Sunday, May 01, 2011

National Poetry Month

Wrote my last poem for NaPoWriMo yesterday, a small poem about LB's reading on Friday. I enjoyed her inventiveness and admired her risk-taking. The poem about two stags in rut, with the scent in the air but not the presence of the doe, was very striking. Her mole poem gave me the idea for my poem. Marie Ponsot sat at the next table. It was a pleasure to speak with her for a while, though distressing to learn that she had a stroke, which rendered her for sometime speechless. We spoke a little about asking the stroke to speak.

I think "Eve's Fault" is the best poem I wrote this month. It is not faultless, but it stretched me to write it. I love how the poem enters the garden, and then leaves it. It is not strictly biographical, but it melds several biographical elements with a revision of the myth. The Norton Anthology has whet my appetite for the writing of Renaissance and Restoration women poets. They are feisty, they had to be, and their daring is extremely attractive.

Last night, at Cornelia Street Cafe again, I heard Pascale Petit and Mark Doty. Petit read from her book What the Water Gave Me, a collection of poems inspired by Frida Kahlo. The poems she read all began strongly but didn't quite clinch the deal at their end, I think. She read a poem from an earlier book, about her sick or dying father. In it, she imagines freeing hummingbirds from his briefcase, so they can shed the light from their wings on his face. It is a beautiful poem. Very moving. Doty read four new poems. I did not find the first three particularly memorable, but the last poem, about a wounded stag on Fire Island, is very strong. It combines description, meditation, and symbol-making into a potent whole.

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