March 26, 2017

I never took a college course on poetry. That is still on my bucket list, but I had a father who loved poems and read them often. I have mentioned before that well into his later years he could recite many poems from memory that he learned as a boy and young man. Every year, I find myself drawn more and more to poetry although I’m not sure exactly why.

When I need to find stillness inside or need a dose of beauty, I will often turn to poetry. Most often, I read Mary Oliver, Billy Collins, Wendell Berry, or other modern poets. Their works are accessible and beautiful to me.

Today, I am inspired by the story of another poet and am eager to read her works. You may already know Anne Porter’s works, but she is new to me. What inspires me is that she didn’t publish her first book of poems until the age of 83! She wrote as a young woman, but put her writing away when raising her five children with painter, Fairfield Porter. The Writer’s Almanac Extra March 25, 2017 Edition (an online newsletter) contained this explanation:

After his death, she realized how alone she was, and began to rifle through her old notebooks, rereading uncompleted poems. She even bought a book called Getting Organized and dutifully arranged her drafts, brought out her Olivetti typewriter, and began rewriting. She revised, crossed out, and coated her poems in Wite-Out, which amused her friends. One of them, fellow poet David Shapiro, secretly submitted her poems to a press, which promptly accepted them. Anne Porter’s first book, An Altogether Different Language, was published (1994) when she was 83 years old.

I guess the thing that inspires me most is that she was still learning and growing at age 83 and beyond. In 20 years, I wonder if  I will be looking back on this blog and and through my journals. What will I see worth keeping? What will I revise and see through new eyes? Will I have different words for my memories?

Anne Porter

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4 comments on “March 26, 2017

  1. Patricia says:

    Great story. Still learning and growing at 83!

  2. smcninch says:

    What a wonderful post and tribute to poets. I, too, just heard about Anne Porter and her “life-“long learning journey. I am inspired to buy her book now!

  3. Sonja Schulz says:

    oh, I just loved this line: “When I need to find stillness inside or need a dose of beauty, I will often turn to poetry.” YES! Off to read some Anne Porter!

  4. maestradl says:

    I love poetry too, especially Mary Oliver and Wendell Berry. Thanks for the recommendation – I’ll go check out Anne Porter now as well! I also appreciate the ways that learning is honored later in life.

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