When I taught a Highlights Founders poetry workshop recently in Honesdale, I was impressed by the eight poets who attended and worked in harmony and good humor during some long days. I decided to feature each of them in turn, assuming they would agree to being featured. I thought you might enjoy meeting them and hearing from writers who are attending workshops to learn more about their chosen genre and work on their craft.
Today it is my pleasure to introduce you to Jeanne Poland, the first poet to respond to a list of questions I proposed. Jeanne has an interesting background, which you’ll learn about from her responses. You can also learn more by visiting her website: www.quicksilverpartners.com
Jeanne volunteered to put together an e-book of all eight poets and their work during our time together. She says that she will be ready soon to share her handiwork. I’ve seen it in progress and am impressed. One of the group dubbed themselves “The Energizing Eight.” Another was kind enough to add me as the 9th. So we’re either “The Energizing Nine” or “The Energizing Eight + One.”
JEANNE, HOW AND WHEN DID YOU KNOW YOU WERE A POET?
I knew I was a poet when, as an infant, I smiled.
And then I cooooooed.
I heard the cadence, its song of belonging.
And I knew my voice could soothe.
My language brought me home.
“We’ll rock on the water
I’ll cradle you deep
And hold you while angels
Sing you to sleep”
DESCRIBE YOUR JOURNEY AS A WRITER.
In Catholic Parochial School, writing was premium. I excelled. Creative Juices flowed and won me a scholarship to High School and later to College. As a Catholic nun, I sang acapella and read and wrote in French. Melodies move me and I have honed the skill of using them to motivate others. Whether calligraphy or language, writing transfixes me. Meanwhile, the experience ages me like a fine wine.
WHY ARE SOME PEOPLE AFRAID OF WRITING POETRY?
They have an image problem. Medieval poets were poor and powerless. It still remains to be seen if the Information Technology Age will be kind to poets aka wandering minstrels. Perhaps rappers are the new poets.
HOW CAN AN EMERGING POET GAIN EXPERIENCE AND CONFIDENCE WHEN IT’S SO HARD TO FIND PUBLISHERS OF POETRY?
They need older muses, small intimate critique groups, and kindly attention.
Contemporary poets should try the novelty market, the TV market and the lyrics market. Wordsmiths are needed in the signage markets too.
5 WHICH DO YOU THINK IS EASIER TO WRITE, VERSE OR FREE VERSE?
That distinction depends on the message and the sound.
WHY POETRY? WHY NOT STICK WITH FICTION OR NONFICTION? WHAT ATTRACTS SOME PEOPLE TO WRITE POETRY?
Poetry can be put to music. Prose has a pace and rhythm already.
HOW MUCH DOES A CHILDREN’S POET NEED TO LEARN ABOUT THE GROUND RULES OF POETRY?
As much as a knitter needs to be fluent in “Knit” and “Pearl” patterns and the anatomy and function of the needles.
WHY DO YOU BELIEVE THAT CHILDREN’S POETRY IS IMPORTANT?
It facilitates oral history,
creates a liturgy,
soothes the savage beast,
and otherwise cultivates humans.
Finally, it speaks to the Gods!
“Be like a child to enter the Kingdom”
“Bring the little ones to me”
“Love them as much as yourself”
Thank you, Jeanne. And thanks for going first! Joy Acey is up next.