As part of the 2022 Dear Poet project, students around the country and the world wrote letters to Dorianne Laux in response to a video of her reading her poem “What's Broken” aloud. Dorianne Laux wrote letters back to eight of these students; their letters and her replies are included below.
Dorianne Laux also wrote a response to all of the participants of this year's Dear Poet project.
Dear Young Poets:
Thank you all for reading these poems and for the letters you wrote, letters that often felt like poems. So beautifully and thoughtfully written, so filled with stories and life. I grew up writing letters, to relatives, to friends, and later to my husband and my daughter when I or they were away. Then the internet came with email and texting and though I love the speed of it, I miss the lazy feeling of writing a letter, spending time with my own thoughts and feelings and talking to someone else over the long miles between us. I remember running to the mailbox to see if a letter for me had arrived. My excitement opening it, or my disappointment when the box was empty. I loved slipping photos inside or stickers or little drawings. My mother used to send me articles from newspapers, often about poetry, or send me a poem she had read. I saved them in old shoeboxes and read them again and again, or years later, remembering what I was like back then, what I was doing and thinking about.
All these letters from you felt so warm and welcoming, so personal, and now I feel I know you in a way I wouldn’t if it had been an email or a text. I think people say things in letters they might not feel they had the time to say in an email or text. You enter a different state of mind. I think it’s the same state of mind I enter when I’m writing a poem, kind of dreamy, as if I’m speaking to a good friend, someone I trust.
It’s funny, two of the first poems I read and fell in love with were “epistolary”, which means letter poems. One was by the world famous poet Pablo Neruda called “Letter to Miguel Otero Silva, In Caracas (1948)." The other was by a contemporary American poet named Carolyn Forche called “As Children Together”. Maybe you can find those poems on the internet. See, the internet good for many things! Read those poems and then write an epistolary of your own. It could be to someone you know, or to someone you wish you knew. A “love letter” to someone you miss. Or a letter to someone you can’t talk to, a beloved dog or cat, a grandparent who has died, a flower, a horse, the moon, or a tree! That’s what’s great about poems: they can be about anything.
So thank you again for your letters. I will end with the final lines of Pablo Neruda’s letter poem to his friend, Miguel:
…But today has been too much for me: not only one sea bird,
but thousands have gone past my window,
and I have picked up the letters no one reads, letters they take along
to all the shores of the world until they lose them.
then in each of those letters I read the words of yours,
and they resembled the words I write, and dream of, and put in poems,
and so I decided to send this letter to you, which I will end here,
so I can watch through the window the world that is ours.
Yours in poetry,
Dorianne Laux reads "What's Broken" for Dear Poet 2022.
Dear Ms. Dorianne Laux,
My name is Alaa and I’m in 5th Grade in West Springfield, MA. My class read your poem. Before I read it I was wondering why you picked "What's Broken" for the title. Then when my teacher read it I thought that it was the perfect title for the poem. It was interesting that you wrote a lot of broken things but I think that each of them tells a story in your life.
Why did you write a lot of broken things that relate to your life? Did you used to have a cat because you mentioned a cat in your poem and if you do is he or she still alive? I did have a cat for 8 months but then she died because she was really sick. I was sad and I tried to forget her, but I couldn't because she was the light of the house but now there is no light because she is not with me anymore.
Ms. Dorianne I really want to tell you that your poem was amazing. Your poem was my very first poem that I really liked, and I think that you are going to keep writing amazing poems.I am really happy to write this letter to you.You are the best poem writer that I have ever known!
What a beautiful name! Is your family from Jordan or Morocco? Oh wait a minute, you can’t answer me! Oh well, I at least looked up the pronunciation and wondered if the emphasis is on the first or second syllable. Either way sounds lovely to my ears.
Yes, many of the details in the poem are true to my life: the cat, the birdbath, the car hood which we had to tie down with a rope! The cat is long gone, a shiny black feral female cat our kids named Bob. I’m so sorry to hear about your cat. But happy to hear what a bright light she was in your life, and now in your memory. Whenever I think of Bob I smile.
I simply began the poem by thinking of all the broken things around me and went from there to the stars. It was fun. I’m so glad you liked the poem and took the time to write to me. It’s always so nice to know someone is out there reading a poem and thinking about their own life and how we all have so much in common. We are two strangers to each other but we now know one another through a poem. To me, that is magical.
