Passing the Feather: Farewell (and Hello) to a Poet Laura
It’s hard to believe a year has gone by since Tania Runyan handed the Poet Laura baton to me, but if there is one thing I’ve learned these past months it’s the mysterious nature of passing time. What poetry adventures we’ve had together this year! I began my time as Poet Laura with a commitment to generosity and whimsy, which seemed especially important in the midst of a global pandemic. Through poetry, we explored the generosity of the earth, savored the heroics of chocolate, and sang the praises of the company of trees. One particularly memorable event of the year was reading Shakespeare to the chickens.
When I picked up the Poet Laura baton, I was in a transition as a writer.
After many long years of blogging and essay writing, I was rediscovering my love of story. T.S. Poetry Press had just released my novella Waiting for Neruda’s Memoirs, which had appeared earlier as a series at Tweetspeak.
Revisiting that story stoked my fiction fire. As it turns out, reading and writing poetry for a year had a way of awakening the storytelling in me. My year as Poet Laura culminated in the publication of a new novel that is, at its heart, a love song to poetry.
Mildred’s Garden celebrates the theme of beginning again, and that is exactly what poetry has helped me to do with my writing life, and all of life, really. Because I like to think of life’s good things as poetry moments—the times when all the small loves of life stack together like the lines of a poem to create something lovely.
1. If you haven’t already, commit yourself to being a poem evangelist. For me, explaining to others exactly what a “Poet Laura” is has been a wonderful way to make poetry more accessible to others.
2. Keep your poetry antennae attuned at all times. I’ve been delightfully surprised at the many sources of inspiration that reveal themselves when my mind is set on poetry.
3. Let poetry be a bridge of connection to others. Take advantage of the community here at Tweetspeak Poetry. Poetry is so much richer when shared in relationship. And finally…
4. Have fun! Let your whimsy and curiosity lead you as you follow the poetry wherever it may take you.
My best wishes to you, dear Poet Laura, as you embark upon this journey. I am excited to see where the poetry takes you. And, a hearty “thank you” to this community of poem lovers and poets. It’s been lovely journeying with you.
What’s a Poet Laura, You Say?
Introducing Tweetspeak’s 2021/2022 Poet Laura
Next month, our newly-appointed poet ascends the chickens-and-chocolate-adorned-Poet-Laura throne. We are delighted to welcome Karen Paul Holmes to the Poet Laura circle. Karen has been cozy in the U.S. south for 30+ years after surviving many, many a Michigan winter. Many. She used to play French horn but no longer has “the chops” to hit the high notes.
She hopes readers find some high notes in her poetry, which appears in literary journals and her two books. When Poet David Kirby blurbed her latest, No Such Thing as Distance (Terrapin Books), he said she’s “like a circus aerialist…” Perfect for a Poet Laura! Visit her at KarenPaulHolmes.com.
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