Tonight I went with my friend Sherita to listen to Alice Friman read from her new book of poetry, The Book of the Rotten Daughter. She was appearing at the University as part of the Women's Week presentations. Alice used to teach classes and workshops here when she lived in Indianapolis. She now lives in Georgia, so I hadn't seen her for a few years. It was wonderful to see and hear her again.
Several of the poems in this book deal with the deaths of her father and mother and the time that she spent tending her mother in a nursing home. She said that some people may think that is gruesome, but "writing helps us grieve, helps us understand." She also said that she believes that writing poetry is "like writing with a laser beam." She did throw some more lighthearted poems into the mix, so we wouldn't all be too depressed.
Alice is a fantastic poet. I love her phrasing and choice of words. And I love hearing her read, with her New York accent--still strong after all these years of living in Indiana and now in Georgia.
Sherita and I and another friend are going to go to a poetry workshop this weekend in Indianapolis. I haven't written much poetry lately. Poems are mysterious to me; it seems like they either come almost full-blown or they don't come at all. I've tried several of the techniques that other poets recommend. Clustering helps create them. Word tickets, used like Susan Wooldridge teaches in Poemcrazy (a fantastic book!) help me sometimes. The Magnetic Poetry kits are fun to play with too. And maybe that is why poems come harder for me--I don't play with them enough; I take them too seriously. I'll let you know how the weekend goes. I'm sure I'll learn something new and hear some good poets read and have more to share.