Yours in poetry,
Dear Dorianne Laux,
My name is Remy and I’m a senior in high school. I adore your poem, “What’s Broken.” It will undoubtedly join the ranks of the poetry that I think of as I go about my day, drawing upon it to keep my morale high. Also, complete side note but you have very cool bangs and I like to think that I do too.
My favorite thing about this poem is that the broken isn’t painted as evil or wrong, but simply painted as it is. Sometimes this imagery is beautiful like “last summer’s pot of parsley and mint, white roots shootings like streamers through the cracks”. Other times this imagery is painful “broken little finger on my right hand at birth-I was pulled out too fast”. Yet this list of what is broken takes no moral standing on whether this broken is good or bad. This gentle acceptance is something that I am working on in my own life. I want to be okay with the things that are not the way I necessarily want them to be. This poem made me feel so much more comfortable with the fact that not everything is how I want it to be—whether that be imperfect or cracked or utterly broken.
Another line that I enjoyed was “And long ago my mother’s necklace, the beads rolling north and south.” When I was seven years old, I tripped and dropped a glass plate. The shatters skewed and scattered and I felt terrible. But that grew into a fond childhood memory as my mom played music and laughed with me as we cleaned it up. Your poem made me feel whole despite my broken aspects, whether it be relationships or plates, or a “rose stem.” I also love how you tied in such beautiful things to reference how broken they are. I just adore this poem and everything that it stands for.
However, these aspects are not what made this poem my favorite. The line at the very end, “my heart a blue cup fallen from someone’s hands” absolutely made me stop in stunned silence. It hit me right in the chest and made me feel the Emily Dickinson definition of poetry-like my head had been blown off. In my young life, I’ve had a lot of heartbreak, whether that be grief, despair, or unrequited love. I feel like I’m always nursing a bit of a broken heart, and sometimes it is difficult to feel beautiful despite that. But this poem is a set of lovely observations, finally ending with the notion that all this time the writer was broken as well. This poem was such a gentle reminder that I’m going to be okay.
Next time that I’m staring at my bedroom wall thinking of how my friends are all going to different colleges and my life will soon change unrecognizably, I will think of your words. How even though your heart is broken you continue to persevere, and see the beauty in it all. Thank you for writing this poem.
Thank you for your kind letter. Right away I love that you think my bangs are cool! I’ve had bangs all my life, but have never thought of them as particularly cool. Now I always will, so thank you!
I also like how the poem allows you to see that brokenness is the natural state of things, nothing wrong or right about it, it just is. I’ve always remembered what one of my favorite actors, Nicholas Cage said when talking about the movie he did with Cher called Moonstruck. As the character of Ronny he says, quite passionately, about love: “It breaks your heart. It makes things a mess. We aren't here to make things perfect. The snowflakes are perfect. The stars are perfect. Not us. Not us!” It’s a comedy, so it’s over the top, but it’s also wonderful. And Ronny is right, and you are right. Hearts are made to be broken, by love, by joy, by beauty and sadness and loneliness and awe. There’s no one right way for a heart to be broken.
I also like what you say about the “gentle acceptance” you’re working on in your own life. I think poems work that way, they find you when you need to be found, help you through the hard times to get to the other side.
And what you said about breaking the glass plate and how your mom played music and laughed while she helped you clean it up. Oh my gosh. The image in the poem of breaking my mother’s necklace is a true. I had asked her if I could wear it as part of a Halloween costume and she said okay but to be careful not to lose it or break it. Well, as I was walking down the street a kid ran by and grabbed it from my neck and it broke and the beads scattered everywhere. I spent an hour on my knees in the dark trying to find them all. I dreaded going home to tell my mother, but when I did she just laughed and said it wasn’t my fault and that she’d find someone to fix it for her. I was so relieved. And yes, it’s one of my fondest childhood memories as well. That kids’ meanness had broken my heart, and then my mom’s kindness broke my heart again.
There are so many ways we are the same, and I think poems show us that. We are all afraid of change, of disappointing people, of losing someone’s love. We are all staring at a bedroom wall, wondering how we’ll go on. But we do, and we will. For centuries people have faced all the same things we face. Poems help us to remember that and feel connected. Feel seen and heard in our loneliness and despair. Yes to poems! Yes to love. Yes to the nth power.
