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Poem It Out Classroom

Filtering by Tag: interview

week 4: interview with martha mccartney

liz lamoreux

I am so excited to share this next interview with you. My friend Martha McCartney is a warrior with the pen. Her sense of humor and laughter are just two things that draw you to her when you meet her. And then, if you are lucky, she will read you one of her poems. 


1) How has poetry saved you?

A nonchoronological autobiography of the ways poetry has saved my life:

  • After my Mother’s death I discovered a cassette tape of her reading favorite poetry in her southern- accented voice – The Raggedy Man by James Whitcomb Riley was included.
  • In 7th grade my high school English teacher handed me a copy of Trout Fishing in America by Richard Brautigan (under the table and in silent rebellious partnership) - here is poem that I will write ….
  • Qhen I was four my Mother read Through the Looking Glass (Lewis Carroll) to me.
  • When I was twelve I discovered Alone by Edgar Allen Poe (I had a manifesto!)
  • In high school I read eecummings and abandoned rhyming.
  • Richard Brautigan stole my words in college and I only wrote like him.
  • My father recited poetry to me from the day I was born.
  • My high school newspaper printed my poetry (usually about racial inequality).
  • I represented my college at an event in our state capitol and read poetry and short fiction.
  • My first submission was accepted for publication in a journal at a particularly low point.
  • I finally left circumstances that stifled me for 18 years, the town that had silenced me for 50 years, in order to pursue my dream of writing.
  • My Mother read poetry and sang to me every night since infancy.
  • My first love was a poet and a writer and has inspired and supported my growth.
  • Every English teacher I ever had held me up as star and encouraged me. They were really good ones, one was a future poet laureate of our state.
  • I read The Idylls of the King and In Memoriam by Tennyson (yes, entirely) when I was in the seventh grade.
  • I recorded my father reading poetry when he was 92, the year before his death.
  • On my 17th birthday my boyfriend gave me The Pill versus the Springhill Mill Disaster by Richard Brautigan inscribed with the most beautiful words in French (so my mother could not read them) and I have loved him forever (my boyfriend and Richard Brautigan).
  • I write words every day.
  • I memorized the The Lady of Shallot by Tennyson. for fun.
  • A couple of weeks after my father died, my dear friend's mother, from her bed as she neared death herself, recited Little Orphan Annie by James Whitcomb Riley – this was a favorite of hers and of my parents. It was a blessing.
  • I wrote my first poem in second grade, with pencil, before I had learned cursive, and it had meter and rhyme.
  • If I could only read one poem for the rest of my life it would be William Wordsworth’s, Intimations of Immortality.

I feast upon poetry – it is my blood – my heart – my soul –my prayer- my salvation – my refuge.

2) Who are the poets and poems you turn to again and again?

Rainer Maria Rilke is perhaps my most often read and returned to, he speaks to me in such a profound way. There are two poems by him that have remodeled my life….The Archaic Torso of Apollo and Going Blind… I feel his words go right into my heart. In addition to him, almost all the Victorian poets, Wordsworth, Rossetti, Matthew Arnold, and then I have to skip forward to Yeats and Dylan Thomas. I read it all. 

3) A line of poetry you would tattoo on yourself...

I am so not a tattoo person that I cannot even imagine. And it would be too hard to decide. I am sure I have words already etched into my heart. 

4) Will you share some words about your haiku practice?

I have developed a practice that, when I think back on it, has been evolving for years. In just the past couple years I began taking a small notebook with me on my daily walks and would find a place to sit and gather words or short phrases. I would start by writing the date on the top right corner of the page and then would write things that entered into my senses from that date and time. Words like yellow violets, spring green grass, robins calling, and sycamore bark would end up in my notebook and later I would use those words in poetry.

This practice, this meditation, has now become a haiku practice. Every morning I either take a walk or just sit outside for a while. Then I gather images in a notebook that I use just for haiku. I begin once more with the date and I try to write about ten. There is seldom what I would call a “good” haiku but it is a philosophy more than a poetic form and people practice it for years before becoming comfortable and skilled. There is a philosophy called the “haiku mind” and the way that I like to think of it is- if you would imagine that your mind is a still body of water and everything else is the sky. You write what is reflected on the water, with no judgments, no opinions, assigning no emotions to the images, just reflect. There are volumes and volumes written about the haiku form, how it originated as a group activity and its practices and uses. Currently, the haiku as most people refer to it is a three line poem; the strictest rules say that it is seventeen syllables, with the lines made up of five, seven, five syllables. At first I followed this formula, then I didn’t – sometimes the punctuation counts as a syllable as it is essentially a pause, depending on what punctuation you use. I often go back to the five seven five rule because it is becomes more of a physical meditation for me by counting out the syllables on my fingers. Even though a haiku does not have to be seventeen syllables, it does traditionally have to be three lines and reflective of nature and the seasons to be considered truly haiku. In my morning haiku practice I often pick a first line and then just use the same line for all the ones I write or for about half of them and then switch to another first line. Here are a couple of mine for examples…

(using the five seven five –)

April night full moon

bright as day, casting shadows

from such vast distance.


