Lunch With a Poet

Guest piece from Writers Forum Newsletter Editor George T. Parker.

20160721_120323Yesterday’s lunchtime visit with California’s Poet Laureate was time well spent. Several Writers Forum members were in attendance, along with an audience of about fifty or sixty, to hear Dana Gioia (pronounced JOY-ya) recite pieces from his latest book 99 Poems: New & Selected, and to explain his views on writing poetry for everybody.

Gioia’s ambition as Poet Laureate,as well as during his tenure as the Chairman for the National Endowment for the Arts from 2003-2009, is to take poetry out of academia and make it available for everybody. He insists that poetry is in the interests of ordinary people, not just English majors at universities, and as evidence, he points out the enormous popularity of such poetic forms as hip hop, rap, and cowboy poetry.

Gioia was interviewed by Nathan Solis at the Redding Record Searchlight. You can find the interview here.

Gioia reminded us of the charm of recited poetry. Words on a page take on a new life when spoken. For example, the first stanza of his poem ‘Finding a Box of Family Letters’ reads:

The dead say little in their letters

they haven’t said before.

We find no secrets, and yet

how different every sentence sounds

heard across the years.

Now listen to the same piece recited:

 

Hearing the words brings the piece to life, and helps to teach us how to read and hear other poetry. Learning poetry can only help to enhance our other writing, as well, teaching us meter and cadence of the language. Poetry can also teach us how to refine the language of our other writing.

Find a poet you like, and learn!

 

Reminder: Literary Event Today

Here’s a reminder:

The Redding Public Library will host a reading and Q&A with the current Poet Laureate of California, Dana Gioia (pronounced JOY-a) today from 12:00-1:30.

Dana will read from his latest book, 99 Poems: New & Selected. Dana will also discuss literacy, and there will be a time for questions from the audience.

Dana spent the first fifteen years of his writing career writing at night around his day job as an executive at General Foods. In 2002, George W. Bush appointed Dana as Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. As Chairman of the NEA, Dana developed several new modernizing initiatives, including Shakespeare in American Communities, Poetry Out Loud, and Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience. Operation Homecoming collected writings from US troops and their families and published them in an anthology, which became the basis for an Academy award-nominated documentary by the same name.

Dana was appointed Poet Laureate of California by Governor Edmund G. Brown in December, 2015.

Come spend a memorable lunch hour celebrating words at the Redding Public Library.

Did anybody ever check out Dana’s book? I never made it back to the library.

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Member Monday: Poetry by Larry Solberg

Today’s Member Monday features a pair of poems written by Larry Solberg. Larry read them at the last Read Around.

If you read at the Read Around and would like to see your piece on the website and in the newsletter but did not give us a copy yet, please send them to writersforumeditor@gmail.com .

Thank you.

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Larry Solberg

The Voice of a Parent

(Who has Lost a Child)

Upon the Sea of Life

I carried a soul in its tiny boat

To the shores of the Sea of Life.

The spirit sailed its growing bark

On The Waters both light and dark.

 

With energy it would float

O’er that Lake with meaning rife

Until it could make its mark

Upon the Waters of Strife.

 

And ever as I watched The Lake

To see the way the soul would take

I heard a note with meaning rife

(A message that cut like a knife.)

The wind above The Waters wrote.

 

I’ll review the life that soul bore

Whose raft to the dock draws near.

T’will sail The Sea of Life no  more.

I hold its essence most dear.

 

In my mind is now forever locked

The voyage of that ship now docked.

I’ll review the journey that boat took,

And see the soul’s shining look.

 

My soul will hold that soul most dear.

 

I Would a Sailor Poet Be

A sea of sound engulfed me

Just the Other day

It most carried me away

For I would a sailor poet be,

An endless sound to my sea.

 

And for freight a thought or two.

Misty thoughts for which I’d expound

Words would shower off my tongue,

A deluge for expectant ears.

All the while those memes would

Swim in that endless pond

While waiting proud masses to respond.

 

Member Monday: Then Will I Stand by Linda Boyden

Welcome back to Member Monday. Today we feature a poem by Writers Forum member, Linda Boyden. Welcome, Linda.

Then Will I Stand

By Linda Boyden ©2015

Night window, dark,

his profile etched

by the streetlight

he sits, hunched

in the wheelchair

hands clasped on top

of the warrior blanket

of stripes and buffaloes

I bought to ease his chills.

