Poetry Club May 2020

Our second Zoom meeting was complete with a second set of technical difficulties….different from the first, but of course.

Still, I do love seeing all my friends faces once more.

Cindy started us off with ”The Student” by Dorianne Laux. Cindy wanted to find a Pulitzer Prize winner, but she wasn’t overly impressed with this year’s winner. Laux was runner up, although not for this poem. We all agreed that the poem was wonderful and very visual, painting a picture of a shy student before a seasoned professor. Interestingly everyone in the group except me, described themselves as shy students and thus, could really relate to the poem.

The second poem Cindy read was “Dreamwood” by Adrienne Rich, which likened the old, scratch wood of the poet’s typing stand to a map of sorts, complete with ridges and memories and choices. Cindy also read “A Mark of Resistance” by Adrienne Rich.

Robin went next with a nice transition from the maps of the wood into the poem “Old Maps No Longer Work” by Joyce Rupp. Interestingly enough, Joyce Rupp is a nun! The group discussion veered to what it feels like to get lost, but I felt this poem was more about the memories left in the old map and how one could make a choice in life not to be bound by those old choices.

Barbara read “Holy Now” by Peter Mayer. As with many of our poems there were certain initial interpretations, but upon listening to the reactions of other members Barbara asked the question “Was this poem actually ironic?” This led to our idea that poems are not always about the poet but about the listener/reader and the space of their interpretation. It’s a great poem and I encourage you to read it and weigh in on the matter. Is the poet seeing the world through new, amazed eyes or is he scorning how we over glamorize everything? So…when I was typing up this blog and I was searching for the links, imagine my surprise when it popped up as a bit of a country western song! Listening to Mayer sing the song changed my opinions…..but I’ll still let you decide.

Tece read an untitled piece by author William Martin. It was a short, sweet poem about the appreciation of the ordinary. As a group we discussed what the “shelter-in-place” has given us all…extensive time and slowing down. Those of us with children around decided that even the kids were slowing down and looking at smaller things with new eyes.

Kathy read “The Goose” by Muriel Spark, a poem about the goose who lays the golden egg. Was the poem saying “life is short, eat desert first” or that there is an accumulation of wealth beyond what we need (and it might kill us if we lose sight of what is really needed for life.)

Susan was inspired by an article in the New Yorker to research a poem which was quoted because she couldn’t fathom exactly what was being said with the line “poetry makes nothing happen.” The poem, “In Memory of W.B. Yeats” by W. H. Auden, is a long, intricate poem….not only about the death of Yeats but about everything going on in the world at the time. The group concluded that we liked Susan’s interpretation of the quote from the article….poetry takes “nothing” and makes things happen. We all like the fact that the poems we share give us space and time to draw our own conclusions.