Thursday, February 10, 2011

Now there's a poem


Red Room the author's website http://www.redroom.com asked us to blog about one of our greatest discoveries. Here's what I wrote.

Writing has been a part of my life for a long time. I was a feature editor of my high school newspaper and went on to study journalism in college. And though I didn’t pursue a career as Brenda Starr Reporter, I worked most of my professional life as a writer and editor of proposals for the aerospace industry. Later on I started taking writing workshops and even dabbled in poetry – though my love of reading poetry that started when I was a child far outweighed my desire to write it. That is until poems just seemed to flow from my pen while I was in an Ellen Bass Writing About Our Lives workshop at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California – just a few months after my son Paul died.  Poetry seemed to be the only way I could really express my emotions.


For a long time my poems were all about Paul, many of which will appear in my memoir about how I’ve survived his death (Leaving the Hall Light On http://www.LuckyPress.com/madelinesharples.htmlbeing released by Lucky Press on Mother’s Day). But now I find poems going on everywhere, any time. I like to say: “now there’s a poem,” and off I go to write one. And though these days I write more prose than poetry, poetry is still a great part of my writing life. I’ve produced four chapbooks, and I’ve co-edited two volumes of the poetry anthology, The Great American Poetry Show. I’ve also written the poems for a book of photographs, The Emerging Goddess – one of the first projects that helped turn to more upbeat subjects. I was thrilled when the photographer asked me to write goddess poems, giving me the opportunity to learn about goddesses and write about another subject instead of the dark, death-related work about grief and Paul I had been doing. And I’ve had many poems published both on-line and in print magazines – even one of those first novice poems was published in The Compassionate Friends newsletter.

Now I challenge myself to write a poem every day while I travel. I enter April and November poem-a-day challenges, and last year I challenged myself to write a poem a week about people I see and have imaginings about, but whom I don’t know. Lately I’ve been dabbling with short, Twitter-length poems – I like the fun of manipulating the words to fit into a certain constraints. And with these poems, I look outward, not inward, most of the time.


And with the discovery that I could write poems, I also discovered how healing writing can be. I recommend it to anyone suffering from grief – actually a creative outlet of any kind can help. 

2 comments:

Jacqueline Howett said...

I shall enjoy getting to know your work. Wishing you the very best. Have a sweet Valentines Day

Madeline Sharples said...

Thank you Jacqueline. I'm glad we're friends.