Monday, February 7

Posted by Laurel Garver on Monday, February 07, 2011 16 comments
I've been selected as one of Angela Felsted's Poets of the Month after placing in her poetry contest. Today she posted my poem "Moving On" at My Poetry and Prose Place. I'll be doing another guest post on 2/21 and a second poem, "Graham at St. Stephens" will be featured on 2/28. If you get a chance, swing on by to say hello.

I fell hard for poetry while taking a contemporary poetry course as an undergrad. The prof began the class by lining us around the perimeter of the room and having us shout random portions of Allen Ginsberg's "Howl" at one another. This was a universe away from the precious ponderings of Wordsworth and a game changer for me creatively. Many scenarios I would've previously thought unpoetical became grist for the mill--my janitorial work-study job, memories of Dad slaughtering chickens, a weedy patch in a slum--because truth is beautiful, no matter where you find it.

The pieces I entered in Angela's contest are both built from my novel notes--pieces of backstory that never made it into the book. I'll be posting tomorrow (my regular day) about getting more mileage from your character studies.

What authors have been game-changers for your creatively? Have you ever found a beautiful truth in an ugly place?
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  1. Great post. Love that you had a motivating professor who broadened poetry's appeal! This is powerful: "...truth is beautiful, no matter where you find it."

    My authors are Harper Lee, Hemingway & friend Kathryn Magendie (whose writing is lyrical and haunting). And, yes, found many beautiful truths taking my mom and a dear friend for chemo/radiation treatments.

  2. Powerful! Your deep sensitivity flows like a beautiful stream through the lines. Yes, "truth is beautiful, no matter where you find it." (As Angie commented above.) It's sometimes difficult to see what lies behind the moment, what's waiting to be abstracted into life. Big applause for your professor, someone who took the time to encourage you to find your voice.

  3. Tamora Pierce's latest series changed the way I looked at fantasy. I love the elements of mystery she wove into it.

    Poetry says so much with so little. I do love poetry.

  4. Awesome Laurel. I love getting some back story on that beautiful poem.

  5. Congrats, Laurel! Will hop over there and check it out.

    I'm with Angie, Harper Lee was one who made me think, way back when I was in high school.

    Have a good week,

  6. Angie: hey poet-friend! thanks for visiting my blog! I know what you mean about hospital visits overwhelming us with beautiful truths. Places of vulnerability and need always strike me. Heck, I've written a piece about roadkill once. Stray dog. Heartbreaking.

    Kittie: Thanks so much. It can indeed sometimes take years for the haunting images of a scenario to gel into an epiphany of some sort.

    My prof was awesome, especially since this was a conservative Christian college! Howl isn't exactly G-rated material. How he didn't get in trouble with the administration, I'll never know. :-)

  7. Nisa: Hey! I've missed seeing you in the blogosphere. Genre-bending books excite me, too.

    Angela: It was part of a trippy dream sequence I cut from the novel that I suspected would work better as a stand-alone poem. Thanks for "nudge"--in the form of your contest--to try it out as such.

    Karen: Thanks so much. Indeed Harper Lee was a game changer for American literature as a whole.

  8. What a beautiful poem. Thanks for sharing it. After I read Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout, I felt it was a total game-changer for me. I thought, here is someone writing stories about people. That's it. Nothing fancy. But it's simplicity is astonishing.

  9. oh, congratulations!!! I'll be heading that way shortly. As for authors who've inspired me, there are so many! I'm even inspired by the not so grat ones... in a sort of backwards way. ;p <3

  10. It's been a while since I've visited. Your poem on Angela's blog was so beautiful!

    And I agree-truth is beautiful, and poetry and writing have helped me discover that.

  11. Congratulations! I'll try and check it out....

  12. Laurel, both the poem and this post are lovely.

    And, yes, I have, at times, found extraordinary beauty in the broken and decayed.

  13. Awesome! Congratulations!!! What a lovely post.

  14. Melissa: I love your example. It's such a game changer when you see an author doing something you'd never considered. It's like, "Wow, you can write THAT? Cool! I wanna try!"

    GE: Enjoy!

    Leigh: It's the authors who shake up my ideas of what is "allowed" that excite me most.

    Lydia: Thanks so much! Your medical experiences probably show you the beauty in dark place more than many of us see day to day.

  15. Rich: Thanks for following the link from Facebook. Hope you like the poem.

    Tricia: Your frequent photo and poetry posts show very much that you get this idea well. :-)

    Colene: Thanks so much.