Monday, April 25, 2011

Before I Go

I will be wending my way today to Colorado with friends to explore Mesa Verde but before I leave I'm writing to tell you about a wonderful evening I spent with Eric on Saturday. We drove to UCLA and attended a lecture and poetry reading by Kay Ryan who constructs tiny weighty little poems and Billy Collins who's wit and conversational style of poetry have made his work extremely popular. His poems are like a journey, often starting light and humorous leading sometimes to a profound conclusion. Often his words just poke fun at the human condition.
When I say lecture it was more like an informal living room chat as the two joked, reminisced, poked fun at each other and themselves. Both poets have been the poet laureate of the United States, Kay having just earned the Pulitzer. Billie asked Kay how she'd learned that she had won the Pulitzer. " A friend called and told me they had read it on Twitter" Billy replied "Oh it was hearsay"

I love hearing Billy read his own poems. ( several can be sourced on you tube) We sat in front of Stven Spielberg in the fourth row and enjoyed a very special evening.

There was a book signing afterwards, both poets were warm and affable. I had some books signed and chatted briefly with both. I had "The Trouble with Poetry" signed for you. Leave a brief comment and if you haven't already joined on to follow my blog, it would be nice to have you here. Don't follow me on facebook, I'm not there, I'm out hiking. Don't twitter or tweet me I'd rather work or read. Just leave a comment and I'll draw a name on my return and send you the book.

excerpt from; The Trouble With Poetry where Billy pokes fun at the creative process.


The birds are in their trees,
the toast is in the toaster,
and the poets are at their windows.

They are at their windows
in every section of the tangerine of earth-
the Chinese poets looking up at the moon,
the American poets gazing out
at the pink and blue ribbons of sunrise.

The clerks are at their desks,
the miners are down in their mines,
and the poets are looking out their windows
maybe with a cigarette, a cup of tea,
and maybe a flannel shirt or bathrobe is involved.

The proofreaders are playing the ping-pong
game of proofreading,
glancing back and forth from page to page,
the chefs are dicing celery and potatoes,
and the poets are at their windows
because it is their job for which
they are paid nothing every Friday afternoon.

Which window it hardly seems to matter
though many have a favorite,
for there is always something to see-
a bird grasping a thin branch,
the headlights of a taxi rounding a corner,
those two boys in wool caps angling across the street.

The fishermen bob in their boats,
the linemen climb their round poles,
the barbers wait by their mirrors and chairs,
and the poets continue to stare
at the cracked birdbath or a limb knocked down by the wind.

By now, it should go without saying
that what the oven is to the baker
and the berry-stained blouse to the dry cleaner,
so the window is to the poet.

Just think-
before the invention of the window,
the poets would have had to put on a jacket
and a winter hat to go outside
or remain indoors with only a wall to stare at.

And when I say a wall,
I do not mean a wall with striped wallpaper
and a sketch of a cow in a frame.

I mean a cold wall of fieldstones,
the wall of the medieval sonnet,
the original woman's heart of stone,
the stone caught in the throat of her poet-lover.

Have a lovely week everybody, xo Rochelle


  1. Love the poem!

    I hope you have a wonderful time on your trip.. take lots of photos.

    Be safe & have a great time.

  2. OMG

    first, have a wonderful safe time on your trip, oh how awesome it's going to be. i can't tell you how much i'm looking forward to hearing and seeing all about it.

    i saw that Kay Ryan had won the award, how fabulous. I am so envious that you were there at a gathering/reading/booksigning. But so happy for you. What a brilliant experiance it must have been. I LOVE poetry, with Mary Oliver my very favorite.

    We have so much in common, i would love these books also, and i don't have a fb or twitter account, i as well, would rather be outdoors or reading (or making something).

    Thank you for offering such a great giveaway, see you soon!

    xo lori

  3. Billy Collins pulls me from the pit sometimes.
    Loved this post

  4. I enjoy all of the poetry you select for your posts, with Billy Collins a big favorite.
    Hope you have a great trip, sounds like wonderful fun.

  5. Love that poem. A whole book of those is a wonderful thing to share-throw my name in the hat, please.

    And it's nice to know I'm not the only person out there not known on facebook or tweeting about ..... what do people tweet about? I guess I'm more interested in what those tweeters in the yard are tweeting about :)

    Have a wonderful trip!

  6. I got a good chuckle from the notes about what one need not do to win:

    so often it's: twitter me or like my facebook and get entered again and again and again! It's great promotional work and a wonderful way of spreading the word, don't get me wrong...


    I am a big fan of the simple contest:
    leave a comment, may you win :) Consider me entered!

    Have a safe and wonderful trip!!

  7. Have a great trip and thanks for the poetry tips! xoxo

  8. You are SO kind...a review of the show and a signed book to share on your trail!

    I like the way you added some of your pods and other treasures to the photo above--I'm going to remember that...the books look happier with a little nature next to them.

    Thank you for sharing a little of the poetry magic with us...and enjoy the magic of this trip you're taking....

  9. Enjoy your adventure...Mesa Verde is so impressive. The poem is great - sounds like you had a wonderful time.

  10. What a wonderful give away Ro!
    I will go out and buy that book if I am not the lucky winner.

    Have a great trip.

    Thanks for the poem. : )

  11. Ro...count me in...and have a wonderful journey!

  12. be safe out there and take tons of pictures!
    and i agree,
    the simple contest is nice
    and another book of poetry is always

  13. So thrilled... you were able to go and hear some great poetry with Eric! I am also very pleased to hear that you are out on an adventure, too!
    Be safe and bring us back some wonderful tales from your adventure!
    Be safe and stay warm!

  14. I'm new to your blog but have been following your jewelry for a good while. Have a great trip and tell us all about it after!

  15. Hullo, Ro!

    Thinking of you often, and hoping you are having an excellent time.

    Thanks for the chance to win this book! I loved hearing about your fun night out :).


  16. I'm in!
    missing you but I know you are having a FAB time!
    I love Colorado, and Mesa Verde looks like a beautiful park area. I can't wait to hear all the details.
    Lovely poem-poet!
    xo soar sister

  17. Hello dear blog friends we are having a fantastic time exploring. We spent yesterday and last night in New Mexico climbing though canyons, taking too many pictures and searching for turquoise. We are in Colorado and looking forward to exploring Mesa Verde in the morning. I miss you all xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoooooxxxxxx Ro

  18. I was about to comment on your current blog post, when I realized that I'd missed this one -- how'd that happen??!!

    You made this evening with poets sound so enjoyable... just the sort of informal event I'd love to attend.

    As someone who dabbles in poetry AND spends an inordinate amount of time staring out my window, I adored this poem!! (Actually, I affectionately call that large window in the kitchen "The Big Screen"... because it's always got something on that's worth watching. :-)

  19. Hi Ro, thanks for posting pics from your road trip. I love the one of the weed wreaths :) Hope the rest of your trip is fantastic!