Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Recent Reads: Winter Morning Walks: 100 Postcards to Jim Harrison

Over the winter I have begun to read and write more poetry. I am very interested in form and have found that the best way to learn about it is to read more poems.

Unfortunately our library does not have too much to offer in poetry, nor do some of the book stores I go in desperately searching for modern poets' books. But searching through the poetry section in the library I did find one book by Ted Kooser, a modern poet I was somewhat familiar with, and happily took it home- that was almost a month ago.

I know that poems are meant to be read slowly and savored, only these poems I am letting stew. They are comforting to read, and worth reading over and over, as Ted Kooser displays an artistic construction of words describing the simplicity of life in complicated and frightening situations, finding strength and healing in the natural world, and enjoying each day for what it is.

Kooser, former US Poet Laureate, wrote this book over a series of postcards he would send to his friend as he recovered from cancer. Each day he would take a two mile walk and then record what he saw, felt and experienced on his walk down a country road in rural Nebraska. Some days he might intricately describe what he saw, where other days his despair might fall among his words even if the weather was sunny.

A round hay bale,
brown and blind, all shoulders,
huddled, bound tightly
by sky blue nylon twine.
Just so I awoke this morning,
wrapped in fear.

Oh red plastic flag on a stick
stuck into loose gravel,
driven over, snapped off,
propped up again and again,
give me your courage.
-Ted Kooser, November 29

Kooser finds distinguished ways to describe each day, and shares his soul and a bit of humanity as he relates how each day holds its own feelings and its own outlooks. His poems tell of the natural world around him and ease the soul with his truthful descriptions of life. I can certainly relate to many of his poems, and appreciate how he articulates the story in them to appreciate the simple details in our lives.

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