Monday, May 2, 2011

My Poetry Year: Entry #22

In which Your Humble Blogger shares some less-than-impressive words of her own along with a few more valuable words from Ira Glass:

"Thoughts on Father's Day"

The best gift that he managed to give her
Was to sit her in the bedroom to read
While he choked himself with cognac downstairs,
Leaving her, age four, with the quiet glow
Of a warm but tentative night light and
A glass of water; a space small enough
Beneath the desk to feel private, settled;
A stumbling grasp of literacy; and
The unforeseen joy of discovering
How to open better doors.

* * *

Not much going on here. Another pass at syllabics, though the last line breaks the pattern. A number of the poems I've written do this: often, I think that the concluding image in a poem has more snap, more effect, if it's kept short and simple. I don't consider this an exceptional poem at all, though I do like the phrase "a stumbling grasp of literacy." But today, I saw a message on one of the listservs I subscribe to that shared this message from Ira Glass. For those of you who listen to 'This American Life,' do you remember where you were the first time you heard it? I do. It's that kind of a show, eh?

A brief excerpt from the Ira Glass message (which isn't too long anyway):

"For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you."

Thank you, Ira. And for those of you reading this who are also writers: If you have a talent, and a love for this craft, don't do what I did and abandon it for years. Give yourself a chance. The beautiful thing about writing is that, even in the smallest ways, you can always get better at it.

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