Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Oregon's Poet Laureate

Last Wednesday I attend a poetry workshop given by Paulann Petersen who is the current poet laureate of Oregon. In the evening she gave a poetry reading at the library. She is enthusiastic about teaching people to write poetry, so the three hours of the workshop went by fast. I am not a big reader or writer of poetry, mainly because I read and write book length fiction, but sometimes we all need to stretch. We worked on poems based on a month we liked or a place we remember. She had us write down words that described sense and imagery of those and then put it into a poem. I picked the month of July and stretched back into my childhood for the imagery: 

New Cut Grass
Lazy July evenings stretch forever.
Dad cuts grass and catches it in an old canvass hopper,
the dog barking at the wheels of the the lawn mower.
Tops of clover and chopped dandelion make grass salad.
I run across the cool grass in my bare feet, honey bees
gone home for the day. Lightening bugs wink off and on.
I bring my hand up under one and watch it wink off,
wink on atop my finger then put it in a baby food jar
with holes punched in the top to keep it just for a while.
The fragrance of the orange blossom bush by the kitchen window
sweetens the dense, humid air. Dust from the alley blows by
from a lone passing car. In the park kids yell and peddle bikes
around the wooden floor of the band pavilion
where I walk in a circle in my home made hoop skirt
passing the baton until is stops with me and I win the coconut cake.
I fall asleep atop the covers, ventilator in the window. The band plays
its last Sousa march and distant rumble of thunder hugs
the spiderweb of my dreams.

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