Poetry Club Talks…Margaret Atwood Part 1

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-7855w-fa9263

Topic: Margaret Atwood’s “Dearly”
Host: Ron
Poems: “Blizzard” and “Late Poems”
Recorded: February 6, 2021

“Blizzard” and “Late Poems”

Canadian artists lace the minds of Poetry Club this Saturday.  At the beginning of our discussion, we reflect briefly on the career of actor Christopher Plummer, who passed away the day before we met, on February 5th.
Then on the agenda, we begin a two-part series exploring the new poetry work of Margaret Atwood.  Ron is the host and shares this message: 
“Hello, poetry club types.  The attachment provides a dozen poems from Margaret Atwood’s recently published book, “Dearly.”  I have highlighted in bold half a dozen that might provide a focus for our discussion this coming Saturday.  It will be fine with me if we devote some time to all of them.”

“Margaret Eleanor Atwood, CC OOnt CH FRSC (born November 18, 1939) is a Canadian poet, novelist, literary critic, essayist, teacher, environmental activist, and inventor. Since 1961, she has published 18 books of poetry, 18 novels, 11 books of non-fiction, nine collections of short fiction, eight children’s books, and two graphic novels, as well as a number of small press editions of both poetry and fiction. Atwood has won numerous awards and honors for her writing, including the Booker Prize (twice), Arthur C. Clarke Award, Governor General’s Award, Franz Kafka Prize, Princess of Asturias Awards, and the National Book Critics and PEN Center USA Lifetime Achievement Awards.[2] A number of her works have been adapted for film and television.” -Wikipedia

91s4tSAkqcL.jpg

 

Please visit her site to purchase “Dearly” http://margaretatwood.ca/
All poems are copyright and owned by Margaret Atwood
sited: Atwood, Margaret. Dearly. McClelland & Stewart, 2020.

Drafts and Thoughts

Mary Oliver writes in her poem “Angels”,

“The whole business of what’s reality and what isn’t has never been solved and probably never will be. So I don’t care to be too definite about anything. I have a lot of edges called Perhaps and almost nothing you can call Certainty.”

Blue Horses: Poems, by Mary Oliver, Penguin Books, 2016.

With that being said, perhaps…

when gods make love, they create nebulas

that’s a lot of LOVE! Photo credit: https://www.skyimagelab.com/

Below are two poem drafts to share today. I’d love some feedback if you’re up for it.
I was in Village Books the other day and saw my book “Fallen” on the shelf. It came out in 2017, four years ago. Hmmmmm… If I were to guess, I think I have one more poetry book in me, possibly by 2022. I hope it is picked up and published traditionally, and I return to the open mic circuit to launch the book properly. My first two books were self-published, “Fallen” was my first traditionally published. Thank you Independent Writers Studio, of Bellingham, WA.
Self-publishing has its rewards, but I cannot emphasize enough the power of traveling the area with your book in hand, meeting your readers/followers, in person. I wonder, and am hesitant to declare, that a self-published book not advertised, given away to your family and friends only, is, generally speaking, a waste of paper. The written word has power. Why hide that potential under your bed? Share your work. Try it. You’ll like it.

1/16/21
It is a new year. I write the number and it feels the same as 2020
The new-yearness will not appear until the end of February
after a late Northwest snow
The old year, the previous skin, will hang on a bit and fog my eyes
My hand refused to write a “1”
IT IS TIME
pun intended to tell me
it is time
The styles do not change, technology crawls
very few items in my home could tell me what decade I’m in
if I had the gift to slip about time

If you take a person from 1880 and place them in 1980
The 1980s would appear to be a different world entirely
But take a person from 1998 to 2021…not too many changes
All the advancements and we simply have smaller, thinner phones
Did anyone ask for a smaller phone?
We die of cancer, disease, starvation, and war
To answer the call, our technicians and scientists
developed a Fitbit and placed TV in our pockets
to track our racing heartbeats while watching the news

WARM WINTER
The leaves scratch the air
as the frozen drops of winter tap my window
in the middle of the night
they want in
to take over my home
return it back to soil
I am sure of it
The potted plants by the glass
seduce the storm
arms beg it to set them free
while a drizzle of rooftop runoff
piddles down a leaking drain pipe
Even a worm comes out to comment
on the weather war
High and humble
worn and cold
the snow shovel
stands at attention
in a dark corner
ready to fight

#

Memes of my feels today. Thank you for your visit.
Stay safe. Stay healthy. Keep writing. -Shannon

##

Day 305: Tattoo

On March 24th the governor of Washington State declared the “Stay Home. Stay Healthy” mandate. Here we are over 300 days later, fatigued, depressed, foggy, frustrated…and now hopeful. Hopeful that the pandemic will end this year, and America can get back to work. The second half of 2020 I began to read the daily “briefings” of American Historian Heather Cox Richardson. Her writings have helped me to place events into a perspective I would not have been able to do so on my own. It’s helped me, might help you, the link is at the bottom of the page.

John Oliver also makes me smile. I like his analogy of last week feeling like a person finishing a marathon, after breaking the ribbon and about to celebrate an official comes up, shakes your hand, and says, “Did you know that one million dogs are euthanized in shelters every day?” Just give us ONE DAY to feel the relief. PLEASE, just one day for those that survived the four year attack on America by Americans, can we have ONE day of hope?

Outside of politics I’ve been thinking about an old friend that passed away a few years ago. Jim joked about being a curmudgeon, but he really was a good-tempered easy-going old guy who had a divine level of dad jokes at the ready. There was an absence of family men in my upbringing. Mostly appeared as unreachable, or two dimensional. Grandpas lived in other states, my father had sleeping fits, and my uncles were loud, swearing, sons of bitches that belched loudly and with great showmanship at the Thanksgiving table upsetting the aunties.
Life has a beautiful way of balancing itself. If you are missing a family relationship, say a sister, parent, or, heck, a whole family, somehow life brings you a family. I do not know how it does it, but it is so welcomed. Jim was welcomed into my life as an adopted grandpa. We met at a poetry open mic. Here is the one photo I have of us, taken at his first book launch.

2015, at Village Books, Fairhaven

He supported my work, greeted me with a smile, asked me what I was up to in my writing world, shared with me what he was marveling at that day. A wonderful gentleman. I believe it would be egotistical of me to think I was special to him because he treated everyone this way. All people and everything about this world were special to him. He passed “into the cosmos” in October 2019. I do not know how much support I gave him, but he helped me more than I was able to ever share or express to him.

My poem “Leaf Tattoo” was one of his favorites. Often when I see a leaf tattoo or now, the little buds of a new leaf on the branches, I am reminded of his kindness. I’m thankful for people like Jim. I’m glad he appeared in my life, and for other “adopted” family that visited, albeit, only for a short time. They are true treasures.

Leaf Tattoo
You can you feel it
In my city
The change of air
as wind folds in
fall’s weather.

Orange leaves appear on
the sidewalks of Holly Street.
No worms to dance them back to soil.

Cement laden, laid on
the roadside in random patterns leave
a tattoo, imprinted on the stone.
Five pointed stars
a tree hand
pressed by feet and rain
bleed orange ink for all to see.

By winter the marks wash away
By spring, bright green babies wave
at us from their mother’s arm
borne back into our memory.

Photo by Sarah Mae, Seattle, WA, on Unsplash

_______________________________________

https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/

To The Right

In America, we drive on the right side of the road.  Also, people here generally walk on the right side of the sidewalk, busy hiking trails, even grocery store isles. When I walk along the trails around a nearby lake, I keep to the right side of the path.  If I have the trail to myself, I walk right down the middle as if I owned the place.

What is your neighborhood like during the pandemic? Where I am I have noticed giving another pedestrian 6 feet is seen as a courtesy; in the grocery store, offices, parks, etc., keeping your distance is a sign of good manners. It is awkward or rude if a person stands too close to another. Feathers get ruffled.

Earlier this year, before the snowpack in the mountains could build and the rains of the Northwest La Nina winter began, Padden Gorge Trail was dry and quiet. The creek was all but dried up. The cold air chased away many birds and I experienced the eerie sensation of standing in a silent forest.

To The Right
second draft

The woods are quiet today
I do not hear the rustle of a bird
no wind playing at the leaves
no foraging of a rodent
or the panting of a dog
Padden Creek is down to its
late summer trickle
Everything is off

My ears reach for the sound of people
at the lake trail on end with mine
I hear no one
I haven’t been sleeping lately
For a moment I am dream walking
zombified in this quiet wood
with no direction, no purpose
No others to use as a reference
or provide a sense of direction
No validation of movement
or placement

I walk down the canyon trail in silence.
surrounded by silence

Then–they find me
The crunching roar of off-road bike tires
approach me from behind
I move to the right
The joggers with focused steps
and controlled pants
I move to the right
Two dogs and two owners
come at me head-on
I move to the right
Facedown each time to make sure
my breath does not mix with theirs
Behind me I hear the steps of another walker
I move to the right
I’m a slow walker compared to others
I know this walker will pass me
I wait
no walker
Then turn to look
No one

There are two places on these trails
where the sound tricks the ear
My own steps sound like another
getting ready to pass
but it is just me
and my steps
echoing off the walls
of the thick forest

How nice of me to give the same
courtesy I give others
unknowingly
yet, still as sweet

A Noisey Padden Creek

Feature Photo by Juliane Liebermann on Unsplash

Poetry Club Talks…Composition Styles Part 2

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-ni3cd-f5a847

Topic: Composition Methods
Host: Ron Leatherbarrow
Poems: “Fold Your Wings”
Recorded: December 12, 2020

Three of us volunteered to share poems and talk about our composition methods.  In part two, Amory discusses her writing style and brings a sample of her work “Fold Your Wings” (below).  She shares how she’ll often work the piece in her mind for days before sitting at her computer. As Ron says, “You don’t know how GD lucky you are tonight to be hearing this!” Grab a cup of something warm and join us.

Fold Your Wings PDF

Photo by Amador Loureiro on Unsplash

Copyright ©Poetry Club ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This blog contains material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No part of this blog may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without express written permission from the author/publisher.

Poetry Club Talks…Composition Styles Part 1

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-t2yin-f58795

Topic: Composition Methods
Host: Ron Leatherbarrow
Poems: “Gratitude”, “His Hat”
Recorded: December 12, 2020

Three of us volunteered to share poems and talk about our composition methods.  First up is Linda who shares two poems “Gratitude” and “His Hat” (below). She talks about that moment during the construction of a poem when a spark hits, why it’s difficult for her to “scrap” a poem midway, and more.

Gratitude, His Hat

Copyright ©Poetry Club ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This blog contains material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No part of this blog may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without express written permission from the author/publisher.

Poetry Club Talks…Louise Gluck Pt1

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-4gjpa-f354f8

Topic: Louise Gluck
Host: Linda and Amory
Poems: “New World” and “Matins”
Recorded: November 21, 2020

Our first two-parter!
When Louise Gluck won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2020, the NYT recognized that many were unfamiliar with her work. One of their writers posted five poems, from five different collections, to introduce her. Linda shares a brief Gluck bio and Amory introduces two poems.
In Part 2 Poetry Club discusses Gluck’s poem “Parable of the Hostages”

 

TY TAEM!

I’m very excited to have a small collection of my poems published in The Abstract Elephant Magazine this month. It’s such a beautiful magazine with an ideal mission. Please visit it sometime soon.

The Abstract Elephant Magazine is an interdisciplinary, digital publication dedicated to understanding the issues of the human condition through the arts, the sciences, and philosophy. This magazine began with the intention to create a space for comparative endeavors and interdisciplinary research since our basic belief is that improvement in the human condition takes place in open dialogue and debate.”

Check out my work here: https://abstractelephant.com/2020/11/23/before-after-poems-quarantine-covid-19-shannon-laws/

Thank you!

Photo by Tim Oun on Unsplash

Poem: The 27th Day

too funny!

The 27th Day
Most of the evil in this world is done by people with good intentions.
-T.S. Eliot

Getting out of my car today I noticed a bee.
A large and fuzzy bumblebee slowly moving its legs
on the parking lot blacktop of my apartment building.

I saw a video once where a person found a honey bee in distress
gave it a little sugar water and it flew away happy.
I thought I would do the same for this fellow-creature.

I raced inside, grabbed a small bowl, and quickly concocted
a love potion of room temperature filtered water
with a pinch of raw, all-natural sugar into the bowl

Without saying a word I stepped up along its side, my feet
ten times its length, my silence like the voice of God shaking
mountains into the sea. A front bee-leg lifted up in proclamation-

STOP! Do not step on me!

I gave it a little at first, pouring my potion near its mouth, then watched
and waited. I looked for movement in the folded cellophane blanketed atop
the black and yellow body. A black thin tongue darted in and out of the puddle.

The rescue a success, I went inside and continued with my evening.
I was quiet about my good deed. The next day I saw it. Flattened. In line with a neighbor’s back tire. Inches from the stain of the dried sweetened water.

The bee did not fly away in search of flowers to bounce on. It did not sleep as I slept, with lighter shoulders knowing everything was reconciled between bee and human. What did I do wrong?

Perhaps it was evil to intervene. Perhaps I poured sugar water onto the ground to restored life, perhaps I gave a dying bee its last drink.

My Walk

This evening I went out for a walk. I walked four blocks in one direction turned right two blocks then came back to my home. It was colder than I was dressed for. Winter is coming.
I’m quietly thankful this evening. It is unexplainable. The Dalai Lama said, “Do not let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace.” Some days it is easier to defend the inner peace layer than others.
I’m wondering when during a casual conversation three American friends will look at each other and say something like, “Remember when everyone had to wear masks?”

Thank you for visiting my site. Please stay safe. Take care-
Shannon

Thank You Red Wheelbarrow

So many songs begging Ruth Bader Ginsburg to “hang on” until there is another democrat in the white house.  This one caught my attention.  SNL 2019. 


Thank you Red Wheelbarrow writers for accepting my poem, “Day 53”, for publication in This Uncommon Solitude your upcoming anthology of pandemic poetry.

“We are honored to showcase and share your powerful and poignant words during this unsettling time of crisis.”

 

Day 53
By Shannon Laws

If the world were normal now,
as it may never be again,
I might enjoy the morning.
This morning where I woke,
at 8:37 a.m., ate breakfast
drank coffee in bed, started writing,
and still under the sheets at 11:36.

If this was, let’s say, Friday, September 20, 2019,
I would not label this morning a case of pandemic fatigue,
no—it would be relaxation.

It is what the pre-pandemic modern world
used to refer as a “personal day.”
(remember personal days?)
I could find joy in working at home if all
my neighbors got into their cars and
drove to work this morning!
THEN today would be a special day for me.
But, it is not.

It is day 53 of the lockdown, and there is nothing
but the heavy responsibility of
staying home and
saving lives.

Photo by Wilhelm Gunkel
Photo by Wilhelm Gunkel

 


https://www.history.com/news/ruth-bader-ginsburgs-landmark-opinions-womens-rights-supreme-court

Jury Duty for women as a right-
In 1979, Ginsburg argued Duren v. Missouri, a case in which a Missouri man accused of murder argued he couldn’t get a fair trial because of a law that made jury service optional for women. She told the court that such exemptions didn’t just make the jury pool unfair; it devalued women’s contributions to juries.

Equal pay regardless of sex-
In her 2007 dissent, which she read from the bench (a rare move for any justice), she argued that the Civil Rights Act’s 180-day time limit shouldn’t apply in the case of discriminatory pay since gender-based discrimination can happen gradually. “A worker knows immediately if she is denied a promotion or transfer,” said Ginsburg. “Compensation disparities, in contrast, are often hidden from sight.”