Texas Poets Laureate

Karla K. Morton: New and Selected Poems (2010), TCU Texas Poets Laureate Series

The Wonder Is: New and Selected Poems 1974-2004 by Jan Epton Seale

Poems require a particular kind of attention, and I can absorb the dense phrasings of poetry only in small doses.

In 2011, I met both the 2010 and the 2012 Texas poets laureate.  I purchased a book by each writer and these volumes provided me with fertile sources for daily poetry “devotionals.”

In the spring, Karla K. Morton (2010 Texas Poet Laureate) led a lively writer’s workshop at a Schreiner University conference organized by Kathleen Hudson.  A cancer survivor, Karla is vibrant and warm, and she provided participants with compelling prompts to write their own words.  Her poems reveal both a passion for living and a poignant thoughtfulness:

But the birds still remember

what was passed down through the ages;

they still remember the yearning

written on those pages.

See how they gather, out my window, undismayed–

each one of them singing

the song of your name.

–final stanza of “Electronic Quills”

Jan Epton Seale (2012 Texas Poet Laureate) led a memoir workshop at Gemini Ink in San Antonio in July. She is funny and articulate, a lovely woman from the Rio Grande Valley.  She writes personal poetry rich with wisdom from her roles as teacher, mother, wife, daughter:

Mother,

when I try to say you,

you change in my mouth to a myth

told beside a fire to children

lest they forget who they are.

–first stanza of “Mother”

In Thornton Wilder’s classic play, Our Town,  the character Emily asks:  “Does anyone ever realize life while they live it . . . every, every minute?”
The Stage Manager replies, “No.  Saints and poets maybe . . . they do some.”  Reading poems–and occasionally writing our own–can help us realize life, be aware of its preciousness, a little bit more.

WRITING PRACTICE

Complete and elaborate on the following:  The _______________ still remember what was passed down through the ages. 

Complete the following:  Mother, when I try to say you . . .

Or:  Grandfather, when I try to hear you . . .

Try your own variation.

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