Now more than ever, I wish I could talk to Jack. I want his guidance, his wit, his poetry reading suggestions. I’ve been reading and rereading his poetry collections. This week, I turned to his The Portable Poetry Workshop because I need to be in class with him again. The semester has begun.
What I always admired most about Jack was the way he could make the intangible accessible, like magic. I’m still in awe even as I read through the introduction pages: “The nature of poetry itself, beyond language and the art’s elaborate history of conventions, is all about process, shaping whatever we are trying to sculpt from inchoate fog that allows us to feel what it is to be human.” Jack talks about specific things he feels are most important to making writing a habit, more a “sacred” practice: sacred space, reading, imitation, feeling, free-writing, and journal writing. I’m working my way down this checklist now.
One thing Jack always reminded his students was the importance of writing everyday. It was one of the points he chose to emphasize in his last email to me when I told him I had begun writing again: “Scratch that itch even if it means doodling; it’ll pour out poems eventually.” I’m scratching that itch, Jack, and following along with you in this new workshop.
Apt for the first day of class, Jack Myers’ poem, “On Sitting” – http://tpqonline.org/myers.html
Happy reading, Andrea