two weeks ago i found a Dorianne Laux poem. years ago, in my final year of university, the two of us happened to live in the same state. i had the opportunity to hear her read quite a few times at the end of the last millennium but since then i had fallen out of touch with her work. she must have new collections that i had never seen, she must have new poems that i had never heard. a bit of library investigation tuned up two new books and an interview in a book called Range of the Possible, a collection of interviews with contemporary poets edited by Tod Marshall.
Laux’s voice is so true, so clear, so evident. even when she’s writing prose.
i remember being absolutely ecstatic to find [Sharon Olds and Carolyn Forche] and to see that there was another language that i could utilize, the language of women….i quickly began to see the possibilities in my domestic surroundings–rags of cloud, jam jars filled with roses, laundry on the line: the banners of the household. (160)
all poetry is witness. (163)
my line is probably nothing special in the scheme of things. Levertov knows how to make a line that is like polished glass, how to make a new meaning ring between the last word of one line and the first word of the next. (164)
along with yesterday’s good advice, i offer this: model for your students and your children a life lived among the stacks, a life with pen in hand, “life,/and its hauled up/notebooks.” do your work; dig in–to whatever it is that catches your fancy. for me, these last few weeks its been poems. but anything can become a lens with which to see the world more clearly. as John Holt said, live your life well and invite a child into it.
so many more good poems can be found at Teaching Young Writers!