Expanding the Poetic Horizon

As a poet, I never wanted to take classes about poetry. In fact I wrote a poem about it. I never wanted to be classically (or technically) trained. I thought that classes in poetry would diminish and stifle my creativity; would put me in a corner. And nobody puts Baby in the corner. All of this is coming from someone who loves education, who always wanted and wants to learn something new, anything new. Needless to say in pursuit of my degrees I have encountered numerous poetry classes. I have loved every one of them. Through these classes, I was introduced to new poets and new poems. I got to learn that the old rules of Haiku are not as stringent as we thought and I learned which forms I’m really good at composing.

I’ve mentioned Lucille Clifton on the blog before. She is one of my favorite poets but she is also a poet that I was introduced to through one of those courses I didn’t want to take. I had about a year of falling in love with her poems, some of which are laced with humor, before she passed away. This week I’d like to share one of my favorites with you. As a woman who’s had hips since she was 12, I really appreciate the glory that she gives to hips and the wit she displayed in paying homage to her hers.

Hope you all enjoy!

Homage to My Hips

these hips are big hips.
they need space to
move around in.
they don’t fit into little
petty places. these hips
are free hips.
they don’t like to be held back.
these hips have never been enslaved,
they go where they want to go
they do what they want to do.
these hips are mighty hips.
these hips are magic hips.
i have known them
to put a spell on a man and
spin him like a top

Lucille Clifton

Poem courtesy of PoemHunter.com
http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/homage-to-my-hips/

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Night Owl Life

Dear Readers,

I have something to share. You know the people who text, call, Facebook message, email or otherwise contact you at 2 a.m. like it’s 2 in the afternoon? That’s me! My internal clock has been screwed up for as long as I can remember and I have become used to it. I almost texted one of my close friends at 1:00 this morning, granted this friend may have been up because she had a mid-term at 10 this morning but I didn’t want to interrupt her studying. Almost everyone in my life knows that if anything is going on they can call me. I can stay up until 5 a.m. and still be semi-productive at work. When other people are winding down for the night I am getting my second wind. But I recently realized while I was up doing some work and plotting a couple of new stories that there’s nothing wrong with being a night owl. Sometimes I am industrious and accomplish quite a few things. Other times I lie in bed and read, or have fantasies about Dwayne Johnson or Dr. J (don’t judge me), or listen to TV or watch it.

I have come to grips with my status as a part- time insomniac. So tonight when I’m up I hope to write, do some yoga, or work on a paper that’s due in three weeks. At any rate, while some up you are sleeping I will be up living the night owl life.

Laughing Cow Cheese

laughing cow

Hi All,

This is just a random Saturday rant. For the last two weeks or so I have been eating Laughing Cow cheese with everything. On pretzel crisps, on pretzel crisps with turkey pepperoni, on plain bagels, on cinnamon raisin bagels, with craisins, with pistacios, with a salad, even after drinking a smoothie.

I am convinced that it must have some type of addictive drug in it because it’s just not natural to crave something like that. Especially something that you normally wouldn’t like (or try). I usually eat Brie, Havarti, Feta, Gruyere, or Chevre. I guess for the time being I’m going to be addicted to Laughing Cow.

I hope that you’re all having a great weekend. If you’re snowed in enjoy yourselves and if you’re somewhere warm and sunny I’m jealous.  

Candy Coated Love

You didn’t love me
but sometimes it felt like you did;
especially when you poured your skin over mine
like chocolate melted over caramel.

You would hover over my existence
as if you were trying to see deep into me.
Like my eyes held the key to some
unknown mystery.

You’ve traced the moles of my body from my face
to the soles of my feet.
Made your own map of discovery to
the special part of me made only for you.

I couldn’t make you love me
couldn’t make you believe that my love
is strong enough to cross seas of any size
but you did.

Just when I thought that I’d
have to learn to
love someone else;
you carried yourself back
to me.

