Saturday, April 02, 2011

I Love Poetry More Than I Thought

I started writing poems in high school.
It was for a creative writing class,
not because I was some moon-eyed teenager
in love. I was a misfit then as now,
and my poems brought me a tenuous
acceptance from my peers.

Then, in junior college, I studied
literature intensively and took a poetry
writing class with George Barlow.
More acceptance. My writing ability
wasn't a fluke.

When I transferred to Cal, I applied
for a writing class with Thom Gunn.
I was rejected. Hurt, angry, I wrote
poems in solitude.

I entered the full-time working world,
not studying and reading poems. I wrote
when inspiration came to me.
There was the sestina I wrote
while manning the reception desk
from 5 to 6, when it was quieter.
At another job, on my lunch hour,
I used the tugboats I watched
working out on San Francisco Bay
as an extended metaphor.

And so it went for many years
until I began teaching. I used
ideas from Kenneth Koch and taught
poetry writing to my students.
And when the opportunity came,
I was ecstatic to have a published poet
from California Poets in the Schools
come teach my students to write poems.
I wrote poems too. And I named
my blog after a poem one of my students
wrote that was published in a CPITS anthology:
Sadly Waiting for Recess.

Then, I discovered NaNoWriMo and in 2009
I wrote a novel in thirty days.
Hungry for more, I wrote 30 poems
in 30 days the following April.
Then another novel in November.
And now it's April, time for this misfit
to write poetry again.

Acceptance from my peers
wasn't a fluke.
Poems in solitude
as an extended metaphor.
Sadly Waiting for Recess
to write poetry again.

* * * * *

This poem was written in response to a prompt from Poetic Asides to write a "what got you here" poem.

A lot of my poems are not this personal. This is autobiography in verse form.

I cannot speak highly enough of California Poets in the Schools.  And I love this quote from their website so much I have to share it here as well:

"Listen to these young poets and you'll discover the voice of the present and hear the voice of the future before the future is even here." - Phillip Levine


  1. Anonymous11:10 AM

    Thank you for sharing - I identify with your feelings. When I started my poetry blog I posted anon and only came out this year to friends and family. Validation is encouraging. :)

  2. zouxzoux, thank you for the kind words - and the validation. I have found a welcoming community online and a way to express myself that is most satisfying. Glad you're a part of that. Thanks.