Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Nice Knock at My Door

Much to my great delight, Garrison Keillor is featuring another poem of mine on The Writer's Almanac. The poem, After the Ice Storm My Son Does Not Come Home, is from my book, What Feeds Us.

I am again reminded how much patience poetry takes. My publisher sent the book to Mr. Keillor right after the book came out in October 2006. Now more than two years later, long after I stopped hoping to hear from him, I hear from him. And then hear from him again. This makes me hugely happy!

This is a poem I wrote, not surprisingly, during one of those beautiful but terrifying ice storms when the trees are weighed down with ice, when everything glistens, when the roads are a sheet of danger. I had three teenagers, each with a driver's license. Need I say more? You may have been there, too, awake, waiting for everyone to come safely home so you could go to sleep.

The poem was written as four separate, unrelated pieces of fast writing. Then I fused the parts together, found the link among the four parts. That, for me, is one of the most exciting parts of writing poetry, i.e., finding connections among things not apparently connected. The poem went through many, many drafts. It's a fairly simple poem, but one that I hope captures the beauty and terror of parenthood.

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  1. I heard this on the radio today and it seemed like a metaphor for the man I love and his struggle with addiction. He left yesterday on a trip to stay with family and hopefully clear out his demons. He hasn't admitted he's been using again but I know. I know the other reasons are excuses for him to get away and try again. What I really want is for him to come home to himself...the ice storm is like the frozen self of the addict; they don't grow and the warmth is sucked out of them.

    I used to wonder how it was that something I created for obscure and private reasons could hold meaning for somebody else. This is a perfect example of why we share art and how it transforms in the eye - or ear - of the beholder. Thank you for this poem.

  2. Congrats! It's great to catch up with everyone to find out they're doing well.


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