|Floor, wall, door|
Poet Mary Ann Samyn, who will be at Dog Ears Books this coming Friday, June 14, from 5-7 p.m., commented in an e-mail that she thinks people have a lot of questions about poetry, and the question I’ve used as the heading for today’s post is one she realizes many people have. Why don’t poems rhyme any more? What are they about? How are you supposed to know?
Here is a short poem from Samyn’s most recent collection, My Life in Heaven.
“The Key Is How”
Dappled light is neutral.
Painted dappled light, useless, mostly.
What had been successfully avoided might have helped,
actually, given the chance.
I walked from one lake to another, not choosing.
“We’re on a ship now,” the all-alone sisters told each other,
covering themselves: “Good night, good night.
Mid-afternoon: what’s not to love?
The dunegrass sways, and is sharp.
I don’t like to analyze poems and will not attempt to analyze this one, but I keep reading it over and over, letting the lines wash over and through me. There is no obligation to engage in analysis to enjoy a poem: you don’t have to be a critic. When people tell me they are afraid of poetry – and yes, many say that – I encourage them to treat it like gentle rain coming in the late afternoon of a hot summer day. “Just stand there and let it pour over you.”
It was Mary Ann also put into my head the idea of presenting several of this season’s bookstore events as conversations with visiting authors. “Ask the Poet” pretty much gives the audience free rein. How the poet answers will be up to her, obviously, but I’m sure it will be interesting.
Samyn is the author of four previous full-length collections of poems. She is Bolton Professor for Teaching and Mentoring at West Virginia University, where she teaches in the MFA Program in Creative Writing. She comes to Glen Lake most summers.
What do you want to ask a poet? Think about that between now and Friday.
|Path through meadow|