Early morning light

grass tips starred with dewy gems

a diamond carpet


(and one that I like that does not use the formula but it is still considered haiku-)

Creamy swirls

in my coffee –

February clouds.

(in this one I used the line that would typically be the first line as the last)

You can read more on my blog www.lilliesavage.com. If you want to explore more about the philosophy of haiku I would recommend the book Seeds from the Birch Tree by Clark Strand.

I am hopeful that after about twenty more years of practice I will write a couple good ones but for now I find it a helpful exercise that brings me back to the place where I am, helps me start my day, bless my day and all that is around me, honors my surroundings and centers me to begin other writing. 

5) Would you like to share a poem of your own?

Now you ask if I would like to share a poem of my own and I think I have used up a lot of time and space and been a bit wordy – but hey – that is what I do – I am wordy …so I would say “ just one ??? hmmmm…..let me pick ….okay… 

First October Without My Father

The Autumn smells of

dark damp earth

like potatoes kept in cellars beneath houses

or apples stored for Christmas pies,

chrysanthemums that seem to open the pores,

expand the air,

the fragrance of late season roses,

and during a walk in the woods,

embraced by the smell of cedars,

I turn my head and recognize the scent of my father,

caught in the denim jacket

that I borrowed to shield myself

from this  Fall rain.

6) Any other words you would like to share?

In closing, I would just add that poetry is a lifetime of doing, being open, listening to what is outside and what is inside and putting it down into the best words we know and it is wonderful to know that there are other people on this planet who love it and value its gift.


A little about Martha: I am a woman on a mission. I am living in the Pacific Northwest after leaving everyone and everything I had known in an attempt to change the course of my life and so I am the true example of poetry being a life line. Most recently I have had the privilege of having classes with David Wagoner, Tess Gallagher, Storme Webber, Nancy Rawles, Kim Stafford, Bill Mawhinney, Christine Hemp and Susan Woolridge and my quest for writing continues with intense learning and daily practice. Kim Stafford said that there are lots of good ideas but we have to be intensely awake and aware and poised to receive them or they will just go on to some one else. I am here, poised with my hand above the page. ready . open. receiving. Visit her blog Lillie Savage.

week 3: interview with amanda oaks

liz lamoreux

Settle in with a cup of tea and sink into this lovely interview with the delight.full Amanda Oaks. She is a superhero of mine as she gives others (and herself) a beautiful platform to share their stories at Kind Over Matter and Words Dance. Be sure to take time to watch her spoken word videos that I link to at the end of the interview.


To get the truth, you want to get your own heart to pound while you write.
- Robert McKee

1) How has poetry saved you?

I started writing poetry in middle school, in the 7th grade. There was a girl that moved into our school district who I became friends with, her name was Nikki.

She was terrifically prolific & when she became comfortable, she shared her words with all of us.

They were mostly poems about love & heartbreak in ABCB format, hundreds of them, love & heartbreak at a 7th grade level but nonetheless I was hooked, on both the reading & the writing of.

A few of us would pass our poems around within our group of friends, typing them & then printing them out on dot matrix printers, they were who we were.

They were our stories.

Throughout high school, I lost interest in writing for a bit, but just after graduating I dove back into it, full force, never looking back.

Among some of my favorite memories include living alone, coming home from work or school, sitting in the middle of my bedroom in my attic apartment on the hardwood floor in a tank top & skivvies & tip-tapping poetry out on a old typewriter.  Fully enthralled in Beat Lit.  Wine glass at arm's reach, of course.

Since then, I've been published online & in print, I've have met so many incredible poets. Small press poets. The underground greats.  Who I deeply admire. Who are my dear, dear friends. Blessed.

