This winter I was lucky to find a local poetry group, made up of real day-in day-out poets (which I aspire to become). We meet up every month and share a poem or two that we’re working on, and the group gives wonderfully practical ideas about which words work and don’t, etc. I have been delighted to get this regular inspiration / deadline pressure.
Here are a couple of new releases: the first, “Renunciations,” had a four-year gestation period. A friend who had been part of the local Bahá’í community decided to become Jewish, and really did drop by a canvas bag full of prayer books for my Bahá’í wife. I knew this was a powerful moment but it took forever to create something from it. What emerged was thinking about Bahá’ís and Jews as people of minor religions who have had to be careful about their outward signs of faith.
I got an Olivetti late-1960s typewriter recently, inspired in part by the loving typewriter documentary California Typewriter, and I love the physicality of creating text on this stylish old machine. And recently I attempted to learn meditation from my cousin, a TM instructor, which made me feel like my recalcitrant brain was kind of like an old typewriter that jams easily. The physical presence of the typewriter inspired “Mantra generator,” and then reading “Climate Signs” by Emily Raboteau helped me reconsider how to bring in my can’t-get-to-sleep (or meditate!) worries into the scene of this poem with “Mantra recycler.”