Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Magic of Making Poems

Poetry scares some of us
intimidates, conjures up
memories of grade school and the poems
we had to memorize,
the ones that
were impossibly hard to understand
and made no sense
wondering why we had to know this at all
it seems many have had a bad poem
moment that still holds
cringe factor and has created
a wide suspicious circle
around this (to me) very magical language.
This is worth some research I decide
and will address and
ask about it at the next workshop.

Conducting poetry workshops
is a long time dream, goal and passion
for me having had the various opportunities
over the years to
invite a collection of (usually) women
to discover their own powerful voice
thru poem making!
It usually comes as a surprise to them
and I am often and always humbled by
the opportunity to be a witness
to that moment.
Because Poetry comes easy to me,
being my more natural language
than the verbal one
I see it as a way to access wonder and wisdom
my job is to have the net (notebook and pen)
ready to catch the words as they float by
trusting they have landed on the page perfectly
and then, pass them along.
No one is probably more surprised than I
that I have inadvertently made
a living from this
(and my illustrations for more
than 21 years)
What? Really!

My workshop/class/event...
(never sure what to call it...
is mostly just fun exercises)
cause I can't and don't teach anyone
to write poetry
and I could not begin to believe I do
or can...
rather it is to create a space of support,
to encourage and coax the poetry
to happen!
Cause it is my belief
Everyone can write poetry,
And everyone should!

Before yesterday I had primarily presented
this philosphy to a collection of women
called Mourning to Joy,
the most courageous women I have ever
been in the awe and company of.
It is support group for women
who have lost children
started by my friend, Joyce Floyd.
What has happened there...
is beyond my ability to record,
so I will simply say that thru poetry
these women
found a voice to speak
about their unspeakable grief
and for some it was the first time they could!
Such healing magic came forth.

But would that happen every time?
I wasn't sure ...
would 'would be poets.'
curious ponderers
of wondering "what if?"
be able to capture the floating words
and surprise themselves also?
Oh dear, lets hope so, cause this time
I am a bit terrified
admittedly, as I prepare
and sit with women
who are my friends and people I respect,
value and admire greatly!

I am reminded when presenting anything
speaking with sincere passion
for the subject matter
is key.
So I begin...

I won't give my presentation here...
I would rather you join me in the
physical non cyber realm
for much more fun!

But I start with reading a Mary Oliver
poem about writing
and then hold up my list of rules
for writing poetry...
it is a blank sheet of paper!

It is clear right away this is
the perfect collection
of women for these two hours
I know their will be surprises and tears
I know who those will be
but what I didn't expect
was that all of them would be
on the same side of the table
which worked well
because the box of kleenix
didn't have far to travel between them.

This is the part I love
the part that which raises
the hair on the back of my neck
and gives me goosebumps...

Part of the presentation requests
(not requires)
them to read their words out loud,
here is where the magic
and power begins!
At first there is reluctance,
excuses, resistance
some won't even give me eye contact,
and not everyone jumps at the opportunity
to share...
so sure that which has been written
will be judged and is NOT as good
as every one else's creations,
but instead...
what happens is there are
wows, applause, yaay's
and tears...
seems something about
the written language
pulled up,
from the roots of our soul
on our tongues
becomes the taste and sound
of a hymn, a feast
a sigh, a whisper, a prayer
and we know something grand
has occurred!

Don't get me wrong there is also
a lot of laughter
as well...
poems about annoying boys
buried up to their necks in the sand,
(and left there)
weeds being like 711's ,
as military vegetables and
prickly pickles in jars of apple cider vinegar
with restless canines.

I am beside myself with joy for it all
and end it with a favorite way
to create poetry called
Telephone poems or Musical poetry.

Everyone starts with a line
for their own page
passing it to our left,
who adds to that line
and on it goes until it comes back to
the originator..
and they wonder
could it possible make sense and how?
You decide...
mine is below and although
I would have loved to have kept them all
to record them here,
no one was parting with theirs,
I noticed,
as they walked out the door
grinning in poetic wonder!

Thank you ladies, you amazed me!

Today, when a message from a friend
said she was sorry she missed
the "Poetry Party"
I thought
yes, that's what I will call it
a party for poem making,
cause its that simple...
that fun!

Pam Piper Rain

Please get on my mailing list
for future parties!

The poem below is written in different colors
to indicate that
each line was written by someone else.

I love this poem!

She Climbed

When she climbed the orange ladder...
the purple crescent moon reached out to greet her
standing on the edge, her heart was alone
foot first, single steps, treading tirelessly,
across the turbulent tapioca turf
a sparkling diamond fell out of the black blanket
into her outstretched hands
It was home, it felt right, the place, to be safe
sitting in the starry night on top of the orange ladder
she no longer felt...alone!