But what stands out among all of that, all of it… is how poetry was so much a lifeline through the darkest times of my life. It was my light. It was the way I expressed myself. It was the words I couldn't say, no longer stuck in my throat. It was emotions laid bare in front of me, quivering. It was how I dove deep into the hurt & swam up from the bottom with insight. It was the there for me through unrequited love, through abuse, through the death of my grandparents, through the transition into mamahood, navigating the waters of wild & new love. It's been the most sweetest release for me. I always leave poetry, either after writing or reading, feeling on fire & free.

2) Who are the poets and poems you turn to again and again?

There are the well-known poets that I adore, that have been there for me over the years: Sharon Olds, Dorothy Parker, Diane Di'Prima, Pablo Neruda, the Beats, Mary Oliver, Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Charles Bukowski, David Whyte, Sarah Key… oh there's so many.

But the poets in my small press community, especially the women, they blow me away, I'd love to share a few of them & a piece by each of them.

Tammy Foster Brewer : There Are No Instructions for This
Jessica Dawson : Just Add Oxygen
Rebecca Schumejda : A Row for Sinners
John Dorsey : even outlaws get the blues : John is a dear friend, he wrote this poem for me.
David Smith : This Heart 

3) A line of poetry you would tattoo on yourself...

That's a really tough question. There are so many lines that have shook me to my core…

I've stated several times that I was going to get this entire poem tattooed - right-inner-thigh : all hooves and diligence by Miriam Matzeder

If I only had to choose one line from the poem, I'd probably modify it a little so it read:

no matter my stillness, i am always awake with loving you

4) Would you like to share a poem of your own?

Nan's Farm : Amanda : Circa 1985

we’re on our own out here | Amanda Oaks

late summer, pickin’ peas, 
cornfield just feet away i would 
tiptoe with the words of warning 
looped ‘round every strand of 
my hair, when wearing pigtails, 
all those locks acting together 
could be thunderous but i would 
plug my ears & run in any one 
direction until my lungs felt like 
the tires of that far-off tractor who
i overheard many’a times was
plotting my death

out there though, i witnessed the 
wind unearth harmony, the way 
the stalks would touch, sliding 
against one another hissing 
like plastic bags clothespinned 
to a wire & dangling from the 
mouth of a paper-winged crow, 
i found safety in the squeeze stuck 
between clear-cut emotion, there’s 
something in there that you can’t 
close your ears to, like barn rats 
or the secrets i found in the laughter 
of ghost children jumping from 
rock to stone in the creek bed 
behind my house

standing still, before walking in
silence all the way back to the 
alarm in my grandmother’s 
voice, looking up to the clouds 
for a way out, twenty years later 
& i still have yet to find it 
outside of these 


© amanda oaks

5) Any other words about poetry?

This poem is by the now late Todd Moore, his poetry has a very unique style, all his own & often noir, I adore it -- he sums up writing poetry better than I ever could, the way it makes you feel when you & poetry dance together:



let the words
fall in love w/you
they will circle
you like a pack of
wolves around a 
still warm steer
then let them
close in the heat
makes a long curl
of smoke rise off
the letters & seep
into the skin next
let the smoke invade
yr blood once inside
it will turn into
voices that roar
down the veins
suddenly the poem
will be dancing you
& the wind will stop
blowing & the clouds
will hold still &
the waves will stop
forming and nothing
will burn you while
the lines are all
flying & suddenly
in that flash of
light not even death
will be able to
say yr name

6) Something extra: Explore Amanda's spoken word videos here:

where are you my wild women -- http://vimeo.com/17986419
sunday worship : bending like photographs  -- http://vimeo.com/20875758



Hi, I'm Amanda Oaks, curator of connection & provisioner of benevolent beauty at Words Dance. Mama. Lover. Poet. Multi-Passionate Solopreneur. Kindness Advocate. I love laughing more than most anything.

If you are interested in checking out my poetry-type creative offerings, I have a book of spicy love poems called, Cohabitation.

week 2: an interview with michelle ensminger

liz lamoreux

Sit back and marinate in the goodness that is this interview with Michelle Ensminger. When I started blogging almost seven years ago, Michelle was one of the first bloggers I really connected with because she shared so much of herself on the page and invited me to know I was not alone in my desire to write the truth out of me. So delighted to share her words about poetry today. 


Question 1: How is poetry a lifeline for you? 

One of my favorite quotes is from Frederick Buechner: “Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.”

Poetry is a lifeline for me because it is what helps me hold the beautiful and the terrible things. It’s through writing poetry that I touch the joy and the pain. Poetry grounds me. It gives me back to myself over and over again. Poetry is the way I hold the questions I’m called to live and the truth buried within me. It’s through poetry that I find my voice and my courage. Poetry helps me become more fear-less.  

