Lambs, listen to this! (oops...wrong blog!). The warm and wise Cloudia, authoress, blogger and friend to be treasured, has honored me with mention in a post today! After a stint with my head stuck firmly inside the freezer, to take the swelling down, I just had to share it with you, my readers.
In her post, Cloudia talks about 60s poet Rod McKuen. I came to his books just a little after the fact, in the 70s, and I loved them. Okay, I admit, I liked the glorious women in the photographs that went with the poems, too, with their long straight hair. There I was, furiously taking notes on what they were wearing, when I managed to read the poems as well. I can still recite some of them from memory. The thing is, Rod McKuen was not a "serious" poet. How many of you read serious poets? Show of hands? Anyone? Thought not. What he managed to do was speak to people, to their hearts. I thought, that's what I want to do. I want to write something people will read and say, ah, I have felt like that, too.
When I was young, long long ago, when great reptiles ruled the earth, I loved my music. I have recently posted all about my discovery of the amazing Laura Nyro. Around that same time, I heard a song called "Suzanne" that simply took me to another place, the way the best songs do.
"Suzanne takes you down to her place by the river,
You can hear the boats go by, you can spend the night beside her..."
These sensual lyrics were written by a Canadian named Leonard Cohen, who is also an award winning poet. Kind friends have compared me to Leonard Cohen, and also to Rod McKuen. Both comparisons please me immensely. Except for the man part. I do hope I look better in a skirt than they do. It's a close call. ;-)
In the 1980s, I reinvented myself, or perhaps more accurately, was given the divine grace to be reinvented, sober this time. My idol then, and evermore, was and is Joan Jett! Serious attitude, fem powa, you name it, she's got it.
"Ohhh....now I don't hardly know her...
But I think I could love her..."
Yes I know Tommy James wrote "Crimson & Clover." But Joan recreated it, better. I have always tried to keep Joan Jett in my heart, and not give a damn about my bad reputation! Amen.
But I'm a poet. So back to poetry. When I was 17, I walked over to the Little Professor Book Store in Birmingham, and dug up a softcover book of poems by a man named Grover Lewis, called "I'll Be There In The Morning If I Live." I sat outside on the library lawn and read it cover to cover and loved poetry from that moment, and "beat" poetry in particular, for years after that.
Fast forward to August, 2007. I visited the Dickinson Homestead in Amherst, Massachusetts. I had begun writing poetry again the year before, after twenty years of losing touch with it. Standing in the very room where she slept, composed, and dreamed, I felt her there. I mean that I felt that she was specifically aware of me being there and knew me. I can't explain any better than that. It was a transcendent experience, one of those things one is blessed with only a very few times in a lifetime. I have felt the spirit of Emily near me many times since then. It's undeniable and precious.
So there is some more about how this poet arrived at this place in this lifetime.
Once again, thank you Cloudia, for thinking of me with your post today. You are a gem and I love you.