I found the following lines in Louise Gluck’s poem “Echoes” from her book Averno: “From our kitchen garden / you could see the mountains, / snow covered, even in summer. / I remember peace of a kind […]
When I was in high school, I carried poetry notebooks that I made all of my friends read. When I read most of them now, I can tell how I felt in those poems, but I have no idea what I was talking about in some of them. I was very dramatic about everything. Actually, I still find myself being dramatic every now and then.
When I first read Marie Howe’s poem “What the Living Do” which I found in a literature textbook, I was moved to tears. I was experiencing grief from my parent’s separation. The poem spoke to me because Howe addresses the poem to her brother Johnny who is dead. She talks to him as if he can listen to her. She tells him how living means experiencing the unpleasant moments like spilling coffee on oneself, hurrying, and having a bag of groceries break. She ends the poem by telling him that she remembers him, and even though she doesn’t say she misses him, one can tell that she does.
I’m with you. Like you I’m waiting for my breakthrough.
Out of frustration and out of inspiration I write here.
First, because even when literary journals or magazines have rejected my works, I refuse to believe that my writing isn’t worth publishing. Second, because Etty Hillesum, a not-so-well-known writer died too young and with her died her dream of becoming an established author. (Eight of her diaries were published in one book, but that doesn’t mean that’s all the writing she had to offer the world.)
I can’t let others write my story. Not anymore. To be honest, I don’t even know that my story is being told.
It has become too dangerous to wait until literary journals or magazines give my work approval. I can assure you that my story like your story is the story someone else is looking for right at this moment.
Lately, I’ve been writing with a combination of more urgency, more purpose, and more transparency.