Yours in poetry,
Dear Dorianne Laux,
I read "What’s Broken," It made me freeze and look at the space around me, cinder blocks that were once great boulders or woven into the ground that has provided all living beings with a home. Metal screws violently chipped from the earth and rain outside, the droplets divided at an instant with the shocking crack of thunder. I have never carried a poem with me like I did that day, stepping out into the world and realizing how much of life seems quietly broken.
The line that sparked my awareness of the world's condition: “Broken the rose stem, water into drops, glass knobs on the bedroom door;” It is shocking to consider that even water droplets and roses that seem so intentional are only a fraction of what they once were.
I have been guided to a place where what is whole and untouched seems to be deformed and disheveled, a stream and the rocks it slides off with no order or destination, wildflowers that sprout wherever the wind blows. The world outside my small space where I have collected all of the broken, bent, and reshaped junk that makes me feel protected scares me. It is a horrifying realization that all of the coddled population must come to at some point in their life. The natural world is not made in their image or even impacted by their presence. The only personal gift the world has given me is allowing me to exist in it. The lines that have been spinning in my head since the moment I processed the words; “What hasn’t been rent, divided, split? Broken the days into nights, the night sky into stars, the stars into patterns I make up as I trace them with a broken-off blade of grass”. Do you also consider most of the world around you to be made up of broken things?Or do you only consider objects created intentionally and then accidentally
damaged to be broken? However, to see the whole world as broken seems like a far too morbid way to think about life, especially when the world has not quite broken me yet.
Dear Hannah- Thank you for your beautiful letter. The first paragraph reads like a poem.
I looked at the space around me,
cinder blocks that were once
great boulders or woven
into the ground that has provided
all living beings with a home.
Metal screws violently chipped
from the earth and rain outside,
the droplets divided at an instant
with the shocking crack of thunder,
stepping out into the world
and realizing how much of life
seems quietly broken.
Yes, this is the condition of the world. And I like the peek you give me into your world, that small space where you have collected broken, bent and reshaped junk. I am a great collector of knick-knacks, many of them small toys, which I think stems from having been the oldest child and not having had many toys or much of a childhood, always taking care of my younger brothers and sisters.
I guess I do see the world as broken. After all, the Big Bang exploded out into dust and gas and stars which then was melded and mended together by gravity. Seeds break and push through the earth, cracking it open, mountains break out of the sea, shells are two halves held together by a hinge, lightening splits the sky. I love thinking of how many examples of brokenness there are. And yet things seem whole, feel solid, most often stay where they are set down. It seems a miracle that we can break an arm and it mends itself back together, that billions of raindrops can gather to make a pond you can swim across in summer, that the universe is knitted together like a blanket than bends under the weight of our earth. So even though I do see so much brokenness, to me it’s beautiful. Like a mended tea cup is beautiful because it shows its use, shows that its owner loved it enough to take the time to save it and keep using it or display it. How your heart can be broken by grief but mended again by the beauty of a sunset or sudden, unexpected joy, or by another’s kindness. Maybe these are some of the reasons the world has not broken you. Robert Louis Stevenson wrote, “The world is so full of a number of things, I ’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.” And I would say, happy as queens!! In other words, in spite of everything, the beauty of the world is endless.
Yours in poetry,
Dear Mrs. Laux,
My name is Ellie and I am currently a junior at Edina High School studying AP US Literature. In your poetry, specifically, the poem What’s Broken, the connection between the narrator and the world around them is truly what drew me in. The transitions from talking about tangible objects being broken to natural divisions were very impactful. I interpreted this as describing the aspects of life that are indisputably broken and having to cope with this fact. Having to accept that you can not have control of every aspect of life truly relates to me. My entire life I have struggled with anxiety and perfectionism, and this year brought it to the forefront with losing both friends and family. These catastrophic changes made me feel as if my reality was running off the tracks and could not be steered in the proper direction. I have always known feelings of being rejected, isolated, depressed, anxious, and utterly miserable floating through life are not an individual experience, but feeling as if your world has shattered leaves you with the sense that you are the only individual to ever feel such pain. Reading your words has been the first time I was able to truly see what I was feeling through another's lens.
