Poetics: travels in the wild

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Welcome to dVerse, the poet’s pub. Tonight, I want to give you the title for your poem, and let you do the rest.

I want you to choose from one of these titles:

  • Travelling in the wilderness
  • She said if a red fox had crossed somewhere, that area was safe
  • They say only the south wind flattens grass
  • We are teachers to our grandchildren
  • Lead dogs are very smart
  • Squirrel hunting in the mountains
  • A story of when the ice detached and the people floated away.

I almost don’t want to give you a context for these lines, but they aren’t mine, so I feel obliged to. You don’t have to read this next bit until you’ve written your poem if you don’t want to!

I have always been someone who buys books. At times in my life, I have bought a lot of books. At the moment, I’m cutting down on book buying, and trying to use libraries (on-line and in real life) more and more. I still buy books, but I have significantly raised my threshold for buying – they have to be pretty special.

Surfacing

These lines come from “Surfacing” by Kathleen Jamie. It’s very special. This is her third book of essays exploring the natural world and different histories. These lines are taken from a chapter about her stay in Alaska, in the village of Quinhagak, where she meets indigenous residents and hears some of their stories, and takes part in a significant archaeological dig. You can find out more about the dig here: https://nunalleq.wordpress.com/

Jamie herself has borrowed these lines. They are headings from the works of Ann Fienup-Riordan, who has spent her professional life gathering the stories of the people of Quinhagak. Jamie herself is a poet, and she knows that these lines make a powerful found poem. I first read them sitting in the shade in my sunny garden, and I could smell the wild in them.

So, take a line, and make it the title of your poem. You can use the line in your poem if you want – use it straight, use it as a golden shovel (https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/articles/92023/introduction-586e948ad9af8), whatever – but don’t feel obliged to use it. Your poem may take you somewhere else entirely.

The picture shows the artefact of the day  (18 July 2018), from the nunalleq.wordpress.com blog.

Once you’ve written your poem, you know what to do:

  • Link it up to good old Mr Linky
  • Please make sure you put a link back to this post in your post – it increases our traffic, and yours

Go and have a dig around  in the Mr Linky link-ups. Enjoy some poems, and leave some comments.