Poetry Club December 2020

Yes, I skipped November…not because we didn’t meet, but because I wasn’t up to blogging! But I’m (somewhat) recovering from my Total Knee Replacement, and can now sit at the computer for short periods. So here goes:

Susan started us off with two poems: she couldn’t decide which to read, so opted for both! The first “The Secret” by Denise Levertov, was a delightful poem about a poem. So many clever lines, alluding to the mystery and secret and finally leading us to question if there really is a secret? I also loved how I was given permission to forget I had discovered the secret so that I could have the wonderful feeling of finding it again. Susan’s second poem was “A Contribution to Statistics” by Wislawa Szymborska. A very clever and funny poem, which took all those daily things we feel or worry about and classified them into how many occurrences out of one hundred. A favorite line: “Wise after the fact?, just a couple more than wise before it.”

Cindy’s first poem by her new favorite poet, Tony Hoagland, was “Honda Pavarotti” and we could all agree that this is a great poet! The descriptions are graphic, not always complimentary, but build not only a visual picture, but an auditory and emotional sense as well. The poem stimulated a lively discussion about opera, what it takes to sing opera and a suggestion that we all find the video of Aretha Franklin stepping in when Pavarotti had a sore throat. The second poem, “America”, also by Hoagland, tells of the perspective of student and teacher coming together. My favorite line? “And I wonder if this is a legitimate category of pain” I think we were all intrigued by the title of his book: “What Narcissism Means to Me.”

Leslie went next, and she had searched for a poem with hope. “To Hope” by John Keats, written when he was only nineteen. As he died at 25, he was quite prolific and gifted at a young age. We all were curious about what he was like. A favorite line was “Should Disappointment, parent of Despair, Strive for her son to seize my careless heart.”

I went next. As has been my mode of operation lately, I didn’t find my poem until the day before our meeting. I had searched Joy Harjo, poems about winter, about hope, about healing….in my surfing of the web I stumbled across a young poet, Chen Chen. Aha! Humor. Even better, humor and religion. My favorite kind of poem. I loved “I’m not a religious person but.” I guess I loved it because it reflected my own personal belief system….no organized or labeled religion for me, but I do have conversations with “God”. Susan liked the way he wandered around, seemingly having the time of his life wherever the poem took him.

Tece was also inspired by winter (we all agreed it has been chilly!) and read “A Winter Eden” by Robert Frost, followed by the old favorite “Stopping by Woods”. A discussion of the lovely feeling his rhythms inspire followed.

Barbara was of the same mind as I was, noticing the Joy Harjo was to continue as poet laureate. With a little research we found out this honor is selected by the library of congress and comes with a stipend! Cindy thinks we might see her reading at next months inauguration. Fingers crossed. “Eagle Poem” led to a discussion about how nature impacts us all, and how the circle plays an important role.

Kathy finished things up for us with Billy Collins “Sonnet” and his humor was a great way to close up a pleasant poetry club meeting.