Paths to poetry

This woman took the journalism path to get there, as opposed to the hordes of others that I suspect just didn’t know what else to do in life after high school and so went for a CW degree. Hanging out with writers somehow seems to always lead to writing, instead of taking their appearance and behaviour as a dire warning to flee. Huh. v

emmatroakehhm@gmail.comOne fateful night in Dallas, a poet came to read. I had never heard of her. It was Elizabeth Bishop. I was late. The auditorium was packed. I stood at the back, in the doorway, the only place left. I was grateful I didn’t have to interview anyone. I had quit journalism and was working as a waitress, trying to write poetry. At the time, I was writing a poetry stumbling somewhere between surrealism and the haunting, lilting lyric of the country western music I had been raised to.

I was floundering, but learning to trust in my materials, in poetry. Just barely visible over a podium, Bishop was in a spotlight, her close-cropped silver hair glinting. Her round head shown distant and steady as a planet. The audience was hushed, still, calm. Bishop was shy, devoid of the flamboyant, and a terrible reader. But it didn’t matter. As in all of Bishop’s poetry, one could sense the presence of the ordinary and the eternal, her steady, uncanny attention to the actual.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s