I started writing poetry in my mid-twenties. Before that I had a love-hate relationship with the art. I loved the idea of poetry, the beauty of the language, how it could be both elegant and raw, how it embodied tenderness and power. But I never felt that poetry was for me. It was something I ached for but couldn’t understand. It was foreign and illusive and a temptress of sorts. The idea that poetry didn’t belong to me was fostered in part by the way poetry was taught in school. The focus was always on interpreting the poem. I was never taught to “feel” a poem. I was never taught to breathe it in, to let the words touch my skin, to let the poem be a part of me.

I started writing poetry during a very turbulent time in my life. I’d recently divorced and shortly afterwards I began a very personal spiritual journey that would shake the foundation of everything I was raised to believe. To navigate through this emotional time of my life, I started writing and reading poetry. During this time poetry became my prayer, my meditation, my practice of mindfulness, a way to save myself when nothing else could.

Poetry remains an integral way in which I find my bearings in the world. It’s through poetry that I become more alive and aware of myself and my place in the world. When I write poetry I am in essence saying I am here. I am alive. I am full. I have so much to give, and I begin with this word…and then this one…and now this one. It is the way I connect to and better understand myself as an individual and as a wave in the great sea of humanity. It is how I give meaning to life’s experiences and the ordinary moments of my day. I use poetry to gently nudge the whispers of my heart into a tangible form of expression. I use it as a reminder of the interconnectedness of all humanity and my oneness with others. I use it to search for and look into the face of the divine in all its sacred and unexpected forms.  

Question 2: Who are the poets and poems you turn to again and again? 

Mary Oliver will always top my list of favorite poets. Her poem The Journey was the first poem that made me feel that poetry was accessible—it wasn’t something others read and understood but not me. Poetry was me. It contained my life and my stories. Finding the right poem and the right poet is all it takes to fall head-over-heels for poetry. I admire Ms. Oliver’s deep connection to nature and the life lessons she gleans while walking among the world, paying attention to nature’s details, and allowing herself to become one with life. There is a deeply spiritual element evident in her poetry that I relate to. Perhaps it’s my own longing to find god in all of life, including a simple poem. You can find several of her poems at the Poetry Foundation website.

Other favorites include:

Sharon Olds—She writes with a courage and honesty that is breathtaking (and a little intimidating). Nothing is off limits to her. Sex, abuse, betrayal, motherhood, divorce. She has taught me that every life experience has a poem hidden in it. And it doesn’t have to be pretty. In fact, sometimes it’s not. Sometimes it’s bruised and broken and shows up at your door with a bloody nose. It’s the honesty of the moment, and who we are in that moment, that demands to be written. And that is something sacred and holy; messy and raw; powerful and liberating. You can find several of her poems at poetry.org.

Li Young-Lee—Liz introduced me to this poet several years ago when she posted his poem Persimmons on her blog. The way he plays with words is intoxicating. Because he makes writing poetry seem like play, it’s easy to be taken off guard by the power of his writing. It sneaks up on you when you’re not paying attention. Before you know it you’re left breathless.

Pablo Neruda—Neruda puts the sexy into poetry. He has a way with words that leaves me a little weak in the knees. I turn to Neruda when I need good strong poetry, the “shot of espresso” kind of poetry that demands you wake up to life. I recently read The Dreamer with my 8-year-old son. It’s the story of how a shy, introverted young man by the name of Neftali Reyes became the poet we know as Neruda. Neruda is a great example of how our life experiences inform our art, our words, our poetry. The poetry is always right there. It’s in us and our experiences.

David Whyte—He is another poet whose spiritual undertones really appeal to me. Reading David Whyte is like going to church on Sunday morning. It’s like reading a sacred text or sitting with the Buddha under the Bodhi tree. He finds the holy pieces of life, which is what I feel I’m always searching for. You can find a selection of his poems at his website.

Naomi Shihab Nye—She is a Palestinian-American poet who lives in San Antonio, TX. Being a native Texan, I can strongly relate to the images and storylines of many of her poems. I know the roads she speaks of. I’ve driven them. I too have let the sweet juice of Fredericksburg peaches drip down my arms. I’ve walked along the river in San Antonio. I know the tress, the never-ending sky, and fierce heat of the Texas sun. She even has a poem titled Portales, NM (the town where I was born). There is something to say for poets who bring you home (literally). When you know the images they use because you live in those images, there is a connection that is very different from a figurative or symbolic knowing. The words become very real to you because you have sensed them. You know the taste, the smell, the way the air hangs in the evening light. The Poetry Foundation website includes a selection of her poems.  

