Sans Forgeticus: Poetry Club March 2020

I should mention that we DID choose a name for our group: Sans Forgeticus. Think visions of the poetry salons of past times, as well as our underlying belief that memorizing poems will help our aging brains.

Today’s trend was “free association poems.” New member Barbara started us off on this track with “The Currency of Bears” by Anthony Watkins, poetry winner of Goodreads, April 8, 2016.  After a moment of awe and confusion we discussed the fact that one could spend a lot of time analyzing this poem. The use of repetition in the form of words taking on different meanings was one thing that gave this poem a free association flavor. For example: antelope, ante room and anti-life. Or darting away, tranquilizer darts, and Dodge Darts. Although a bit confusing, not in a bad way, rather in a “makes you think” way.

Susan enchanted and enlightened us with both parts of “The Highway Man,” by Alfred Noyes which, if you haven’t listened to it since high school is newly shocking with its underlying violence. But the beautiful verse, the visual picture of each character brought to life, and the wonderful cadence (akin to horses hooves) we did all enjoy this poem.

I read another Billy Collins poem. After several months of frustration NEVER finding a poem for the club meeting that I was in love with, I am going back to Billy Collins. YES, he is my favorite poet. I picked a short poem, with every intention of memorizing it, but alas, it was not to be. So I read “Introduction to Poetry,” fitting for the range of poems our group shares monthly. We laughed about how we analyze the poems. Are we “torturing a confession” out of it? Or do we follow Collins’ instructions to “waterski across the surface?”

Tece’s wonderful husband supported her by ordering several poetry books and giving them to her as a gift. As we have discovered in our new exploration of poetry, there are a LOT of different types of poems out there. She read an untitled poem from “Poemland” by Chelsey Minnis. Another “free association”  the underlying theme seemed to be ego, but the group wasn’t even sure (upon examination of the book) if this was all one poem or many short ones. I borrowed the book to take a closer look at this poet.

Kathy also opted for a modern poem, and she even offered to read what the poet had read about the poem before reading it (but Susan and I said “No! Don’t! Read it after we listen” because we are women who want to make up our own minds.) The poem, “Exhibit 1″ by Susan Barba, elicited very visual responses from the group. Barba is writing a series of geological poems, giving a base map of North America through use of words which drew me into the picture to the point I felt she was painting with words. As I have driven many of the places she describes I could feel the atmosphere of the 250 million year time span.

Cindy wrapped up the meeting with three poems which are included in Poetic Medicine, a real field of using poetry in a therapeutic way. John Fox, Certified Poetry Therapist, uses his skill as a “medicine man” to create a healing space. “Finding What You Didn’t Lose,” is a nice example of the use of poetry to draw you into a comforting space using a fond childhood memory to deal with a current desire. “Guardian Angel” by Rolf Jacobsen told of what is close, but slightly out of reach, in one’s quest for happiness and “I Am Not I” by Juan Ramon Jimenez (Nobel Prize for Poetry 1958) focuses on the multiple selves we walk with.