Thursday, August 30, 2007


"Poetry often enters through the window of irrelevance." --M.C. Richards--

To me, this quote means that poetry finds us when and where we least expect it. Creeping in through an open window, stealing across the rambling front lawn, blistering up in the cracks in the pavement. I started this blog in April of 2005 because I had just returned from a life-changing, year-long writing community experience and I needed a place to digest it. Initially, this was just a place for my solitary musing and for revealing my writing-self to my family and friends. A creative coming-out, if you of the first groups I'd ever heard of as a blogger was Poetry Thursday. I was an instant addict--and have been ever since.

Sometimes poetry can enter through the window of a computer screen, as unexpected as this may be. With the announcement that PT is ending, I am feeling grateful for the experience of this organic community cropping up one day a week to revel in the deliciousness of words. The sincerity and attention of the other PTers has given me a comfortable landing spot for my own creative pursuits. Liz and Dana asked me to write a feature back in National Poetry Month...which was incredibly rewarding. I decided to write about why poetry mattered in my life and, by doing so, created a sort of personal writing mission statement/manifesto. Several days before it was due, I had a dream about Billy Collins, Rita Dove, and Ruth Stone (and a congressional hearing--poetry entering through the windows of irrelevance again). I used this as my introduction, then kept right on spinning my thoughts in contrast to an old, often discussed essay of a similar vein. I was happy to have been included in Poetry Thursday's features, read through the comments and emails people sent to me with pleasure, then moved on to the next big thing.

What I want to share is that this feature led to just one example of kindness from this particular group of writers. While I was on a bit of a blogging break earlier this summer, a lovely poet stopped by to let me know that she had been delighted to see my quote from Poetry Thursday in the Poetry Ireland Review. I broke my online silence to find out what she was talking about and she did more than just tell me what was quoted from my Poetry Thursday feature, she went FAR above and beyond and sent me a copy of the issue!

Yes, that's me appearing in the "Pickings and Choosings" section--um...yes, why I AM surrounded by writing giants on all sides. Five down from Billy Collins, who just happened to be in my dream, remember? And a couple of spaces above Jeanette name only a few on "my" page. I was just a little bit excited about this (a-hem). But, the thing is--had Imelda not told me about this quote in the spirit of offering encouragement to a fellow Poetry Thursday participant, I never would have known it happened! So, I wanted to thank her here, publicly, for this--just as I want to thank Liz and Dana for starting Poetry Thursday in the first place. It cultivated a regular poetry routine for me at a time when I was lost in my fiction writing...every Thursday, I honored my first writing-love and I do not plan to stop anytime soon.

This morning, I was up before the sun--stricken with insomnia and ideas for M.'s birthday dinner tonight (happy birthday, M., if you are reading this). I sat in the wicker chair in front of the window and opened the shade up wide to let the night in. The waning moon dipped in and out of clouds and I finished the last poem of this intoxicating book, breathing deeply to steady my thrumming heartbeat. When a book ends, when a poem ends, when a community ends--it is the perfect moment to celebrate it, and then, revel in delirious new beginnings.

Q and A: When do you know a poem is done?
by Julianna Baggott

I have said that each shirtless boy pumping a bike could be a lover,
that a new baby needs attending. There is no
finish; only
a shift of attention.
Like this: I determine that it's spring.
An observation not of bright crocus beaks breaking ground from
below or rain,

but some clockwork,
my whole body suddenly tightening with blood.

Sometimes, yes, forewarned by slow warming,
but usually it's as if winter were an old house in a field

torn down while I slept
and I'm not sad that it's gone,

but overwhelmed
by how much sky it had been holding back.

(Pleiades Press, 2007)


Anonymous acumamakiki said...

you've opened my world to poetry and your favorite poets who have become, modestly, my own favorites. xo

2:33 PM  
Anonymous split ends said...

Wow--what a great example of the PT community. It has been one of my favorite things here... thanks for sharing this story... and the poem is beautiful as well!

2:51 PM  
Blogger Tammy said...

Awesome post Delia! To see that quote must have blown you away. I had never read or written poetry until 2006 and I'm hooked. PT was "an open window" for me.

3:56 PM  
Blogger Left-handed Trees... said...

K: I will always share my favorites here--so, we'll keep exchanging writers we love.

split ends: Baggott is a wonder of a poet but more widely known for her fiction. I highly recommend her work!

tammy: It did...truly, something so little as this can have a strong creative impact nonetheless.

5:15 PM  
Blogger daisies said...

this community has opened me up to so many amazing poets, so many amazing poems ... meeting you :) i believe that i will continue to share my poetry as thursday winds its way around my heart ...

congratulation on the quote, how absolutely wonderful :) xox

6:38 PM  
Blogger Amber said...

That is so cool!
The blogs have kind of turned me on to poetry, because so many I read do PT. It has been a window I am happy i found.


8:12 PM  
Blogger GreenishLady said...

Ah... it feels like a circle completed in some ways to see the quote in your hands again! It's so nice to see it here. And thanks for introducing me to a poet I've not met before. The circle comes round again...

8:21 PM  
Blogger ...deb said...

Circling around. Yes--this is a delightful essay and poem that reminds me why I have so enjoyed PT and have learned so much from an open-handed community.

Thank you, Delia. You and your writings are a delight.

9:55 PM  
Blogger Deb R said...

Oh wow, I'd never seen that poem before and I found the ending breathtaking! Thank you for a wonderful post, Delia.

12:25 AM  
Blogger Vanessa said...

Hello again friend.
So nice to come back into your world and find you productive and celebrating... *and* quoted in my local (!) review :)
Love to you

8:00 AM  
Blogger Left-handed Trees... said...

daisies: it is just right that poetry is what initially brought you here! I am glad for it...

amber: the poetry will keep going, I'm sure. Now we'll just have to keep on bringing you over to "the dark side" until you're just as drunk on poems as the rest of us.

greenishlady: T-H-A-N-K Y-O-U!

...deb: I know it will continue to move forward, either through the new site being started or in a more "grassroots" way. I cannot wait!

deb r: I am all too happy to introduce you to Julianna Baggott--start with this newest book of hers. It is, for me, her strongest yet.

Vanessa: yes, my words made it to Ireland--now if only I could get the rest of myself there...


9:21 AM  
Blogger Laini Taylor said...

Hi D! Been reading back and catching up -- I hope you're progressing with your baby steps back into your novel. I feel like I'm in just that place right now too. Your quote about poetry is beautiful (congrats on that!!), and the poem you've shared here, too. I had an experience a few weeks ago where poetry kind of snuck up on me. I haven't really read it much in the past several years, and in the midst of searching for a wedding reading, I found my head spinning with amazement at what these people -- POETS! -- can do with language. Amazing!

11:21 PM  
Blogger media said...

Delia - just a quick note to say thanks for the kind words about the PIR and congratulations again on your inclusion in the Pickings and Choosings!

2:40 AM  
Blogger Left-handed Trees... said...

Laini: I am glad to hear poetry caught you off guard is a beautiful feeling.

media: being included in Poetry Ireland Review was truly a wonderful surprise.


9:18 AM  

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