Mass Poetry believes that words matter. We support poets and poetry in Massachusetts, help to broaden the audience of poetry readers, bring poetry to readers of all ages, and transform people’s lives through inspiring verse. We are a 501(c)(3) organization.
I collect words and phrases as they come to me when I’m doing such routines as walking my dog, cooking, etc. And I put these in a notebook. About once or twice a month, I’ll have the feeling that if I just sit, usually at night, with these collected scraps, I might be able to make a poem from them, or get one to grow from them. But it’s unpredictable. If there’s a routine, it’s that I’m routinely in readiness for the next poem, whenever that may come.
I first encountered poetry in a way that moved me to love it hearing it read by poets—Dylan Thomas reading from “Fern Hill”, and Robert Frost reading “the Death of the Hired Man.” Later, in college I studied both Frost and Yeats in depth, and learned that the plain words of Frost’s poems were undergirded with the iambic pentameter rhythms which gave me the original innocent pleasure I couldn’t have defined when I first heard them read on an old Caedmon recording. I studied with Robert Hillyer and still recall his voice reading to the class. Later, living for years in South America I found that for whole populations of people poetry was an auditory experience. People in all walks of life memorized and recited poetry. When my Spanish was sufficiently advanced I came to love their poets, and attempted translations.
A few plots over, a mower buzzes in the heat
like a bee working the flowers for its queen.
What does one say at the grave of someone so
important you wouldn’t be here except for her
and the choices she couldn’t make? How in her life
she had to flee the Old Testament wrath of her father
and leave the garden hive of her innocence. How in your life
you must thank her for the accident of your birth––
what does one say at such a stranger’s grave?