Thank you for your letter! And thanks too to your teacher at Butternut Middle School for including our Dear Poets project in your curriculum. Some teachers are wary of teaching poetry in middle school, afraid that their students won’t like it or will feel shut out if they don’t know every last thing about dactyls and metonymy, which is a great shame, I think: poems should be part of our daily sustenance.
I’m so glad you liked “Heliotrope.” And yes, indeed, I often go to the Olivier Theatre: part of my yearly, if not alas my daily, sustenance. Our summer visits there begin in late February, when I get up in the middle of the night wherever I am so that I can go online and book our tickets promptly at 8:30 am London time (that’s 3:30 am in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where I live.) This year we’re going to see three early Chekhov plays – Ivanov, Platonov, and The Seagull – as well as The Threepenny Opera there. The theatre is just about as crucial to my happiness as poetry is.
What makes me want to write poems? Part of the reason is that I’ve always loved words. I love the way they sound, the way they feel in the mouth and the throat, the way they connect us with other people living and dead, the way they offer comfort or clarity or an opportunity to experiment with how we feel and how we present ourselves to the world. And poetry has always felt to me like the most exacting, the most concentrated form of language. I never really know what I think until I discover what I think in words. In poetry, thinking and feeling are inseparable, so what I discover there is whole. Or as close as I can come to whole.
I hope you have a wonderful summer, including some real-life encounters with those blue-going-violet blossoms. Keep reading poems!