetry in my life. For the past several years I have used my Meanderings and Muses to showcase favorite pieces of poetry during the month of April (National Poetry Month). Not too many days go by that I don't read some poetry. I'm on a constant search for new (to me) poets. Some of my favorites, aside from the names everyone knows, would include Ross Gay, Susan Frybort, Linda Pastan, Ira Sadoff, Gerald Costanzo and Ronald Wallace. AND our own Linda Rodriguez, along with my personal hero - Mary Oliver. And sharing an excerpt from another fave, Adrienne Rich's "Natural Resources"
    My heart is moved by all I cannot save:
    so much has been destroyed
    I have to cast my lot with those
    who age after age, perversely,
    with no extraordinary power,
    reconstitute the world.
    A passion to make, and make again
    where such un-making reigns.
    —Adrienne Rich

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    1. Rich is one of my top ten. I remember hearing her read many years ago. The line I recall from that reading was from "Trying to Talk with a Man," so direct and stunning:

      Out in this desert we are testing bombs,
      that's why we came here.

      Rich made the political, personal-- and the personal, political, and did so in uncluttered, direct language.
      Gives me chills.

      Anyone read Alice Notley? Very prolific, also makes the personal, political.

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  9. I can't wait to read your poems! Even though they are written about a different time and place, there was something relatable in the short exerpt about mothers.

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    1. Thank you, Shrunothra! I am very curious to find out how readers from your generation( full disclosure, Shrunothra was one of my students last fall in a law-based expository writing course) respond to the poems in Baltimore Girls!

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  10. Lynne, I'm happy to be one of the Baltimore Girls, though in absentia for many years. It has been thrilling to read your poems and stories since we've reconnected. Having read the description above of your process, I want you to know that to me your poetry seems unstudied, effortless, as if you had the words on the tip of your tongue but perhaps that comes from knowing you as the brainiest girl. It gives me some comfort to know that you, too, strive, re-write and re-consider. Congratulations on this publication which will be the choice of my book club, the first poetry collection selected by this bawdy, bright assortment of readers.

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    1. Thank you, Kathy, fellow writer and excellent editor! and most important loyal supporter and cheerleader for my late-to-the-party writing career! Thanks, took to your book club in Cincinnati, for making mien the first poetry collection. Maybe I can Skype in for a Q & A?

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  11. Welcome Lynne. I look forward to losing myself in BALTIMORE GIRLS.

    I am actually quite old, old enough to have been required to memorize poem after poem is grade school. And more poems at home, encouraged by my grandmother. The first book I remember owning was Robert Louis Stephenson's A CHILD'S GARDEN OF VERSES. I m sad that it's no longer politically correct, too violent for children who now spend their time playing violent computer games.

    Still and all, seven decades plus later, I still recite at will long passages of Longfellow and Wordsworth, Dickenson and Browning and Millay and so many more. But the one I remember is this excerpt From "The Song of Hiawatha":

    By the shores of Gitche Gumee,
    By the shining Big-Sea-Water,
    Stood the wigwam of Nokomis,
    Daughter of the Moon, Nokomis.
    Dark behind it rose the forest,
    Rose the black and gloomy pine-trees,
    Rose the firs with cones upon them;
    Bright before it beat the water,
    Beat the clear and sunny water,
    Beat the shining Big-Sea-Water.

    What meter

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    1. Oh, Ann - I can do huge swaths of Hiawatha, too! Also The Owl and the Pussycat. And (talk about naively racist) Vachel Lindsay's THE CONGO... I dare not even post a morsel of it, but if you're curious https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/47374

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    3. Ann in Rochester, persistantFebruary 24, 2017 at 11:15 AM

      Oh Hallie, I know Vachel Lindsay too, another meter genius if oh so incorrect. Def separated at birth we were.

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    4. I don't know how well Lindsay has fared with the years--W.E. B. Dubois didn't have a lot of good thigns to say about him, and he's fallen out of the canon in the academy. Big advocate for performing poetry from teh stage-I guess you could say he was the slam poet of his day?

