Tag Archives: poetry

Spring is like

Forecast for New York today is sunny and 70, so although I’m two days early for the official start of Spring, I give you this gift to start your week, one of my all-time favorite poems:

Spring is like a perhaps hand
(which comes carefully
out of Nowhere)arranging
a window,into which people look(while
people stare
arranging and changing placing
carefully there a strange
thing and a known thing here)and
changing everything carefully
spring is like a perhaps
Hand in a window
(carefully to
and fro moving New and
Old things,while
people stare carefully
moving a perhaps
fraction of flower here placing
an inch of air there)and
without breaking anything.
~e.e.cummings~
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You were the cure for what ails me but you did me no good

On her blog yesterday Betsy Lerner, agent extraordinaire and author of The Forest for the Trees (a link to her blog is in my sidebar) posed the question, “What did you write in college?” My first thought was “poetry,” but after a second  I thought perhaps the word “vomit” might be more accurate.  The drama, agony and angst of my 17th to 21st years was duly recorded by my IBM Selectric typewriter, late, late at night, in sparse, tormented poems tapped out through many tears and snowstorms in Buffalo, New York. They were not so much creative expressions of thoughts, ideas and feelings as a purging of what ailed me. There are a couple that I can bear to look at today.

While I serial dated college boys, I fell in love with one of my English professors who didn’t get tenure and moved on, despite my letter of recommendation for him. I met my cervix in a Women’s Studies class and wrote an ode to vaginas. I read Shakespeare and gave a nod to faeries and donkeys. I waded through a mire of 17th century poetry, not understanding or caring for it a bit. I fell in love with a red wheelbarrow glazed with rainwater. I drowned in Science fiction. My love poems were all about the heartbreak of splitting up or what an asshole he was after all. I vomited more poems and got a great letter of recommendation for graduate school from Robert Creeley, who read my work but with whom I never took a class.

The other day a classmate from the English department friend-requested me on Facebook. He found his college notebooks in the attic with some of my poetry in it. He told me after reading them that he thought they still held up. Imagine that.  After college I went to graduate school for a MFA in Creative Writing. After 2 semesters I left the program and didn’t write another poem for 10 years. Now I write fiction. I’m much happier.

What did you read and write in college?

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a poet is a penguin—his wings are to swim with

mem•o•ry | ‘mem (ə) rē | noun (pl. –ries)

1 a person’s power to remember things : she had a great memory for jokes | she never lost her memory although she eventually lost her capacity for vanity.

the power of the mind to remember things : the brain regions responsible for memory are gossamer draperies, diaphanous, quivering shrouds.

the mind regarded as a store of things remembered : I searched his failing memory frantically for him.

the capacity of a substance to return to a previous state or condition after being altered or deformed. See also shape memory, changing personality, dementia, possibility of after-life

2 something remembered from the past; a recollection : my memory of his kindness is not a fabrication | my heart overflows with the memory of her love.

the remembering or the recollection of a dead person, esp. one who was popular or respected : she wants to spend the day at the grave drinking champagne, it will be a day devoted to the memory of an amazing woman

the length of time over which people continue to remember a person or event : she didn’t remember feeling quite this fragile in recent memory

3 the part of a computer in which data or program instructions can be stored for retrieval.

capacity for storing information in this way : it was shocking how quickly a man could lose so many Mb of memory, horrifying how the brain is no better than a laptop

ORIGIN Middle English : from Old French memorie, from Latin memoria, from memor ‘mindful, remembering,’ from the fissures in a breaking heart, from here to fucking eternity, from Linda to Molly & Herman

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