It’s not that I’m a poet, mind you

I recently joined Facebook’s “Networked Blogs.” It was one of those things that happened; I clicked someone else’s “follow this blog” button, and the next thing I knew, I was being prompted for three keywords to describe my blog. Uh-oh. I have resisted even a tag-line, for fear of being categorized, limited, button-holed, pigeon-holed, whatever. But I do want you, dear reader, to find me. So I plugged in practically the first three words that came to mind. Coffee. Poetry. God. (God? Really?? Stay tuned….)

It’s not that I actually write poetry, mind you. Well, except for long ago. And once in a rare while. And it’s not that I read tons of poetry or have that enviable gift of memorization, such that lines of verse roll off my tongue at the drop of a witty association.

It’s because twenty years ago when I thought I was a poet, I went to a writer’s conference in the midst of a bleak depression (is there any other kind) and Ed Hirsch took me out for breakfast on my birthday and made sure I had a copy of Wild Gratitude. Because in poetry making sense means something different. Because someone came up with wacky forms like villanelles and sestinas and I’m someone who thinks form is freeing. It’s because when I graduated from high school my aunt typed out Galway Kinnell’s “Saint Francis and the Sow” on special paper and I carried it in my wallet for years. Decades. It’s because Philip Levine wrote “Snow.” It’s because I know amazing people who write poetry and are willing to read it in public, print it, let it make my heart sing.

What’s poetry to you?