We wait for it to snow

though it is too cold.

We wait together

holding hands

we wait for the inevitable

for his long march to the stars.

Then will I stand,

his blanket around

my shoulders.

Then will I stand

under the myriad of stars

and hunt for his, for him.

Then will the wind bite

my cheeks and fingers.

Then will I bury my tears

in his blanket,

smell his memory,

hear his laughter.

Then will I stand

under the falling snow.

A Note from the Webmaster: If you’re a Writers Forum member in good standing and would like to be featured on Member Monday, please send your submission to writersforumwebmaster@gmail.com. Submissions should be 75-750 words, appropriate for all ages and error free. Please include a short bio, a headshot and any related links. The author retains all rights and gives permission to Writers Forum to publish their submission on the website and/or in the newsletter. Thank you!

Member Monday: Honeysuckle Moon by Linda Boyden

Welcome back to Member Monday! We hope you got to see the spectacular lunar eclipse last night. It’s a pleasure to serve up a second helping of lunar wonder by poet, storyteller and children’s author, Linda Boyden.  You can purchase a hardback copy of Linda’s newest picture book Boy and Poi Poi Puppy at All About Books.  Welcome, Linda!

Honeysuckle Moon
By Linda Boyden ©2014

I lie in night’s velvet deep.
Outside the window
clouds hide the honeysuckle moon,
crickets serenade the languid air,
the night softened by their song.

The clouds disperse.
The full moon bleeds the landscape white.
I rise and walk among the ghostly trees,
the only sound, my metered breath.

An owl soars across the face of the moon,
its body, a crucifix of shadow.
Thunder trembles in the distance.
I fall on my knees, heart pierced by beauty.

A Note from the Webmaster: If you’re a Writers Forum member in good standing and would like to be featured on Member Monday, please send your submission to writersforumwebmaster@gmail.com. Submissions should be 75-750 words, appropriate for all ages and error free. Please include a short bio, a headshot and any related links. The author retains all rights and gives permission to Writers Forum to publish their submission on the website and/or in the newsletter. Thank you!

Member Monday: Shadows by Jennifer Levens

Welcome back to Member Monday.  You deserve a little more poetry in your life and Writers Forum Treasurer Jennifer Levens is here to give you your daily dose. Welcome, Jennifer.

Shadows

by Jennifer Levens

I walk the dog in the early morning, the sun barely risen

And it catches me low on the back and makes me fifteen feet tall

And so slender that I wish I could stay that way, thin and shapely an

Almost girlish in figure, lithe and agile striding along with dog in tow.

 

I go for a walk in the early morning, the sun barely risen

And it catches me on the hill as I walk into it and I can not

See behind me, so I miss the tall long slender person who is following me;

 

And the dog walks in front of me, sniffing here and there

For messages from his fellow dogs, unconcerned that his walking partner

Is longing for a younger slimmer self to match her thoughts and feelings as

She breathes the morning air and pictures herself loping with the dog over field and stream.

A Note from the Webmaster: If you’re a Writers Forum member in good standing and would like to be featured on Member Monday, please send your submission to writersforumwebmaster@gmail.com. Submissions should be 75-750 words, appropriate for all ages and error free. Please include a short bio, a headshot and any related links. The author retains all rights and gives permission to Writers Forum to publish their submission on the website and/or in the newsletter. Thank you!

Member Monday: All the Forever We Had by Linda Boyden

Welcome back to Member Monday.  It’s a pleasure to feature a poem by poet, storyteller and children’s author, Linda Boyden.  You can purchase a hardback copy of Linda’s newest picture book Boy and Poi Poi Puppy at All About Books.  Welcome, Linda!

All the Forever We Had

By Linda Boyden ©2014

All the forever we had,

four days,

three nights,

a speck of time

but with enough joy

to last an eternity

apart.

 

Joined at the heart,

time and space

could not separate us.

We wait for Time to

loop us together,

cradle us again.

 

Until then

we stay apart,

forever lovers,

heart-in-heart

against the dark.

A Note from the Webmaster: If you’re a Writers Forum member in good standing and would like to be featured on Member Monday, please send your submission to writersforumwebmaster@gmail.com. Submissions should be 75-750 words, appropriate for all ages and error free. Please include a short bio, a headshot and any related links. The author retains all rights and gives permission to Writers Forum to publish their submission on the website and/or in the newsletter. Thank you!