Poetry doesn’t seem at all popular to the general reading public these days yet I know many people write it. The Twitter world is filled with writers of sparse Japanese-style poems like haiku and tanka, perfect for 140-character posts – see @CoyoteSings for one of the best Twitter poets. Some of these writers have websites devoted to their work. Poetry just doesn’t sell so there are no books on the NYT bestseller list or modern-day poets whose names are familiar, with perhaps the exception of Maya Angelou who is more well-known for her other work anyway.
Today, though, I find through my Google Alert that a poetry book by a New York City television anchorwoman, Francesca Maxime, is being released soon through NYQ Books, the indie publishing arm of the New York Quarterly poetry magazine (go NYQ!). Ms. Maxime’s book it titled Rooted: A Verse Memoir. It speaks of childhood abuse, loss, dreams, and moving on.
As I mentioned in last week’s post, I think much of poetry is actually a type of life writing. A poet puts experience on paper using a few well-appointed words arranged rhythmically. Poetry is passionate, deeply-felt. It is highly edited story, stripped to its core. I find it more than a little sad that few want to read it. I also think we live in a fast-forward, short-attention-span society that doesn’t want to stop and hear something that “comes packaged in silence,” as Walter Bargen, first poet laureate of Missouri describes poetry.
Walter Bargen has written a kind of memoir in poetry, too, called Endearing Ruins, published in Germany and including both English and German translations. I have a signed copy. Bargen recalls growing up in post-WWII Germany and playing in the ruins of war, hearing the war stories of his relatives. It is a touching book filled with silent spaces awaiting the thoughts of readers.
Next week I hope to announce the release of a poetry book of my own experiences that include the life moments of others. Stay tuned. Don’t be afraid to include poetry in your own life writings.
I never really thought of it that way, but I do have several poems that reflect my memories. Two of them were placed out at the wakes of loved ones – one for an aunt and one for my dad.