Happy Poetry Friday! (Wondering what Poetry Friday is? Click here.)
I’m trying to deepen my poetry practice in 2021, and one thing I’m doing is a book study of Mary Oliver’s A Poetry Handbook. In last week’s practice, I chose a poem to imitate. One way I want to stretch myself poetically is to imbue my work with more emotion. I love descriptive poetry, but I think sometimes I favor image and wordcraft over heart. So I decided to imitate one of Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s poems, because her poems always have SO much heart. No matter what the poem is about, you always know how Amy and/or the narrator feel.
I love her book Read! Read! Read!, and I chose the poem “Maps” as my mentor poem. The elements I wanted to incorporate were the style of the opening, where the narrator acknowledges the existence of the more modern, digital version of what is being done; the free verse form; the first-person narrator; and the repetition of “I like . . .”
And what to write about? My husband, Randy, recently showed me an amazing video of a British pianist playing piano for blind elephants in Thailand. (You can read more here.) So, I decided to write a poem about that. You can watch the beautiful video, the one I watched as I wrote this draft. (This is draft 3–I might come back to it to keep working on it, but regardless of whether I do or don’t, I loved writing it.)
And here’s my poem draft:
And for lots of wonderful poetry, don’t miss the Poetry Friday Roundup with my friend Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche.