Poems and Experiences in Poetry
Revised 3 March 2014.
I grew up with a good deal of poetry. I’d say nursery rhymes were in the forefront with dozens of them known by heart, something that appears less common today. Mom, born in 1901, came from the days when children memorized more than now and knew many poems. Dad liked to read poetry aloud, especially poems like “Casey at the Bat” which we heard so often, we four children all learned it. In 1949, the edition of The Book of Knowledge that Dad bought for us featured a lot of poetry. “The Blind Men and the Elephant” by John Godfrey Saxe became one of my favorites. I soon loved to learn limericks and the poetry of Edward Lear. Of course, we were always surrounded with the poetry embedded in hymns and popular songs, even advertising jingles.
In school, we studied Longfellow’s Evangeline and Whittier’s Snow-Bound, both long poems that turned into projects. They were okay, but not as enjoyable as the many poems of Edgar Allan Poe, likely the first book of adult poetry I owned. We studied a Shakespeare play every year – Merchant of Venice, Julius Caesar, Macbeth – without recognizing they were poetry. Before, I left for college I spent that summer with Thus Spake Zarathustra which I took as poetry and began thereby to see the Psalms and Isaiah as poetry books. A friend introduced me to Dylan Thomas and I was hooked. In college I started writing poetry on my own, mostly of teenage romantic angst.
After college, career and family interrupted poetry writing. But in the eighties, I got back to it. I have participated in several poetry contests and made other submissions over the years. In the years, I coordinated the Minnesota Book Awards, 1989-1999, I became acquainted with several local poets. And in April of 2007, Beverly Voldseth and I began meeting to read aloud the poems in monthly issues of Poetry magazine.
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and some of my poems, posted on Crystalline Witness, searchable individually by the following titles.
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