Poetry Sparks

A commons for sharing images, quotes, stories, and observations that - given the right mix of oxygen and kindling - might ignite a little poetic inspiration...

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Costumes and poetry

Tonight I volunteered at our local children's museum for their Halloween event. From my post as the "greeter" at the front door I had the treat of seeing the wide variety of costumes that people were wearing - babies and toddlers dressed as cows, ducks, monkeys, pumpkins, and princesses; elementary-aged children as princesses, Power Rangers, superheroes, superstars, Disney and storybook characters (including Snow White, Tigger, and Thomas the Train), dragons, ladybugs, vampires, angels, and of course, lots of little witches. Even a few adults and teens joined in the fun, wearing some of the scarier costumes.

This got me to thinking about poetry for different moods, like poems that frighten us, inspire us, make us want to hug our family, or draw us out of doors. Think about poems that fit these different moods. Poe has the gift of goth; poems by Naomi Shihab Nye, Linda Pastan, and Li Young Lee make me reflect on my family; Mary Oliver's and Stanley Kunitz's poetry makes me want to be closer to nature. Then there are poets like Mark Doty whose work challenges you to ponder things about yourself, and Billy Collins and Tony Hoagland who make you laugh while you read. What are the poets you turn to when you're in various moods?

I also thought about how we dress up our poems in other poet's "clothes" sometimes, trying on the sonnet form here and lush light imagery there, or ending a poem with a question that simultaneously closes and opens it. Sometimes we borrow clothes because it's fun and sometimes we do it because we haven't found our own style yet. Have you played dress-up with your poetry lately?


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