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    5. My mother used to semi-torture me by reciting this poem. It's got that singsongy quality that some find enticing. Even as kid I didn't love it. I preferred Carl Sandburg:
      The fog come in
      On little cat feet.
      It sits looking
      over harbor and city
      on silent haunches
      and then moves on.

      Pretty modern for 1916, isn't it?

      Memorizing poems, for me, meant the few months I spent at a girls' Catholic school in seventh grade. We had to memorize and stand up and recite such poems as: Kilmer's "Trees" (don't get me started on that one-- though I know legions of readers adore that poem), Foss's "The House By the Side of the Road," and "Sea Fever," by Masefield. The poems I loved reading and rereading as a child were more like these: "The Land of Counterpane," Stevenson (iambic tetrameter for them that's countin'), "I'm Nobody," Dickinson, "September,' Helen Hunt Jackson, "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud,:" Wordsworth, "Song of the Open Road," Whitman. And of course, the fun stuff--Ogden Nash and Edward Lear's silly limericks.

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  12. Wellesley, Wellesley, only to be there!! How exciting to have a professor from my alma mater on JRW! Lynne, what is it like teaching poetry to college students? Are the students enthusiastic our do they have preconceived notions about poetry?

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    1. I don’t teach creative writing at Wellesley! My courses are strictly expository writing (to first years) and journalism (to seniors, in the Calderwood Public Writing initiative). I think writing poetry and doing public readings is a nice counterbalance to my teaching, since my courses are either law related (law and privacy, constitutional law, law and technology, or focused on bioethics. Wellesley is a wonderful place to teach--the students work hard, are engaging and engaged in the work and in the world at large.

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  13. We had A CHILD'S GARDEN OF VERSES too Ann! Poetry takes more brain power, both to read and to write! I'm in awe Lynne...

    And Hallie, yes I agree with you about how each word must count, more so than with prose. I always think it would be such a good idea to take a class/workshop in writing poetry. How could it help but improve a person's prose??

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    1. And sometimes you think you're thinking in prose but you might be thinking in poetry!

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    2. But in Iceland, everyone's a poet.! https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/30/world/what-in-the-world/on-an-island-named-for-ice-the-poets-are-just-getting-warmed-up.html

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  14. Hi, Lynne,

    This is delightful. I am always in awe of poets. One of my college roommates was a poet, and I always remember him with his floppy hair, John Lennon glasses, and head tilted to the side as if he could hear things the rest of us couldn't while he paced the threadbare carpet in our bitterly cold New Haven apartment. I often wondered if he was dialed into some alternate wave of verse because he could string together words that I never would have thought to join and create images that resonated in just two or three words. Okay, now I have to find him and see what happened with his poetry. Being a New England gal, Emily D is my girl. She always has been and this is one I recite to myself when life is feeling unusually difficult:

    Hope is the thing with feathers
    That perches in the soul,
    And sings the tune without the words,
    And never stops at all,

    And sweetest in the gale is heard;
    And sore must be the storm
    That could abash the little bird
    That kept so many warm.

    I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
    And on the strangest sea;
    Yet, never, in extremity,
    It asked a crumb of me.

    As a children's librarian, I always tried to work poetry into my story times (get them while they're young) -- Shel Silverstein, of course, being my go to guy. Have you written poems for children? Do you have a favorite poet that you turn to for inspiration? Looking forward to reading Baltimore Girls (out loud)!

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    1. I have not. By the time I returned to writing poetry --and short fiction--my own sons were in their twenties. Maybe if some grandchildren were in the picture. Meanwhile, I write for our family's latest addition, our 5 month-old cat, Maddie. She's very serious, and the poem is really about politics as much as about this little feline.
      I know Silverstein's work. When I was a newly minted English teacher, the go to poetry anthology was the still-in-print "Reflections on a Gift of Watermelon Pickle... and other modern verse " (Dunning et al., eds.)

