Here’s Your Poem

recorderPOEM LIFE premieres this Saturday night, March 21, at the VFW in Locust Grove. Here is another post about something you will experience in the show–the chance to have a personalized poem composed on the spot and taken home with you. If you follow ROMP or know the activities I get up to, you already know what poem-in-a-minute is about. You give me 3 words you like or want to see in a poem, and I type up a poem on the spot with those 3 words somewhere in it.

Instead of typing poems during the show, I will have a segment where I cassette-record 2-3 poems for people. Yes, I have moved up in the technology world–from manual typewriter to cassette recorder. It will be quicker to compose the poem and say it straight into a recorder, rather than to type it–though I’m a quick typer . . typist.

Over the years, as a poet, I have discovered my true calling not in the typical poetic endeavors of publishing poems, teaching them and holding poetry readings (all heroic endeavors) but in creating experiences of poetry for other people. That’s the strong teacher side in me coming out. My family has a long history of accomplished educators, and though I occasionally throw in the towel with teaching, I always come back to it in some way.

Poem Life and the Rural Oklahoma Museum of Poetry itself have been ways for me to bring together the celebration of poetry with the facilitation of its practice in the lives of everyday people. Poems-in-a-Minute has been one way I’ve extended this philosophy of poetry as experience–having performed at many festivals and venues. Though I no longer strive to have my poetry published (other than on this website), I cannot not be a poet–a wise woman told me that once. I just want to be a poet for other people.

Come to the show, ya’ll!

There will be a $100 door prize drawing and other fun surprises.

–Shaun Perkins

 

 

$1.00 a Song

andy

Andy Bartosovsky

During my POEM LIFE show, there will be a segment (a crime) where I offer up a series of poems that are reinterpretations of the Psyche and Eros myth. One of the poems in the cycle is called “The Return,” and in the show, it is the last one. I have two versions of this poem, one I wrote as a regular poem, the other with the thought in mind that it could be a song.

Both the poem and the song are featured in the show; however, I’m not a songwriter, singer or musician, so I managed to find someone who put it to music for me and sang it. That would be Andy Bartosovsky, a friend of a friend from Facebook who lives in Alexandria, Virginia. (Social media is truly good for many things.)

You can listen to the song at his website, and please send a little payment his way.

Thanks, Andy! The poem is perfect for Poem Life, and I look forward to playing it for an audience.

–Shaun Perkins

 

438 Poetry Patrol: Spoon

DSC05312Stainless approaching the ditch, not in

it, not in the road, that nowhere land of fried grass

and pancaked beer cans. Oh spoon,

who dropped you? Why? You are a good spoon,

great ice cream scooping size, perfect

for hearty Rice Krispies and Cheerios eaters,

too large for drugs, too small for serving size.

I will find a home for you.

It is what I do.

–Shaun Perkins

Road 438 is the one leading to the museum. I routinely patrol it in the golf cart and pick up trash—anything here forever, like plastic, aluminum, glass. I leave most paper items unless they are huge or are interesting fodder for future poems. Yesterday, I found this spoon. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it.

How it Began

janerussellMy Poem Life show will include a section that tells the story of Psyche and Eros with poetry and audience interaction and stuff. Psyche is sacrificed to the beast because . . . well, that’s just what people used to do (still do). She was one of the beautiful young girls of the village so obviously was selected. She was decorated and put into a cart and taken to the top of the mountain to await the beast.

How it Began

It could happen any day
To anyone—finding one’s self
At the top of a mountain
Awaiting the thing you dream of
Yet can’t imagine.

I had not been taught to imagine
So I went trusting my father,
Trusting the townsfolk parading
Around me. In celebration,
We climbed the mountain.

I want to say this to you now,
Now that I have come through:
As I was carried up, I noticed
A mole near my ankle bone,
And a black hair spiraled from it.

Please come to the show! More details here. Oh, and that Jane Russell photo from The Outlaw . . . yea, there’s a poem about her and it in the show, too.

–Shaun Perkins

 

Poetry has no part in society

nopoetryA friend of a Facebook friend (neither of whom I know personally) posted this today:

I feel like poetry has no part in society. We never use poetry in our lives but sometimes it is fun to read. I feel like if poetry doesn’t rhyme then it isn’t a poem.

******

I feel like poetry has no part in society.

Young One, you are right. It has no “part.” It has, in fact, a “whole.” It is the whole of our society. It exists to take its flashlight into the darkness of the human soul and shine it around and show everybody else what’s going on in there.

Shelley said in another century that poets were the unacknowledged legislators of the world. I still believe this to be true. A poet is a special kind of being who feels compelled to use the form to uncover truths about our world. It, thus, does not have a part: It instead demands the all.

We never use poetry in our lives.

My Child, the first tool of the poet is metaphor. Have you made any comparisons today? Bet you have, whether you said them, wrote them or just thought them. We can’t help but be metaphor-makers.

Has a poem ever enriched your life? Of course, it has, whether you think about it every day or not: It has impacted you. From the poetry in nursery rhymes you heard as a child to the specious poetry of advertising to the tales of Shakespeare and The Odyssey and The Iliad, passages from the Bible, poems that became songs and songs that became poems: These pieces all live in us.

You can’t use poetry like you use a blow dryer or a pencil or a chainsaw. You let poetry use you. You let the language and the experience embodied in those words use you to create a picture in the mind’s eye and a way of being in the physical body. We are the filters for the experience of poetry. We are the tools, not the poems.

But sometimes it is fun to read.

Agreed.

I feel like if poetry doesn’t rhyme then it isn’t a poem.

Is this a poem?

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

Tomorrow,
I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody’ll dare
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”
Then.

Besides,
They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed—

I, too, am America.

Damn straight it is. Langston Hughes. Word.

Innocent One, there is no definitive idea of what a poem is. My favorite definition of poetry is Emily Dickinson’s. She said that if she felt when reading as if the top of her head were coming off, then she knew it was poetry.

Saying a poem has to rhyme is like saying the sun goes around the earth. Both propositions were never true even when they were a part of the collective unconscious.

The Haiku of Children

haiku6501Christmas is fun.
It comes once a year.
I like Christmas.

by Tommy Plogger

Eat Christmas dinner
Can’t wait until I eat
My full stomach

by Devin Dean

Love to make snowmen
Love to eat Christmas dinner
Love to watch snowflakes

by Nicole McCallister

Winter night moonrise
Cold in the winter night snow
We have fun tonight

by Brianna Gossett

Hunting season near
I can’t wait to go hunting
I jumped with joy

By Josh Fannon

Hey Santa was here
Winter came early this year
Santa loves cookies

By Nic Hoggatt

Can’t wait ’till Christmas
For the weather and presents
It’s the best feeling

by Cody Hubbard

I like Christmas stars
They can be very pretty
And most are very shiny

by Dallas Coatney

Santa loves reindeer
He eats them all for dinner
He dislikes cookies

by Kate Richardson

A Big Thank you to Melanie Perkins for having her young LG students write haiku and enter them in the ROMP Holiday Haiku contest. These poems and others by adults will be on display at the VFW Saturday, Dec. 13, while we have an art show and sale and sell tickets for the Christmas Home Tour. Come by!