The year of 2020 will be remembered for many things in our household. My youngest son celebrated his twenty-first birthday, marking—what he feels is—his sojourn into adulthood, even though he’s still on the family payroll. His elder brother moved over five hundred miles away, tautening the umbilical cord (still on the family payroll). Two of my nieces got engaged, a close family member got sober, we lost a dear friend to cancer, a baby was born. Let us not forget: global pandemic, troubled race relations, cutthroat election year, wildfires out west … Yeah. It’s been, shall we say, a year.
The state of things brings to mind the of the story of the Cellist of Sarajevo. It’s the story of Vedran Smailović, a musician who became famous during the siege of Sarajevo for playing his cello in a Sarajevo square ruined by mortar fire. He played Albinoni’s Adagio in G Minor for twenty-two days to bring attention to the deaths of twenty-two civilians killed there while waiting for food.
Singer/songwriter Sara Groves cites Smailović as an inspiration for some of her music, stating,
“This story became a mobilizing metaphor for me. It is easy to stand at the edge of a crater and talk about its depth and breadth, and who created it, who is at fault. It takes a generative person to get down into that crater and make something, to ask yourself, what would I put here?”
This is what we do when we continue to create in the midst of the hard stuff of life—we are climbing down into the craters—not only creating a protest of beauty, but shifting the narrative to one of hopefulness, asking, “What would I put here?”
There are always ways to make room for delight.
And, even in 2020 there remain moments of delight. One delight of 2020 for me is being named Tweetspeak Poetry’s second Poet Laura. I’m honored to fall in line behind the first ever Poet Laura, Tania Runyan, who is a tough rhyme to follow. As the first “Laura” Poet Laura, I pledge to do my best to stay faithful to the whimsy with which this position was created; a whimsy that draws attention to the power of poetry to change perspective, change people, maybe even change the world. (I was hoping the position was accompanied by a year’s supply of chocolate, but alas, not so. Not yet, anyway.).
Staying dedicated to whimsy in such a strange time is no small task. One might call it counter-cultural. Even revolutionary. The enormity of the task will be mitigated by the Poet Laura Checklist. As Poet Laura I am charged to read a poem every weekday and encourage others to do the same. I’ll be following in my predecessor’s footsteps and (hopefully) reading (and writing?) poetry to chickens, consuming and writing about fair trade chocolate and tea, and planting trees, among other adventurous (look out, moon, here we come!) and glamourous (if Stephen Colbert calls, let me know) pastimes.
Let this be my call to revolution: Poetry shall overcome! I lift the poetry banner high, so that all—be it poultry, human, or alien being—might rally to our cause. Let the coming year usher in all manner of poetic delights. I’m so excited to embark upon this revolution with you!
In the meantime, this might help you get to know me a little better:
A Poem is a Meteor
(inspired by From the Adagia by Wallace Stevens. And life.)
this morning at 5:23, I
rose in the dark, went
out back and lay myself
flat in the sleeping dew to
watch for meteors
it was past peak for the
Orionid showers but
still, I focused my eyes
on the radiant point, just
the damp soaked through
my robe; the French doors, a
frame of light, illuminated
Bonnie, waiting on the stair—
licking paws to pink
above, a glitter-flecked
sky shimmered stories in the
night, as light began to spill
on the horizon. and I, still
and shivering, waiting,
trying to catch a poem.
Photo by michaelleckman, Creative Commons license via Flickr. Post by Laura Boggess.
A Novella From Laura Boggess
Lyrical and whimsical writer Laura Boggess brings us an inspiring story of one woman’s quest to put her life back together. Poetry plays a part. But not before a book gets delivered to the wrong house on a windy, impossible day.
BUY WAITING FOR NERUDA’S MEMOIRS NOW
- The Honey Field—10: Anna’s Heart - May 24, 2023
- The Honey Field—9: Breaker - May 10, 2023
- The Honey Field—8: Swarming - April 19, 2023
Monica Sharman says
Laura, you are the perfect choice for the second Poet Laura! Send me your address and I will send you chocolate now and then throughout the year.
Laura Bo says
I just might take you up on that offer, Monica, lol! Thanks for the warm welcome 😊. I think we’re going to have fun together this year!
Seconding Monica. Wonderful choice.
Laura bo says
Thank you, Maureen. That means a lot coming from one of my favorite poets 😊!
Laura Lynn Brown says
Whimsy. A protest of beauty. Delight. “What would I put here?” I want to remember these, to draft in the momentum of your banner-leading here and and to plant some flags of beauty in the craters I come upon or have accidentally made.
Humor is another of your flags. I look forward to your year as the second Poet Laura.
Laura bo says
Thank you, Laura! I’m glad you’re joining the revolution 😉. We’re out for a wonderful adventure.
Laurie Klein says
Hurray! And congratulations, Laura!
Faithful. Playful. Hopeful. I look forward to all you will unearth as well as “catch” and ponder and set into motion . . .
Laura bo says
Thank you, Laurie! It’s nice to be welcomed by another of my favorite poets! One of the gifts of this community: such lovely voices gather here. It will make the journey all the sweeter to have you along!
L.L. Barkat says
Oh, just all of this…
“This story became a mobilizing metaphor for me. It is easy to stand at the edge of a crater and talk about its depth and breadth, and who created it, who is at fault. It takes a generative person to get down into that crater and make something, to ask yourself, ‘what would I put here?’
This is what we do when we continue to create in the midst of the hard stuff of life—we are climbing down into the craters—not only creating a protest of beauty, but shifting the narrative to one of hopefulness, asking, ‘What would I put here?’
There are always ways to make room for delight.”
And you, off to catch poems. I can’t wait to see what you bring home in 2021. 🙂 Thanks again for taking on this lovely and mischievous role at Tweetspeak! (And I see that your chocolate wishes are already coming true.)
laura bo says
That quote seemed so appropriate for right now. It feels like a charge to me. Thank you for the kind welcome, Laura. To me, you will always be THE poet Laura :).
Sandra Heska King says
Congratulations, Laura! You are so perfect for this new gig.
2020 has been a year for us, too. So, so many cancellations. Isolation. Family deaths. Cancer. And feeling like somehow that crater stole creativity. Maybe a mild depression? I dunno, but this kind of feels like a chance to dust of the ashes and make something of the mess.
Oh… and a new grand boy coming next month.
I’m ready for some whimsy and delight.
Laura Bo says
Thank you, Sandy! And, yes! Let’s dust off the ashes. I’m trying to see grief as an invitation to create. Some days it’s easier than others but we keep moving forward. ❤️
Karen Paul Holmes says
Dear Poet Laura,
Congratulations, and I heart your poem!
Laura Bo says
Thank you, Karen! It’s a tremendous honor :).
Amy Farley says
Welcome Poet Laura, Laura,
I’m excited to join the revolution, if only in our hearts and to see what emerges from the craters. Perhaps a Signup Genius for chocolate sending. Of course, you can freeze it.
laura bo says
Thank you, Amy, I’m happy to have you along for our poetry revolution! Any and all chocolate received is a bonus 😉
Rick Maxson says
Better late than never. Congratulations, Laura, and may you catch a multitude of poems in those stars.
Thank you so much, Rick! I never can get enough poems. Or stars for that matter :).