I have never wanted to acknowledge the struggle I am facing, hoping that my neglect will lead to growth. This is perfectly illustrated in What’s Broken by placing the damage in the past tense. Establishing the setting of the poem with transitional phrases such as “long ago”(line 2), “Last summer’s”(line 6), “years ago”(line 9), and “at birth”(line 11) push fragility to a formative time when mistakes are allowed. It is no secret that delicacy is viewed with a negative connotation and to be “broken” is seen as a flaw that must be masked at all costs. Your vulnerability in admitting you may fracture your surroundings such as “the cricket’s tiny back” (line 19) acknowledges that imperfection will always be present, and is a landmark to humanity. The most innocent of actions may inflict the harshest reactions. Furthermore, the metaphor of your heart as “a blue cup fallen from someone’s hands” signifies the permanence of pain. Though placed in the past tense, this break will remain as china may never be repaired. It became apparent to me with this line that imperfection should not be seen as something to cower from but rather accept and grow from. Piecing the shards back together will take the form of a new structure with a yet to be decided purpose. Have you decided what your heart's new purpose will be?
Nature is a subject of wonder for most of the population but is shown in a negative light in many of your poems. For example, in What’s Broken, aspects of nature such as “water into drops” (line 5) and “days into nights, the night sky into stars, the stars into patterns”(lines 14-15) are used as examples of division within life, but I can’t help but wonder if these hold the same negative connotation as being “broken” as the other examples listed in the poem. In my exploration of your other works, I came to realize that stars are a reoccurring symbol. In Under Stars, you describe “stars turn on their grinding wheel”(line 15) and “stars hiss”, neither of which has a positive connotation. In The Life of Trees, you describe the beauty that so many see in stars as “a few dead stars going dim”(line 16). I am curious whether in What’s Broken if the aspects of nature that you describe to be a symbol of natural division are rather an extension of the disjuncture of every aspect of life. I see the use of stars in your poetry as the deep splinter of the universe causing the pain felt by so many to be natural. Nonetheless, I come to wonder what has inflicted your deep resentment of the cosmos?
As I read your poems it became apparent to me that you have led a life of deep reflection. You have been able to verbalize the words that I often search for to describe the way I feel. Specifically in your poems describing the loss of your mother, I found comfort in the familiar feeling of latching on to sentiments of those lost while trying to continue life. In What’s Broken I found a new light in which to perceive my faults. Your poems have shown me not only the relatability of my feelings, but the value of expressing these feelings in words. I hope to begin my journey into writing. Though I have long held poetry to the ultra-competitive standing as my favorite form of literature, I have never successfully attempted to write myself. Your poetry has shown me that the topics I have longed to express have a place within the poetry realm.
I noticed that you were born in Maine, and now reside in North Carolina. I have always wished to return to the east coast as I was born in Pennsylvania. I also noticed you attended Mills College, a liberal art women’s college. As I enter my college application process, I have become favorable to both the liberal arts education and historically women’s institutions. Do you have any advice or reflections from your time at a university that is both? Though I am unsure what exactly I hope to do with my life, I am sure that I will pursue a major in the humanities. I hope my studies will foster my writing and help me explore areas yet to be discovered in my educational career, (not poetry of course, I will expectantly have a full portfolio of my own works by then).
First of all, I’m so sorry to hear about losing family and friends. That’s the toughest part of life. And yes, I do think we feel we are alone in our experiences of grief, sadness and loneliness. Poetry is there for just these times, to help us feel less alone.
And yes, imperfection is part of the human condition. There’s an Japanese art form called Kintsugi where a pot is made, then broken, then glued back together with gold to show the cracks in all their beauty which is seen as a metaphor for embracing life’s imperfection. You can look up images of these beautiful pots on-line. The young poet, Amanda Gorman who read at the White House, wrote a short essay about this that you can read here.
I do see the imperfection in the natural world as, well, natural. To me it is a wonder to think water can “break” into raindrops, that the shards of stars are beautiful, so I have no resentment of the cosmos. I find it mysterious and awe inspiring. The fact that stars are dead implies for me that even so, they still shine, as those we have lost still shine in our memories, in our hearts and in ours eyes when their names are spoken.
Thank you for going on to read so many of my other poems to get a fuller view of my work. Clearly you are a deeply curious and contemplative person, and those are the qualities that often make a poet. So do try your hand at expressing yourself through the art of it. Poetry is always there, waiting, for the writer and for the reader.
I was born in Maine, and lived in North Caroline for many years, teaching poetry at NC State, but I recently retired and now live back in California. My husband went to Penn State and we have been back there to visit.
