Dear Friend, It's National Poetry Month. Ugh? Yay? I dreaded poetry and literature in school because I never felt the confidence of understanding wh


Dear Friend,

It's National Poetry Month. Ugh? Yay?

I dreaded poetry and literature in school because I never felt the confidence of understanding what the writer was trying to say. Dissecting the meaning of poetry in a class? Barf. And I'd be the last one to raise my hand.

My friend Patti Digh wrote a blog post the other day in which she countered my typical initial reaction to poetry of: I never understand it. She wrote:

"I don’t understand how the internet works either, not really. Or the telephone. Or voice mail. Or self-rising flour. Or Congress. Or wireless plans. I don’t know how my brain or pancreas work, for that matter. But I use them. Daily. Somehow.

Maybe understanding is overrated. I think it is. Instead, just for this one month, just read the words aloud. The language we speak is gorgeous, even when it is not. Speak them in Scottish or Irish accents if that helps. It never hurts. Poets point us to images we dare not speak aloud, and yet they speak them."

Yeah! I think understanding is overrated too! And how do I know that the people who say they understand really even understand? I mean, I shake my head yes all the time to people agreeing with them when I really have no idea what they are talking about. Maybe half of us are just faking our way through understanding life anyways. Confession: I am.

Hey I have a great idea...why don't we check out some poetry this month! Like:

This poem by my friend Maya Stein, a recent favorite.

Or watch this reading of Say Yes by Andrea Gibson.It kills me everytime.

But definitely watch Naomi Shihab Nye's reading of One Boy Told Me. Children write poetry without even knowing. Heck, they probably understand it all too. Why did I want to grow up so fast?

Or read Boo's first poem about leaves. So darn good. Dang. I really need to put in some more effort.

I actually wrote a few poems at a Naomi Shihab Nye workshop a few months ago. My friend Sarah read them and said: wow, they sound beautiful but I have no idea what they are about.

Hey, at least she was honest.



P.S. If you've received this letter secondhand, you can leave your email address here to receive my weekly letters. You can read the archives here.


A follow up to the most read post of the year...because everyone wants to know what my hubby is doing now, as if he retired or something.

It doesn't look like much here but click through to see the AFTER photos.

This was the most dilapidated building in town and it's been completely transformed. more...


What I'm Reading Now:


The Hearing Trumpet

The Hearing Trumpet by Leonora Carrington

Never have a read something that felt like the way my brain works. I can't believe this is the first time I've ever picked up this book. It's so witty, funny, and truthful in so many ways. Might be one of my favorite books ever.

"You may not believe in magic but something very strange is happening at this very moment. Your head has dissolved into thin air and I can see the rhododendrons through your stomach. It's not that you are dead or anything dramatic like that, it is simply that you are fading away and I can't even remember your name."


So Much to Tell You, So Little Space:


They Were People

We visited the Holocaust Museum over spring break. Boo's questions were what will make me remember it forever.

"She turned her back to the picture for a few moments, for the first time realizing the magnitude of the evil, for the first time realizing what humans are capable of. I saw her lose her innocence right before my eyes. I knelt down and whispered to her: we are here to be witnesses." Read more...

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...just by looking at it. And knowing that it was both a boarding school and a hospital. Two ingredients for hauntedness. It was one of the coolest places I've ever explored though. more and see the photos I took while avoiding ghosts.

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<----- I made these cool little travel prompt sets...but only a limited amount. Choose Joy necklaces are only $38 through Sunday. I've been listing some of the tiny 3" paintings here and there. A few creepy doll faces and clown heads if they have been on your shopping list? I thinks that's all but I'm probably forgetting something.

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