Living Poetry

When I was in my early twenties I lived in Iowa City, Iowa, in the midst of some of the great poets of our age: Marvin Bell, Jorie Graham…Gerald Stern…Mark Strand

I waited tables at a decent establishment, the professors of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop often dined there. They were all decent people, but Mr. Stern only one I really looked forward to seeing. I even had a little crush on him, which baffled me because though he was kind and charismatic, he wasn’t really my type: 30 years my senior, with a grey halo of hair and a santaesque figure.

Now I understand why I was infatuated with him. I read and wrote poetry, but Mr. Stern lived poetry. The poem I recite this week could easily have been a monologue I greedily eavesdropped on while waiting on him.

Living poetry is what this project has been about. By devoting myself to internalizing great poems I hope to make poetry my home, the place that I come from.  Mr. Stern gave me my first inkling of what that might mean. With gratitude and respect, I offer my recitation of Gerald Stern’s, Bolero.

16 thoughts on “Living Poetry

  1. “for it was time to rattle the canisters” I like that line. Liked the whole poem a lot in fact. I understand what you mean by being drawn to Stern, being drawn to someone who lives poetry, who lives whatever we are passionate about. There’s a magnetism there.

  2. It is always nice to discover a voice and face for each blogger, not that I am suggesting you had neither as that would be somewhat odd. I think living poetry is something I shall now aspire to as it sounds pretty darn noble.

  3. Abby, you have accomplished much this past year. You have shared thoughts, feelings, smiles, and a tear or two also. You have lived and by sharing you have made others live, rather than simply exist. The mind is what needs to be nurtured, more than the body. All the best!

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