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Earlier today I attended a poetry reading at an independent bookstore a few miles south of where I live. A former instructor of mine, Florence Nash, along with two other female poets read from their chapbooks. Throughout the readings, I drifted on the words, phrases, rhythms, twists, poignancy, humor and surprise endings.

I took Ms. Nash’s poetry class after I had heard a speaker at a conference say he assigns students enrolled in his Creative Writing course to write poetry in order to develop creativity, an ear for cadence of a phrase and ability to make every word count.

I loved the poetry class. But I found I struggled with writing poetry even more than I struggled with writing prose. Besides, the amount of time I devoted to writing poetry eclipsed the time I spent on my creative non-fiction projects. I had to make a choice and chose to concentrate on finishing my non-fiction book. I suppose I’m a one-skill person.

However, reading poetry out loud helps me appreciate the beauty of language and hopefully makes me a better writer.

I did complete one poem that I liked, a pantoum,  (see below) in Ms. Nash’s class. I sent it off to a contest. It was rejected. Not much difference with the results of my prose submissions. Oh well.

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GRANDMA

Pasta and beans and basil soup

Soothing the cold rainy day.

Memories drift in the steam from the mug

Washing the years away.

Soothing the cold rainy day,

She cooks in the morning hour

Washing the years away.

Her gnarled hands crusted with flour.

She cooks in the morning hour,

And gives me a garlicky kiss.

Her gnarled hands crusted with flour.

It’s the warmth of her love that I miss.

She gives me a garlicky kiss.

Stirs the pot on the black iron stove.

It’s the warmth of her love that I miss.

Pasta and beans and basil soup.

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