No Break on Valentine’s Day

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.
~Maya Angelou

Right now I am the living embodiment of this quote. I feel as if there are at least seven great stories inside of me and it is painful to be unable to pour them all out. I wish that I had the ability to do as Zora Neale Hurston(whom the above quote is also attributed to) was alleged to have done and write a great novel in 37 days. I remember being impressed when I learned that she supposedly wrote “Their Eyes Were Watching God” in such a short amount of time. But she didn’t have all this technology disrupting her work. Alas, life and distractions are always around the corner. For me the hardest part of being a writer is simply sitting down to work. The stories and dialogue are always in my head but I feel as if as soon as I’m ready to write life starts calling and pulling me away from the computer. Right now I’m working on an academic paper that is taking up all of my time but I hope to have new poetry, fiction, or something creative next week.

I hope that all of you are having better luck creating. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Love, Love Jones

I have been in love with poetry most of my life. Langston Hughes, Emily Dickinson, and Gwendolyn Brooks were amongst the first poets I ever read and their work sucked me into the world of poetry. As I got older, my appreciation for the art expanded to other poets but when I was twelve I began to write my own poems; and ever since I have had a love affair with the art form. I cannot explain what an amazing experience it is to pour your feelings (or your friend’s) onto paper. I am motivated by so many different things when I write but with poetry I feel as if I am leaving a part of my soul in every piece.

In honor of Black History Month I am re-reading some of my favorite African-American poets so my head is full of Lucille Clifton’s “wishes for sons” and “homage to my hips”, along with Gwendolyn Brook’s “We Real Cool”, Claude McKay’s “To A Poet” and Nikki Giovanni’s “I’m Not Lonely.” While immersing myself in all of that good poetry I was reminded that I hadn’t really written any new poems this month. I’ve been so focused on creating short fiction and trying to put serious work into the novel that I hope to complete this year that I have totally overlooked poetry. I need to write some new pieces but I will need inspiration for that and although my motivation can come from anything or anywhere including new shoes, music, a story shared by friend’s, good food, words from a novel, or a trip; there is always one go-to source where I am sure to become inspired. Love Jones is guaranteed to put me in the mood. To write.

Love Jones is one of my favorite movies hands down; it is full of poetry and spoken word performances. For those of you unfamiliar with the movie it’s the tale of Nina a photographer, who fresh off a broken engagement, meets modern day Renaissance man Darius. The movie follows them from an Open Mic night at a local nightspot to a first date and into deeply complex relationship. Although it is ultimately a love story for me the poetry plays a major role. Actor Leonard Roberts plays a supporting role and voice sounds like poetry. The movie also features one of this poet’s favorite poets/spoken word artists Chicago’s Malik Yusef. Watching the movie always inspires me to give birth to new work. It can be ideas that I eventually use as prose but most often it’s new poetry.

In many ways, every time I see the movie my love for poetry begins all over again. I think that the beauty of this film is everything; the complicated relationships, the friendships, and most importantly the poetry. Yes, I love the love story aspect of it and as a poet I want to fall in love with another poet but I absolutely love how deep in love with poetry I feel once the closing credits start running. So I just wanted to share this clip of the Love Jones “reunion” that I found on Love Jones Tumblr and I hope it inspires all of you.

A Literary Saturday

One of my writer’s resolutions for this year (and last year) is to attend more literary events; like book signings, writer’s conferences, book festivals, and literary festivals. Because writing is such a solitary profession many of the magazines that I subscribe to suggest being part of a writing community. I wasn’t able to do it last year but this year the goal is high on my list because there are a lot of events that I could reasonably attend.

Last Saturday, I attended the HOLLA Literary Festival in Wadesboro, North Carolina. It was a wonderful event and I got the opportunity to meet some of my favorite authors. I bought some new books and enjoyed having them autographed. As a writer, it was wonderful to get the chance to interact with other writers and to see how supportive building a network can be. I got some great information about new books and the benefits of certain publishers. I was also able to buy books that I may not have given a chance on Amazon so it was a magnificent day overall.

I was a bit inspired by the whole thing and look forward to attending more events, meeting more published authors, and building my own network.