life / poetry

Learning Something

roseI spent an hour listening to a podcast (On Being with Krista Tippett) with poet Marie Howe last week. I’m not all too familiar with her poetry, and I’m not sure how I even came across this podcast, but I’m grateful for the little twist of fate that pointed me in this direction.

Howe talks about poetry, reads some poems–I especially like the poem Hurry–but more importantly, talks about the power of art in one’s life. She shares advice that was once given to her:

“When you’re very sad, the only thing to do is to go learn something.”

– Merlin to Arthur in The Once and Future King

She also highlights the importance of women being subjects of their own lives as opposed to being objects within them.

A writing project she once gave to her students: Write two lines of what you see. Be present. Don’t write in metaphor.

She discusses how hard it was for them at first, but after some time, they were constantly writing–“seeing” things. I think I’m going to try this exercise for the next few weeks.

I hope you’ll spend some time listening to this inspiring podcast. I’ll close with one last quote from Marie Howe:

Poetry holds what can’t be said.

Who or what has inspired you recently?

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9 thoughts on “Learning Something

  1. Great post, Andrea. I look forward to listening to the podcast.

    I love writing what I see. There’s a beautiful lake by my house I love to walk around – about 4 miles and I carry my notebook with me. Sometimes the walkers with headphones look at me funny, as they have no idea what I’m doing – scribbling at the things I see and hear.

    I’d love for you to share some of the things you jot down throughout the next few weeks you focus on “being”.

    • I wish I had a lake nearby!

      I wrote my first few notes yesterday afternoon, Jessica. I will try and share soon.

      Enjoy your week!

  2. I just wrote my two lines. I think this is something I’m going to do everyday as part of my “exercise routine”. Really cool. Makes great seeds.

    Gonna go click on links next. 🙂 Thanks!

    So glad to have my computer back and be making the blog rounds again!! I’ve missed yours!

    • I’ve missed yours too, Val! Happy you’re back.

      Thanks for stopping by and reading. I’m happy you’ve worked this into your writing work out!

      • Thanks!

        This is a great exercise. I actually got a draft out of the one I did the day I read this.

        This is a good one, because sometimes we just forget to LOOK. 😉

  3. I love this idea of writing what we see. I agree that creativity lives in attentiveness (to self, and to the world). My first question to my composition students, as they get ready to write essays about various texts, is always, “What do you notice?”

    Nice to read this today, Andee. Thanks for sharing.

    I am also curious about the background you’ve selected for your blog. Is it a photo you took of a painting? Or of fabric? Very interesting (and great colors).

    • Your students have an excellent teacher, Hannah. Thank you for reading and sharing.

      The photo is one I took in Playa del Carmen a few years back. We were shopping in the marketplace, and I was just taken with that mannequin.

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