Passing on the Poet Laura-ship
The long-lived Queen Elizabeth has left us just as summer has left us us. It’s the end of an era.
Fall is also a season of change in all senses of that phrase. At Tweetspeak, it’s time to turn over my Laura-ship to a new Poet Laura. And my goodness, 2022 has flapped its wings and has nearly left the building.
Here’s a poem about endings, and savoring, for example, a last swim in early October in a Blue Ridge Mountain lake.
Even after all these years in the South,
my Michigan mind thinks it should be fall,
nights full of crisp apple wind.
But on the dock, sun still pinks bikinied skin.
I dip toes to test the lake, warm at its surface.
Spiders know the date—they’ve sewn
the ladder with sticky silk. As I descend,
water grows cooler. Small waves peck my face.
I scull my body, grasping each sensation:
It could be the last swim of the season.
A week later, northern air has whistled in.
I return to the cabin, wash beach towels, stow
A friend saw Thomas Edison’s last breath
in a vial at a Detroit museum. She questioned if
and how it happened—the inventor’s son
hovering close, he must’ve had several false tries.
There’s a bittersweet acid we crave,
knowing when a goodbye will be the last.
It etches the heart, the brain.
—Karen Paul Holmes from No Such Thing as Distance
Saying Goodbye: My Poet Laura year in review
- Right off, like a good Poet Laura, I tried reading a poem to a chicken. But the only time I came across a chicken was when I didn’t have a poem in hand, and suddenly I couldn’t remember a single line of a poem, so I just said I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree. And the chicken ran away just as my husband snapped the photo. I guess I happened to encounter the rare chicken who didn’t like poetry (or maybe it was me)!
- It’s been fun here at Tweetspeak sharing my poetry thoughts and some favorite poems with you. I’ve enjoyed interacting with poetry lovers when they’ve commented and especially when they’ve shared poems. Thank you!
- The importance of connection, virtually through sites like Tweetspeak Poetry, came through loud and clear even as the pandemic eased, allowing careful in-person experiences. I led a poetry workshop at the Blue Ridge Writers’ Conference in April. It was great being in real human, face-to-face energy. But virtual communities like this one and via social media have also continued to keep my poetry spirit going. I’ve been submitting more to journals and have had acceptances at wonderful ones like Glass: A Journal of Poetry (hear me read a favorite poem, which is also about endings: “Lines Written Under Hartsfield-Jackson Airport”) and The Lascaux Review.
- I’m even starting to feel like putting together a manuscript for a new poetry book. That takes a lot of energy, yet it’s a satisfying experience to see so many of your poems come together and speak to each other.
These are my wishes for you, dear incoming Poet Laura:
May your reign rain goodness upon your head.
May you be inspired and inspire others.
May you have as rewarding a year at Tweetspeak as I have had.
Here’s to a year of tea and chocolate (and at least a few friendly chickens)!
Your Incoming Poet Laura: Dheepa R. Maturi
For the next 12 months, I look forward to getting to know Tweetspeak Poetry’s new Poet Laura, Dheepa R. Maturi. We already have some connections besides poetry: We’re both alums of University of Michigan (Go Blue!) and daughters of immigrants.
Born in New York City, Dheepa then lived all over the Midwest, except for an odd two-year detour to Texas. Her career trajectory has involved practicing corporate law, launching a gourmet tea brand called “Chai, Baby!” and directing an education grant program. She finally followed a refrain that had played through her head for many years: I should be writing—I should be writing!
Dheepa considers herself an aspiring optimist. One goal of her writing journey is finding hope in our complicated world. She’s learning that hope is a conscious choice and an act of courage, often hard-fought and hard-won. She writes poetry, essays, and fiction and recently completed her first novel, an eco-thriller. Visit her at www.DheepaRMaturi.com.
Dheepa says, “I’m forever grateful to the Tweetspeak universe, whose members have taught me how poetry, while illuminating the breathtaking depth and enormity of life, also offers a lovely and delightful place to play!”
Photo by Pedro Szekely, Creative Commons, via Flickr. Post by Karen Paul Holmes, 2022 Tweetspeak Poet Laura and author of No Such Thing as Distance.
What’s a Poet Laura? Explore the 10 Matters in Which the Poet Laura Must Be Able, Willing, or Impressionable, So as to Successfully Fulfill Their Role.
- Poet Laura: Passing on the Laura-ship - October 6, 2022
- Poet Laura: Telling Your Story Through Another’s Eyes - September 8, 2022
- Poet Laura: Dark Humor & Smarts in the Same Poem - August 11, 2022
L.L. Barkat says
Karen, what a joy it’s been to have you serve as Tweetspeak’s 2021/22 Poet Laura. Thank you for bringing us poems and prompts and poetic heart for the year. We truly appreciate.
And… thanks for introducing us to the new Poet Laura. A fine introduction, indeed. 🙂
(Welcome, Dheepa! We look forward.)
Karen Paul Holmes says
Thank you for trusting me to carry the Poet Laura pen. I’ve loved my time here!
Bethany Rohde says
What a touching, bittersweet poem, Karen. Powerful ending.
Thank you for being our Poet Laura this year! I have enjoyed reading your thoughtful pieces and poems and look forward to Dheepa’s turn as well!
Raising a mug a apple cider to you!
Karen Paul Holmes says
Bethany, it’s so sweet of you to comment. I’m glad my poem touched you and that you’ve enjoyed the Poet Laura posts. Take care, and keep poeming!
Dheepa R. Maturi says
Karen, what a gorgeous poem about endings—my own “Michigan mind” particularly appreciated the “crisp apple wind”! And thank you also for the warm welcome to the role of Poet Laura–I’m so excited to begin!
Karen Paul Holmes says
Thank you, Dheepa! I’m looking forward to reading your words every month.