Poetry: a selection


photo: snowy day
 
 
 
 
    Purdue U required undergraduate creative writing majors to spend two semesters in poetry workshops, and assigned me to those run by a kind and gentle elderly professor named Barriss Mills.  Dr. Mills believed poetry was the rhythm of the universe.  He knew in his heart of hearts, his soul of souls that  "All God's chillun could - - and should - - write poetry."

I tried to dodge the workshops, even offered to double up on other course work if Mills would give me a  "pass"  on poetry.  I explained I was beginning to think I understood the short story, might even have a novel in me some day, but though I loved reading it, poetry was altogether beyond my ken.  Mills wouldn't hear of my not coming to his workshops.  He was by gawd going to show me how very wrong I was.
 

some online poetry references:
The Poetry Searcher   |   Glossary of Poetic Terms   |   poetry links page
 
    In the course of my first semester with Barriss Mills, I discovered fruit punch sold in the Student Union was exactly the same color as, and even had a scent similar to  "Ripple Red,"  a fortified wine then popular  (i.e. almost as cheap as water)  with collegiates.  At least a third of the time I went to Mills' workshop sufficiently blitzed to slur words when he asked me to read, hoping he'd kick me out of class, though he wouldn't ever do me such a favor...

By the end of our second semester of being unhappily harnessed together by the university's unbending requirements, the good doctor appeared convinced I was the exception to his  "all God's chillun" rule...

Flash forward a few years:

During the decades I wrote absolutely no fiction, I took to cranking out something I never had the nerve to call poetry, pieces short enough to manage in the little time I devoted to writing it.  On a whim, after my stories began appearing here and there, I sent one of those shorter, stanza-chopped things  (I still wasn't willing to call them poetry)  to a lit quarterly.  To my profound and utter astonishment, they published the damn thing.  Since then I've placed a few others.

If Barriss Mills was still alive I would sure send him copies of those magazines, give that fine old man a chance to say  "Sloan, I told you so."
 

"a selection of poetry"
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This page was tweaked Tuesday, 2 August, 2005
 
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