Time to . . . catch up

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My blog is now four years and two months old. A long time actually, but a short time in my lifespan of seventy-one years. The past four years of writing poetry have been some of the most happy and satisfying times of my life. I’ve become an active part in a small community of writers–people like me who, for all kinds of reasons–simply find expression in verse to be an important part of who they are.

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I named this blog, “A Poet in Time” because I realized I was just another small cog in the wheel that is written expression and that is humanity. We exist for a brief time on this world, and each of our lives is unique. Every one of us is completely different from all others that have lived or will live. There is such magic in that idea. 

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After blogging here for fifty months, I wonder how this blog will evolve. It began as a way for me to push myself into writing something each week. It then became a venue to share poems that were published. I continued to write free verse poetry, but the past two years have seen a switch to the writing of Japanese short-form poems such as haiku, senryu and tanka. I’ve also fallen in love with creating haiga and tankart, both of which have pushed me into working with visual images and linking them with poems, letting picture and words complete one another in a unique way. 

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The poetry community in the Japanese short-form poems world is a welcoming one. I’ve made friends with and received incredible guidance and mentoring from other writers. Some of those friends I have never met since they live on the other side of the world. Others I have met here in the states and in the UK. I consider all of these friendships to be a blessing and a gift. People make such connections and on occasion these become collaborators in writing. I love writing with other poets. Collaborative or responsive writing is an exercise in trust and openness. Two minds create one piece. Two poets enter into it, not knowing what the end product will be, but the process is the best part (for me, at least). Giving and sharing ideas–taking someone’s verse and linking to it and writing a response that works with the whole thing–well, it’s an experience that is unlike other writing experiences, even regular poetry workshops.

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I was invited to give a talk on Collaborative Writing in April, 2018 at “Haiku Holiday,” a full day devoted to haiku related writing. This is an annual event of the North Carolina Haiku Society (of which I am an active member). It was an honor to do this, and I shared my experiences, most of which were in responsive tanka writing. The two forms are related. Tanka has been written for over 1300 years. Later, Renga with its Hokku came into being in the 14th century, and in the 16th century, Haiku evolved from the Hokku verse of renga. It was a long and fascinating evolution. If you are interested in the history of these forms, I recommend an article written by Tanka Poet and editor,Amelia Fielden:  

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http://www.tankaonline.com/About%20Tanka%20and%20Its%20History.htm

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In the Japanese courts, people wrote tanka responsively, and it was also a simple communication between lovers. Collaborative writing has a long, long history that continues today.

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My sister recently asked me if I ever write “long” poems any more, and I had to pause and think. I’ve been working so hard at trying to write passable short form poems that my practice in longer (aka free verse) poetry has dwindled down to very little.

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Perhaps a goal for my fifth year of blogging will be to find a balance between short and longer poems. Who knows? Maybe something else will happen. That’s the fun of writing–it evolves as we evolve and grow.

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I’ll be posting a bunch of poems that have been published in recent months–I fell behind because real life called (as it does now and then). 

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For those of you who have followed my blog over the past four years, thank you. I hope you will continue to do so.

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With all best wishes,
Mary

 

Note: The article I refer to is About Tanka and Its History by Amelia Fielden. It appeared in Tanka Online.

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Photograph (c) Kristin Sanderson

 

11 thoughts on “Time to . . . catch up

  1. Thanks for sharing your journey, Mary. I have enjoyed your various forms of poetry. I have made a note to myself to read deeper into the things you hint at and refer to. I have also come to value to community of writers from all over the world – blog world…..

    Liked by 1 person

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