Billy Collins—His poetry is anchored in the everydayness of life. Because he approaches poetry from this standpoint, he’s a great poet for anyone new to poetry. He writes about topics that seem ordinary and mundane, infusing them with wit and keen insight. The result can be quite human and quite profound. You can find more about Billy Collins at billycollins.com and through the Poetry 180 website. He is also on TED and is the only poet I know of who has an app

Sarah Key—She epitomizes the power of spoken-word poetry. The way she has mastered the rhythm and flow of spoken poetry is mesmerizing and moving. You can find two examples on TED: If I should have a daughter and How many lives can you live?

For the past couple of years I have been experimenting with new-to-me poets. When a poet I’ve never heard of before crosses my radar, I purchase one of his/her books and explore their work. It’s been a hit-and-miss experience. There are times the new-to-me poet’s words speak deeply to me and I feel as if I’ve discovered a new friend (Vera Pavlova, Kay Ryan, Jack Gilbert, Kim Addonizio). Other times it just isn’t a good fit. That’s the great thing about poetry: there’s something for everyone.  I never regret exploring a new voice and a new style of poetry. I’m currently losing myself in the works of Tracy K. Smith and M.A. Vizsolyi

Question 3: Is there a line of poetry you would tattoo on yourself?

On my left foot I have tattooed the words “Live your poetry” (in French). I settled for this because I have far too many favorite lines of poetry to choose just one.

Question 4: Would you like to share a poem of your own?

What I’d like to share is not a polished poem but a glimpse into how I approach my daily writing practice.

After I sit down with my pen and notebook, I always take several deep breaths to ground myself. I will sit in the silence until I feel like I have become a greater part of the moment. Once I begin to sense that shift into presence, I’ll set the timer on my cell phone for 5-7 minutes. I tend to limit my writing to these short increments because it seems more doable and less overwhelming. I know once the timer sounds I can always write longer if I choose to.

I usually always start with some kind of prompt. Two of my favorites are: Today… and Sometimes… Today and sometimes are two small words that once they are on the page, encourage other words to follow.

Then, I just start writing. I trust the words. I trust my body. I breathe. I try not to force anything. I try to feel, to settle into the flow. I try to sit with the moment and listen with my whole self for what needs and longs to be said. If I get stuck on a word, I try to make myself let go and move on. Sometimes that’s not easy, especially when I know I’m not finding the exact word I want. I tell myself that I can always come back and explore the word further. I do this because I don’t want to get hung up early in the process. That kind of perfectionism can easily shut me down. I want to use my writing time as fully as possible which means I have to let go and trust the process of getting words onto the page.

The result of my writing time might be something similar to what follows:

Sometimes the frayed edges of morning
Come unraveled in her hand. One gentle pull
And the clouds ribbon to a puddle of silver at her feet.
The blue sky parts, framing the dark between the stars.
Sometimes the day scrawls her name in the margins
Of its longing. She wraps the sky around bare shoulders.
Wears it like a cheap scarf purchased
At a Five & Dime. One bird roosts on her collarbone,
Another circles her waist searching for its mate.
Sometimes at the end of all beginnings
She finds herself dressed in the crisp evening air,
A voice of birdsong echoing across the fragile day.

Question 5: Any other words about poetry?

Just a gentle reminder to the Poem It Out participants: you are a poem.


Michelle Ensminger loves poetry, photography, and dates with her 8-year-old son. A West Texas native, you can often find her curled up in a makeshift fort writing her way through the messiness of life. Michelle always strives to nurture her creative spirit and pursue an authentic spiritual path in the midst of motherhood and working an 8-5 job. She believes writing can heal and awaken us to life, that stillness holds great power, and in the sacred act of honoring the present moment. You can find more of her on Flickr and Facebook.

week 1: an interview with jenna mcguiggan

liz lamoreux

Today, take a deep breath and soak up every word of this delightfully fun interview with the incredible writer, warm-hearted friend, and roller derby maven Jenna McGuiggan.


Question 1: How is poetry a lifeline for you? 

Oh, Poetry. They say I'll find you in phrases with line breaks, maybe some rhymes, and in the orderly progression of words down the page. And yes, there you are. But it's not so simple as all that, is it? I find you everywhere, running out of bounds, breaking out of the bonds we try to put on you. I find you in words that sound good together, like apple dumpling, raw stars, and fresh water. I find you in the words that taste so good in my mouth, words like: Oblong. Patina. Jar. Delphinium.

