Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Essay on Spring

What's a poetry blog without poetry? Here's something I've been working on today, sans punctuation because that's always the last thing. Enjoy,


Almost always first the pear tree
Smelling like some stray dog you found on the side of the road
Starved but looking good, good, all white
And bobbing in a sea of new green
Then Daffodils, what you call Easter flowers
Clusters of Tiger Lily reeds
And the strange, familiar smell of warm growing things
Like cowshit, the effluvia of straw and wild onions
On the first day of sun
Real sun that melts like butter on your face
And days of rain too, with wind scattering the water
Across your neck almost like the salt spray of the ocean
And the tiny hairs sticking up for a moment
Just long enough for you to remember
The morning walk down the long hallway
Slouched a bit to hold your son's hand
Rows and rows of artwork covering the walls
Tiny handprints on colored construction paper
And in each classroom
Tucking a length of hair behind her ear
The teacher turns and bends among the children
The miniature tables and chairs
In the closest room, voices begin to sing
Good morning, good morning, good morning to you
The day is beginning, there's so much to do

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Readings and Captives

In a word, Kathleen's reading from Seed Across Snow was wonderful. I only wish it had been longer! Her long poem, "Overture," which she jokingly called the trailer for her book, captivated me as her poems (and her voice) do, especially the image (I almost wrote "scene;"it really was cinematic) of the stricken neighbor and the fluttering red envelopes. So beautiful. I tried to get a copy, but the bookstore closed right after the reading, much to my dismay. So I have ordered it from Village Lights, our new independent bookstore in town. Expect more commentary on Driskell's poems soon.

In other news, I had a reading of my own Tuesday. It will be a good story for the Humble Beginnings file. It was supposed to be a "poetry in the round" affair-- one other poet showed up, and the bookstore owner and my two month old daughter, Esphyr, were our audience. But this is not a complaint! Nita West and I read back and forth to each other and had a blast. Time flew! She has promised to send me an offering for the blog, so you can look forward to that as well.

I have another solo (gulp!) reading tonight, also at That Book Place (that's really its name) at 6pm. My parents will be there, if nothing else.

As for my little captive heroine poem, it is still nascent, alas. But growing. As are all living things that have been so long dormant. Get outside! Enjoy.


Saturday, March 14, 2009


In my last post, I mentioned some upcoming readings. One of these took place at the Kentucky Philological Association Conference (KPA) a couple weeks ago.

I could complain about how poorly my own reading went; but I'd rather take this opportunity to remember the poets whose work was so astounding.

Don Boes, author of The Eighth Continent

Gregory Hagan, editor of Gadfly, read a hilarious poem entitled "Why I Cross-dress"

Mari Stanley, an old friend and fellow Spalding graduate, whose poem "Marooned" can be found at Garbanzo!

Kelly Moffett, author of Waiting for a Warm Body to Fill It

Donelle Dreese, author of A Wild Turn

Nettie Farris, lecturer in the Depart of English at University of Louisville

Charles Daughaday, editor of Tales from the Plum Grove Hills (Jesse Stuart)

Thanks for sharing your work. I really enjoyed everyone's selections.

-Matthew Vetter

P.S. In other news, Spring Break! and (almost) Spring-like weather conditions.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Writer Who Doesn't Write

Since Matt opened the door, I thought I'd make a full confessional. I haven't been writing. I have actually done some research for the Sarah Mitchell poem. That's the girl who was captured by Native Americans/Indians, whichever you prefer. Now I am torn. I don't know whether to write something long and sprawling, like a ballad, which was my original intent, or taut and tense, like a sonnet or a small open verse poem. The painting that my cousin sent me is of course the latter, because, well, it's a painting, so it has to freeze time in a single moment. So if I'm working from that, then the small lyric makes more sense. And if I listen to Simonides, I should work from that: poetry is painting that speaks, painting is poetry that is silent. It's a useful test. I'm very interesting in the image of the blade. In the painting, a warrior stands over Mitchell's mother with his knife raised. I know from the historical accounts that she was scalped. So I'm going to sit with that frozen-moment image for a while.

A few things I am looking forward to: 1) Kathleen Driskell and Tori McClure's readings at Spalding next Tuesday. 2) A couple of readings of my own the following week here in town at That Book Place. Hopefully, some of the poets in Women. Period. will join me for at least one of those. Must get the word out. If you are reading this and your poem is in the book, email me.

Alright, I must go out and enjoy the sunshine. It's 75 degrees!

Happy days,