February Poetry Club 2019

What a wonderful discussion we had about “prose” vs “poetry”…of course we are a flexible group and all opinions were welcome. I learned about this new (to me) world of sonnets and pentameters and poetry. I think my favorite definition was what Cindy provided…the definition or label is what the poet/writer decided when they wrote.

In an odd coincidence two members, Cindy and Susan, both shared poems from the same poet: Dorianne Laux. I think she is my new favorite poet and I am ordering her book today! Cindy shared Antilamentation, a poem so filled with emotion and visualization that we all loved it. Susan then shared Kissing, a long, intense poem which she memorized by printing it out in a less cramped version, as this poem is written in a continues way. We had a lively discussion about the similarities between these two poems, highly visual, and the differences. I think Antilamentation was very personal, while Kissing was worldly.

Leslie shared Alice at One Hundred and Two by Elizabeth Alexander, a short poem about growing old. Of course, we then discussed our own visions of aging. Alexander is known for her poem Praise Song for the Day, read at President Obama’s inauguration. Leslie also shared the reaction of the press and other poets to Alexander’s reading. I decided I wanted to see it and found a video here. Such a talented poet, we all agreed she had written the perfect poem for the inauguration and didn’t deserve the strong criticism. I do have to say, Leslie’s reading of the poem was more relaxed and I felt the images and emotions more during her reading than I did watching the video.

Adonna shared a favorite Emily Dickinson poem, Hope Is The Thing With Feathers, but what I loved was how much Adonna shared about Dickinson’s life. This poet wrote over 1800 poems, but only seven were published while she was alive. Upon the recommendation by the others I am going to watch the movie, A Quiet Passion , the story of Dickinson’s life.

I found a poem in the book Time You Let Me In, 25 Poets Under 25, 2010. The poet, Mackenzie Connellee was working on a thesis at Wake Forest in 2013, but other than that I couldn’t find much about her. The poem I shared, Window Seat 6A, was a short vision of what it feels like to fly.

Photo of Connellee reading a poem in 2010 from the Z. Smith Reynolds Library