I looked you up in the dictionary, dear Poetry, and this is what he told me about you: Poetry, he said, “is writing that formulates a concentrated imaginative awareness of experience in language chosen and arranged to create an emotional response through meaning, sound, and rhythm.” Not a thing about line breaks. Not a thing about rhyme. Language chosen, imaginative awareness, experience, emotional response. Well, now. That explains a lot. That explains why I find you in the covers of books marked “prose” and in the lilt of anyone who loves language and beauty. This explains why I find you when I read Virginia Woolf's novels and Annie Dillard's essays. This gives me hope that you could be mine, too, Poetry, when I write full sentences in full paragraphs with no line breaks. But still the rhythm. Still the sound. Still the meaning.

But there's something even the dictionary can't tell me, and that's how on earth I find you, Poetry, in the strangest places. You were in that southerly wind blowing secrets at me the day I sat on the garage door stoop. You were there in the twilight skimming wet sand on beaches in Oregon and Massachusetts. And more than once, I swear, I've tasted you in decadent slices of perfectly ripe avocado glistening with lime juice. You show up everywhere, don't you, Poetry? You wily, wonderful, winsome one. When I am tired from swimming and can't even tread water, you throw me life preserver and say, “Just float.” When I'm wrung out and worried, you stroke my hair and say, “Just be.” When I'm narrow-minded and bored, you throw open the window and say, “Just look!”

Question 2: Who are the poets and poems you turn to again and again? 

Anything by Mary Ruefle makes me feel alive, weird, confused, understood, and known – all at once. I  especially love the poems in Tristimania and the poemesque pieces in her prose book, The Most of It. You can see examples of her erasure poetry on her website. You can read a few of her poems here and here. But to really experience her poetry, I think the best way is to hear her reading it.

In college I read a lot of T. S. Eliot's  poetry, which I love, even though a lot of it is rather “dense.” He was a well-educated one, that Eliot was, but in amongst all of the allusions to classical myths and literature is so much heart, so much sadness, and so much hope. Check out “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” “The Waste Land,” and “Four Quartets”

I love the concrete images and deceptively deep simplicity of these two William Carlos Williams poem: “The Red Wheelbarrow” and “This Is Just to Say.” 

Matthew Dickman's All American Poem is a great collection, so much fun and sadness packed together. His poetry is simultaneously accessible and profound, profane and sacred. (He once told me that he liked the necklace I was wearing, and I may have a wee bit of a crush on him.) I love his poem “Slow Dance,” which you can read here

The poet Wallace Stevens worked for an insurance company for a lot of his life, which just seems so wonderful and bizarre to me. I like to think about  all the “ordinary” people in my daily life (the store cashier, the dentist, the FedEX woman) and how they might have secret lives of creative greatness. My favorites by Stevens are “Sunday Morning,” “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird,” and “Man on the Dump.” 

and then there's ee cummings. he makes me happy, with his quirky punctuation and lower case letters all smashed together to make meaning. 

Question 3: Is there a line of poetry you would tattoo on yourself?

Hmm... Hard to choose, but here are a few contenders:

“The salt is on the briar rose / The fog is in the fir trees.” ~T. S. Eliot, “The Dry Salvages,” one of the “Four Quartets”

“Quick now, here, now, always—” ~ T. S. Eliot, “Four Quartets”

“love is more thicker than forgot” ~ ee cummings

Question 4: Would you like to share a poem of your own?

I wrote this poem from a word list that we created at one of Liz's retreats.

The Reckoning

Gumboots and blue bottles,

The containers of feet, flowers, lives,

Botanical prints cling to the wall in walnut frames

In the laundry or mud room

Where everything comes to be stoppered up or spilled out.

Rummage through the junk drawer,

Pull out orphaned matchsticks, pinking shears, corks swollen with wet.

What is vintage and

What is timeless?

Rosehips and silken ferns,

Bloodshot bones and a tailored palette,

The subtle blossom of the clock as it cradles

Time in your eyes.

Peek through that keyhole. Peel

Fresh ginger.

Be transformed, a vivid infusion of citrus-scented light.

Open the window, and welcome.


Jenna McGuiggan is a writer, editor, and coach who works with creative souls and organizations with heart.

Visit her in The Word Cellar, which she envisions as a cozy, stone-walled chamber filled with twinkle lights, shelves of stories, nooks of books, and plush armchairs perfect for sharing your tale.