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I had been working through this poem for a couple years, but it wasn't working. Then I took a class with Carolyne Wright. Two of the prompts given ended up being just the opening for me to rethink this poem, to bring Garcia Lorca in as my guide, to root it in history and in doing so entangle all these histories with my own and reach to a much deeper place. I am grateful to Rachel Eliza Griffiths for recognizing it as finalist for the esteemed Lauren K. Alleyne Difficult Fruit prize. So many great poets surfaced this poem for me!
This haibun (Japanese form) poem was inspired by the video created to explain sexual consent. The animated video uses tea as a metaphor for sex. I was struck by how sharing a cup of tea can seem intimate, how there is often ceremony, tradition and expectation involved. This poem eventually evolved into the haibun form which not only played on the Japanese tea ceremony, but also enabled contrast in perspectives (hers/his) (prose/haiku-like) and pacing (fast/slow).
I'm thrilled this poem was selected as a semi-finalist for the very prestigious Pablo Neruda Poetry Prize.
The Seattle Poet Laureate Claudia Castro Luna created a grid of poems about places in Seattle from Seattle poets. I was delighted to have "Grace" selected to bring to life my lovely neighborhood.
I've had the good fortune to attend TED half a dozen times. It is a most extraordinary experience for the people that are there, the talks shared, the theater of it all. I thought I'd share my take on the last one I attended.
This poem was written as part of the Tupelo 30/30 when I had to write a poem a day for 30 days last November.
I had such fun writing this sestina. A bit snarky, but meant to amuse. The sestina form came naturally as it provided the opportunity to be playful with words like "snug" and "hinge."
"We don't typically decide on submissions this quickly, but we all had a chance to read your poem last night and we immediately fell in love." ~3 Elements Review Editors
In my Master Class, David Wagoner mentioned the classic hexameter in passing. I decided to dig into it and see if I could write a poem in hexameter. I dug up an old, old Greek Reader (W.H. Auden, editor) that still is scored with notes from my mother's school days and mine. In it, I discovered Pindar's Ode to the Athlete. I found it so perfectly suited for what I wanted to write about my youngest son's journey from athlete to a working design engineer in NYC. In fact, I stole liberally from it, interspersing Pindar's lines amongst my own. See if you can find them! I didn't achieve hexameter however. This appeared in Freshwater Literary Journal's 2017 edition.
Along with "Finding My Way Home," West Trade Review published this poem that is one of my favorites. I intertwine first to second person tense to destabilize the reader and hopefully provide a sense of intimacy and immediacy to the poem.
This poem is my story of living a peripatetic life and then finding home back where I grew up, finding love and finding my way back to writing. It also is a play on the name Sea Born and threaded with illusions to Venus. I loved that West Trade Review chose to publish it in this issue with this cover.