I loved my time at Mills College. They had the best teachers, 50 percent women, which is a high average for a college. I got a liberal arts education, English with an emphasis in Creative Writing. I think they are in the midst of transitioning into a merger with Northeastern University. I went there many years ago so I don’t know who’s there now or what it’s like. I am gratified to hear you are thinking about college and a humanities degree. I think it’s a more well-rounded educational model.
Thank you for your kind and thoughtful letter, Ellie. I send all best wishes your way this June morning from the western edge of the continent which was broken off from Eurasia about 60 million years ago, creating steep dramatic cliffs I visit often and marvel at.
Yours in poetry,
Dear Ms. Dorianne Laux,
I read your poem, “What’s Broken,” this week. I read many poems this week and I read this poem many times. At first, I was not sure what drew me to it or why it stood out. After a few more reads I think I adore it because it is simple, tranquil, and most of all, relatable.
We are all broken people in a broken world trying to seem and feel as whole as possible. This poem is not beautiful in a dismal way, though. It seems to portray the idea that not everything broken is tragic and that not everything tragic is worthless. After all, “what hasn’t been rent, divided, split?” And is everything has, is nothing beautiful? I do not believe so. You mention plucked roses, days torn into nights, and nights pierced by shining stars. Sure these things are broken, but they are beautiful. The rose brought inside brings a smile and the night brings rest while the stars adorn it.
Your poem is very nostalgic. It contains personal memories, I am sure, but shared ones as well. I think over my life and can think of countless ways it is riddled with breakage. Yet, my scars, broken relationships, shattered belongings, lost time, etc. all make me who I am today. When we take a step back, beauty often exists, not despite its brokenness, but due to it. Perhaps this is not what your poem intended to say. Yet, I find it particularly moving.
“What’s Broken” is objectively beautiful as well. I love the inclusion of a near meter, but a broken one, as it is very fitting. The last couplet being incomplete is similarly meaningful. Your word choice and the intricacy of your imagery are captivating. All around, I am in love with this poem. I would be very curious to know a bit more about what your thoughts were as you were writing is. I would additionally be curious to hear more about you as an author. What moved you to begin writing?
I am honored to have the opportunity to reach out to you. Your poem has already had a significant impact on me. I believe that one day we will no longer be broken beings wrestling through the wreckage of a broken world and look forward to that day. Thank you for your inspiring words.
Dear E. Madingley-
Thank you for your beautiful letter which speak so well of our human brokenness which reflects the beauty of roses and stars as well as the scars we carry, both outside and in, that make us who we are. I also love that you paid such close attention to the meter of the poem and discovered its brokenness as well, including your observation of the final line, broken off from the couplets. It was merely an instinct to end the poem this way, the last line dangling, like a shard or a broken wing. I did not think of this while writing it but once I saw it and discerned its implication I found myself pleased with the result. Much of writing is this way. You follow the rhythms, rhymes and images as you feel your way through the poem. The writer E.L. Doctorow says “Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”
Of course, you must read many poems, as you have, and learn the craft of making them yourself, throwing away the failures but learning from them to make the next poem that might succeed. Poet’s must have the patience to fail and keep going, as toddlers keep trying, no matter how many times they fall, before learning to walk, and then learning to run, and then learning how to ride a bike. Our lives are made from such failures, as is our art.
As far as my thoughts while writing, they began by merely musing on what’s broken all around me and how that noticing might lead me to some discovery about myself and others. It was the question I asked that helped me to make my discovery: What hasn’t been broken? Once I looked out at the natural world it became clear to me that being broken isn’t a bad thing but mysterious and beautiful, even if it sometimes brings sadness and loss, like rain and the ache of missing someone. For me, missing someone is proof that I feel deeply and love others so much that it can be painful. I do think we must ache in order to feel true joy. And, I have sometimes ached with joy, like maybe how you can laugh so hard it hurts.
We are broken beings living in a broken world, but is that so bad? We are alive, we have our senses, our miraculous bodies, our minds and imagination. I love the last lines of Wallace Stevens' poem Sunday Morning where he writes:
We live in an old chaos of the sun,
Or old dependency of day and night,
Or island solitude, unsponsored, free,
Of that wide water, inescapable.
Deer walk upon our mountains, and the quail
Whistle about us their spontaneous cries;
Sweet berries ripen in the wilderness;
And, in the isolation of the sky,
At evening, casual flocks of pigeons make
Ambiguous undulations as they sink,
Downward to darkness, on extended wings.
