Sunday, April 19, 2009

My Cup Runneth Over

That is, my mug runneth over. Today Garrison Keillor is featuring another of my poems from What Feeds Us. I'm feeling enormously lucky, grateful, and happy. And thank you so much to all the amazing people out there who took the time to listen to and read Thursday's poem and then write me a nice note. I really appreciate it!

Today Keillor is featuring Blueberry, one of several food-related poems in the collection. I am so pleased that Keillor chose this poem as it's one I often use when giving workshops. It works with poets of all ages. The poem and the prompt will also appear in a new textbook coming out soon from Autumn House Press.

I began the poem several years ago during a week at the Provincetown Fine Arts Center in Massachusetts. Having time and space to myself for an entire week, I wanted to get as much writing done as possible. Sometimes, though, it takes more than time and space.

One evening I found myself facing the blank sheet with a head just as empty. So I thought about the fruit salad I'd had for lunch that day, especially the plump blueberries. I then began a free-writing about the blueberry, largely just descriptive—size, shape, color, and so on. Not surprisingly, I was not overly thrilled with what I produced. I put the writing away in my folder—I never throw out any of my writing.

Sure enough, when I looked through that folder several months later, I saw potential in the draft that I hadn't seen before. And I remembered my mother's fondness for blueberry pancakes, so I added on something about that. Then I thought I wanted to know more about the blueberry, so I did a Google search and uncovered some interesting pieces of information, e.g, that the blueberry is the state fruit of New Jersey—I live in NJ and didn't know that. I also learned that the little blueberry is great for fighting urinary tract infections and is rich in antioxidants. I imported some of that information and diction into the poem. I began to think of the blueberry metaphorically, and that's when the poem took off.

Time, patience, persistence. Then maybe a poem gets hatched.

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  1. Man, man, man, DIANE!!!!! Three poems on the Writer's Almanac!? You are something else. Many congrats to you, dear, and also on your poems coming out in various anthologies. I looooved Blackberry. It makes me want a stack of bb pancakes in that reverse universe.

  2. "Blueberry" is lovely. Traces the arc of noticing something back through finding the core memory that births its resonance. Beautiful. Thanks.


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