Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Poetry and grief

Last Tuesday night, as some of you know, I released my dear old boy Reinie from this life. Then I headed off to Nashville to lead a writing retreat. It was the perfect place to grieve. On the retreat we held silence most of the morning and again in the afternoon and I had lots of time to think and feel. We also had beautiful surroundings and that was another big help. But mostly what helped was writing poetry.

I wrote a long poem to Reinie, a requiem (you can find it on my other blog http://www.sobertruths.blogspot.com/) and fashioning something out of my feelings was really helpful. So helpful in fact that I also wrote a poem about an altercation I had with a friend this fall that resulted in a painful parting. Fashioning those feelings and expressing them in a coherent way again helped me work through the sadness.

It is certainly possible to express feelings in a novel or memoir. The writing of scenes with feelings is much more powerful but somehow the distilling process of poetry is perfect for that.

I made a commitment to write 100 poems by April 15, just a commitment to myself but one I'm eager to keep. The two poems mentioned here are 52 and 53 in that series.

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