One of the reasons I began writing is because of poems like this, and so many others, that inspired me, compelled me to write back to the voices that had spoken to me in poems. I simply wanted them to know I heard them. I wanted to reflect, in poems, the sadness and beauty of life on earth, which is as confusing as it is wondrous, to ask questions and listen to a voice speaking back to me in the far off distance.
Yours in poetry,
Dear Mrs. Laux,
My name is Rader. I am a sophomore at Westminster Schools of Augusta. I live in Augusta Georgia. I play football, basketball, and tennis for my school. I also love playing other sports in my free time like golf and bowling. I don’t know what my favorite class in school is, all I know is that it is not chemistry. In English this year we read Things Fall Apart, Basho’s travelogue, Night and Sudden Fiction Latino. One interesting aspect of my life is that I grew up in South Africa until I was 12.
I love your poem, "What’s Broken." You describe the world how you observe it to be faulty and broken. Your concrete diction does a great job in conveying this feeling of brokenness. I also like how you intentionally break off every two lines, symbolizing the brokenness of even your own poem. Another interesting aspect of your poem is how the whole poem is written in couplets until the last line, breaking the rhythm you began. This was my favorite poem we read all year, and one reason I believe this is because of how relatable it is. No matter who we are or where we are from, everyone is broken in some capacity. In the last line you describe your heart as a “blue cup fallen from someone's hand”. This is an excellent metaphor because it extrapolates your feeling of sadness. The verb fallen is also fascinating because it seems like you take some responsibility for “fall[ing]”.
If I may, I would like to ask what events in your life inspired this poem, or if you just thought about it. What is it like to live as a professional poet, what do you do in your daily life? Congratulations on your success and good luck in the future.
You sound like an interesting and well-rounded person! Sports and poetry makes a nice combination, bringing together the body and mind. I love Basho! Narrow Road to the Interior is a great book. And all those wonderful writers and stories in Sudden Fiction! Diaz, Borges, Cisneros, Allende. You are certainly getting a good education.
Growing up in South Africa must have been interesting, and then moving to Georgia. What a change. I first heard of South Africa through songs by Paul Simon who went there and wrote them with a South African band named Ladysmith Black Mambazo. I loved those songs. They were on his album Graceland. This one is called Under African Skies. There’s a live performance of it here.
These are the lyrics which read like a poem:
Joseph's face was black as night
The pale yellow moon shone in his eyes
His path was marked
By the stars in the Southern Hemisphere
And he walked his days
Under African skies
This is the story of how we begin to remember
This is the powerful pulsing of love in the vein
After the dream of falling and calling your name out
These are the roots of rhythm
And the roots of rhythm remain
Ladysmith became famous in the U.S. with a song called The Lion Sleeps Tonight which was written by the South African musician named Solomon Linda. Anyhow, just thought you might be interested to track down some of this music from your home country.
Thank you for reading my poem with such careful eyes, how you see the brokenness even in the form and style of the poem as well as in that final couplet, broken off from the others. I agree with you that we are all broken in some capacity, some deep way, and it is amazing to me that we can find words, images and metaphors to somehow describe these wordless feelings.
There is no one event that occasioned the writing of the poem. I just began by taking the idea or even asking the question of what’s broken and then made a list. I thought about all the things around me, and that led me to look out at the world and up at the stars where I realized everything is broken. Going back to singers I think of Lenard Cohen who wrote in his song Anthem:
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in
I guess that’s how I see it, too. Cracks are good, they let in the light.
The life of a professional poet is just a regular life, making the bed, doing the dishes, driving to the store or work and maybe going to a movie or concert. The only difference is that we try to write about it, find some meaning in the things we do and think and feel. Like painters we like images, like singers we love rhythm and music, like sculptors we like form, but most of all we love language and what it can and cannot do. I get up every day and tend my flowers, take walks, read a book late into the night, but I’m always thinking about how I could make a poem out of it. I sit down two days a week and write for a few hours. The rest of the week I take notes or pictures to remind me of what I might want to write about next time I sit down. I taught poetry for many years, first at the University of Oregon and then at NC State, so that was my day job. I just retired though so now my time is mostly my own which is nice for a poet!
Again Rader, thank you for your lovely letter and I wish you a life filled with poetry and music.
Yours in poetry,