I began by sharing some word-salad nonsensical ‘poetry’ from the blog’s spam: “I, conversation bite dura seal retail outlets” and “The sorry slipped Thalidomide road wrestling twigs.” We progressed to better poetry.
Our first writing prompt was adapted from Addonizio and Laux’s wonderful book The Poet’s Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry. Describe an object that you associate with a particular patient or friend or family member. Write about that object through the description of the person’s use of it—create a portrait of his/her character. We then read and discussed Galway Kinnell’s poem “Little Sleep’s-Head Sprouting Hair in the Moonlight.” This lovely poem was recommended by one of our Rounds regulars. To me it captures the fierceness of a father’s love for his daughter as in no other poem I know of. “I would suck the rot from your fingernail” as an example of that love. The second poem we read was a meta-poem—or a poem about poetry, Billy Collins’ “The Trouble with Poetry: A Poem of Explanation.” In the second stanza he writes, “the trouble with poetry is that it encourages the writing of more poetry, more guppies crowding the fish tank (….).” Poetry also encourages him to “sit in the dark and wait for a little flame to appear at the tip of my pencil.” We ended with a writing exercise of found poetry, taking words and phrases from the two poems we read and composing our own poem out of them.~ Josephine