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    2. Anyone besides me interested in reading some of these? I found some in Google https://books.google.com/books?isbn=0688412319

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  15. Hi Lynn!

    I look forward to reading Baltimore Girls! I'm sure you have a lot of memories from your childhood growing up in Baltimore. How did you decide to express those memories through poetry instead of a book-length piece?

    Thanks!

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  16. Funny you should ask. There's a novel-in-progress about Baltimore back in the day, but I'm not going to talk about that today!! Thank you for asking, and stay tuned...

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  17. I have been "off" of poetry since a college class where we had to translate and explicate French poetry ad nauseum. This post has rekindled an interest in poetry, and I enjoyed the verses that have been shared in this post ~

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    2. Ah, the dread explication de textes...

      Try this from my collection: (excerpt)

      Judgment


      Two nights after
      the president was shot
      my mother went out.

      She put on silver blue eyeshadow.
      She wore her Persian lamb jacket
      with the mink collar.
      It was the year
      she was having the kitchen redone.
      The house was in disarray.


      You can find the full poem at http://www.foliateoak.com/lynne-viti.html

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  18. Lynne ~ Thanks so much for the link -- I loved the three poems and am excited about delving back into poetry. I actually have favorite French poem that I memorized in high school and never had to explicate! It is "L'Invitation au Voyage" by Charles Baudelaire (his last name sounds like poetry)!

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    1. especially when you pronounce it in French!!

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  19. Thank you. This book would be a great gift for a relative who loves poetry. I am confused about poetry.

    Are the words supposed to rhyme in poetry?

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    1. Poets have poetic license! They can do pretty much anything they want. Some poets write prose poems.They can make their poems rhyme, or not. Some poets use off-rhyme (words that nearly rhyme), some poetic forms require repetition of a word (the ghazal or the sestina), some deploy internal rhyme, as opposed to end-rhyme.
      Sometimes my poems have end rhyme, but more often they have off-rhyme or internal rhyme.
      Here's a ghazal-- a Persian closed form poem--I wrote as part of a workshop when the leader, Boston Poet Laureate Danielle Georges, issued a challenge to workshop participants to try this form.

      http://www.blazevox.org/BX%20Covers/BXspring16/Lynne%20Viti%20-%20Spring%2016.pdf

      And here's a prose poem I wrote about hiking in Sicily:

      http://blognostics.net/blognostics-an-innovative-experience-in-literature-poetry-and-art/2015/11/07/the-long-walk-to-cefalu-sicily-by-lynne-s-viti/

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  20. Lynne, I loved this post. Poetry was my first love, my gateway (drug) to writing, and I've left it too long. It requires so much focus and it's hard for me to switch back and forth between that and novels, but I can at least read poetry--starting with yours. And thanks for the Dylan Thomas. He is, I think, my favorite. Such rolling thundering joy in so many of his lines.

    From Fern Hill:

    Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
    About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
    The night above the dingle starry,
    Time let me hail and climb
    Golden in the heydays of his eyes,
    And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns
    And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves
    Trail with daisies and barley
    Down the rivers of the windfall light.

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  21. ..."honoured among foxes" is one of my favorite Dylan Thomas lines. He died at thirty-nine. amazing how much fine work he produced in his short lifetime. I love the recording of Thomas reading this with his strong Welsh lilt, as well as "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night," and my personal favorite (or should I spell it favourite, here) "The Force That Through The Green Fuse Drives the Flower" . He doesn't simply read; he declaims the poems.

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    1. Yes, I just read "The Force That Through The Green Fuse Drives The Flower." Gorgeous!

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    2. I think of it every spring. But now Hiawatha is thumping through my head. Argh.

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    3. I hear the Disney drums.....Back to Dylan Thomas-we didn't mention "Child's Christmas In Wales," but there's another little gem...best heard read aloud or read aloud!

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  22. Thank you, Lynne. And a belated welcome to Jungle Reds!

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