I’m in awe of the poet.

It’s the way they bend sentence structure, and their worldview, which invites inventive and playful metaphors, and, of course, the beautiful language that oozes sex or pain or hunger or all three at once.

My obsession with poets began while reading The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje.  The English Patient is a stunningly beautiful book, which traces the intersection of the lives of four people in the aftermath of World War II.  The language of this book is perfection.

Ondaatje began as a poet, and it’s not hard to see poetry’s influence on his use of language in that novel.  In a scene near the beginning of the book, nurse Hana feeds the English patient some food, and Ondaatje describes it as follows:

“She unskins the plum with her teeth, withdraws the stone and passes the flesh of the fruit into his mouth.”

(Tell me you don’t right now desire a plum or something!)

I want to write like that!  My healthy appreciation for poets and the beauty they create has led me into doing something that absolutely terrifies me.

It’s been my plan to begin reading poetry at night in hopes some of that magic might rub off on my own writing.  Of course I don’t; I read novels or non-fiction books or watch bad television.

One morning while procrastinating/Facebooking, I came across Barrelhouse’s upcoming poetry workshop with Sandra Beasley, a D.C.-area poet.  I first learned of her when reading Hot Sonnets for a class at Johns Hopkins.  Hot Sonnets is a collection of steamy poems and which features two poems by Sandra Beasley.  I also recently met a fascinating woman who took one of Sandra’s poetry classes at the Bethesda Writer’s Center and who raves about how amazing Sandra is.

It seemed like fate or synchronicity or something cosmic, and so before I could talk myself out of it, I signed up for Sandra’s online poetry workshop.  Eight weeks; eight poems.  Feedback on fledgling work (I’m thinking I will stick with prose poetry!) and I don’t even know the rules involved (meter? specific numbers of line? huh?).  It’s the same excited/nervous feeling I had before my first trial, before I entered childbirth for the first time and before my first marathon.

I’m doing something that has me utterly terrified, and I can’t wait to get started.




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