Intentional Reading: "A Thousand Mornings" by Mary Oliver and "Rhapsody" by Michael Fitzgerald

in poetry •  last month 

Hello all, been a little while since I last checked in! Admittedly young as I am, one of my biggest struggles in both having a 40/hr day job and splitting the rest of my free time between more endeavors that one would think possible on a good day, much less an "it's two pm and I'm still woefully lurking about in my extravagant pjs with merely the illusion of grace and productivity" day. Alas, I have yet to return from my hiatus with the secrets of the universe in hand, but I do have some observations about my favourite subject: poetry.

Often, I like to partake in what I refer to as "intentional reading". As a career poet, with a limited amount of time in the day, one of the best tools to expand my vernacular and accomplish two goals at once (reading and working on poetry) is to read a pretty wide range of poetry chapbooks and focus on the techniques, language, what makes it stand out, lines I like, words I like, unique imagery, etc, etc. Margins are heavily notated, my own writing is (hopefully) expanded.

A Thousand Morning Rhapsody

Mary Oliver is well-known, award winning, established in a myriad of circles, mourned heavily just within this past year. Career poet renowned for her flashes of life, attention and expansion of simplistic detail, encapsulating sense of motion and fluidity, her poetry reads like an album of polaroids. Give them time to settle in and develop, and they will stick with you vividly, conjuring variations on a familiar emotion every time you open the album.

Michael Fitzgerald's book, "Rhapsody", seems to be known only as far as the description on its back cover. The listings on Amazon are few and far between, little information exists about the author, and I manually added the book to Goodreads upon discovering that it didn't already exist. The back cover lists the book as the finished product resulting from a writing workshop, and yet, it harnesses much of what I already knew that I loved about Oliver's writing. Self-described as a "book-length love poem", each page contains a segment of nine lines, snapshotting much in the same way as "A Thousand Mornings" the stillness of each individual moment and emotion. I took to notating whatever oddly specific emotion I found mirrored on each page.

Perhaps I shouldn't admit it to my audience of three devoted listeners, but I'm not sure quite what the moral of this post is: only that I'm coming to see poetry more and more as a giant web of words, ideas, techniques, images, that captures all writers and readers at some point, if only for a moment, unveiling to them all of the beautiful, albeit occasionally unexpected, connections.

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