I got a tickle in my throat on Saturday, and ever since I have been on guard for the threat of an incoming cold. Apparently this one is going around, and it’s a slow-burn illness that’s a pain in the arse to shake. I haven’t had a cold in forever so of course I just want to lie in bed and feel sorry for myself. Oh well.
Poetry class is awesome, you guys. I love talking about poetry with massive poetry nerds, and discussing how other people’s drafts are interesting, the lines I like, things they might consider. I’ve had some good feedback too and a visiting poet from Louisiana really liked one I wrote the other night. This was something I was finishing in a mad frenzy at 2am, as one does, and I couldn’t sleep the rest of the night. I kept thinking of changes I might make and then reminding myself I had to print it out before class.
The input is helpful. Part of me thinks it shouldn’t be, but everyone is extraordinarily kind about suggesting alternatives, and sometimes there are some good ideas, or at least things to consider. It makes me wish I had a writing group to meet with, although I’m bad at meeting new people. Our visiting poet got so excited about this exercise our lecturer had us do, it was adorable. She’d never come across it before and she was just like “This is so exciting!” Nerding out about composition techniques is the best part of this class, I swear. I need more people to nerd out about poetry with me. Hey you, out there! Internet person! Nerd out about poetry with me. I’m on twitter and junk.
I’m into Henri Cole at the moment. Someone tweeted out this poem of his, My Tea Ceremony, and I just loooove it, so I’m exploring his work bit by bit. I’d also like to get my hands on a book of women’s Beat poetry at some point. My favourite indie bookshop, I mean I love it to bits, but man their poetry collection makes my wallet hurt just looking at it. Their prices are not student friendly.
Poetry has been therapy this week. We were instructed to write some prose poetry on a social issue, and this was Sunday, there were protests and counter-protests in Charlottesville, and threats of nuclear war a few days earlier, and I very much needed to “bleed on paper”, as the poets say. Things keep coming in about it still, news from synagogues and gleeful quotes from the KKK and photos from memorial services for Heather Heyer and this video from her mother. It never stops. And the same weekend, 200 dead in Sierra Leone mudslide, 18 in a Burkina Faso shooting. I know rationally that violence is not more common than it has been in the past, that it’s just that now it’s live-streamed, but damn. You have to be aware of what’s going on but you have to protect your mental health. Sometimes you need to step back.
I’m not in “step back” territory right now. Sometimes I am – I was the first week after Trump was inaugurated, because the shit got too much and I needed some space to breathe – but right now I’m watching and thinking and using poetry as therapy. I recommend it. It keeps you mad without killing you.