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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Sorcerer's Apprentice

Heather Ross Miller's newest collection holds poems about her professor (or teacher, as she names him) Randall Jarrell, her birth family and her married family, and observations of what lies around her and in her mind's eye.  Celestial Navigator: Writing Poems with Randall Jarrell connects teacher and student in the work of bringing poems to life, the right word with the right line, the beauty of syllables and of laughter abounding through the lives of Randall and wife Mary.

Miller's classmates at what was then Woman's College of the University of North Carolina, drew upon inspirations that flowed from this poet, forming a unique sorority of young women captivated by a master of our language.  I regret not having met Jarrell, and will be posting another blog about that oversight in my life, but now I want to say bravo to Heather Ross Miller for giving this man back to us in ways we could never do: through her poetry.  

She describes herself in "A Woman Things Happen To" as:
". . . I'm an old woman
who tends the fire, waving aside smoke,
and dipping out the best morsels
so the children can eat."

She introduces her mentor in "Speaking In Tongues" by this stanza:
"Dandelions ripened and flew while I drew
on the sidewalks my hopscotch, world wars,
and fierce new tongues, German, Japanese.
Then when I'd grown and gone to college,
I found a man who spoke these, wrote these,
laughed them out loud, tongues he brought
together in one place, smelting sounds
in a Spartan kind of thing, a poem,
and he said I could too."

And so she could. And so she does still.  You need to read how she responds with her life-long words and poems.  I've given you just a quick taste of what she learned from that Celestial Navigator.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Working with Words

Today is a sunny day, just right for spilling words into it.  When the chaos of the world overwhelms, as it does: Gaza, Israel, Ukraine, Latin America, and leaders try to set things right again: Pope Francis, President Obama, the unnamed peacemakers throughout this world, I feel whelmed over.  
I am a political animal who enjoys writing poems and flash fiction, and a reader of murder mysteries and friends' poetry collections.  I read the newspaper, internet news,watch msnbc, and on the car radio I prefer music stations to news. 
Saying all this, today I need to sit beside Katie, the beagle-jackrussell, and let her bark her little heart away at all the noises in the neighborhood.
The churches are in trouble.  The country is in trouble.  The world is in trouble.  So today I plan to ignore all the troubles, until I come up with a solution.  Or resolution.  My next blog will probably have more to read about.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Labels Can Be Harmful

To begin my blogging again, I'll share this poem written a while ago because it seems to be relevant still, unfortunately:

        First I was, by birthright, a conservative like the
        rest of my family, active in politics of the Right
        during college and fearful of Communists. Then I
        moved leftward after marriage until I claimed with
        pride the label of liberal.  I loved the word and did
        all the things that would put me into the liberal
        camp like make friends with the black community
        during those dangerous civil rights times when to
        question prejudices was unacceptable by the social
        crowd I ran with, and to question the political
        decisions by a Republican President got me in
        trouble and I was no better off because my
        alternate label in those days was radical feminist.
                 Then the L word became a smear from the
                  other side and eventually lost its wings but
                  soon it was modified to white liberal and
                  that was not something to be desired so I
                  changed vocabularies and became a
                  progressive.  A naive progressive.  An
                  innocent progressive.  I was in the
                  progressive wing of the church and a
                  progressive activist in civic organizations
                  and so I progressed.
        Now that label is no good because the word is attached to 
        mystique which morphs into progressive myth which
        leaves some ambiguity but overall I find myself confused
        and unable to fit beneath any label so far except some that
        I will not use lest they too become out of date and

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Time To Return

After a very long hiatus from my blog, I have decided that it is time to start blogging again.  I will be adding posts very soon, and sharing thoughts, activities, and other stuff on here.