Thursday, April 4, 2013

Celebrating National Poetry Month

A few years ago, a friend was planning a concert for Valentine's Day.
"And, Leanne," she said. "I want you to participate."
The stage? Me? I was scared but I wanted the rush. 
"I want you to," she continued. "Write a poem."
 I'm no poet. I wanted to tell her. But if I do she'll find someone else, I worried.
So I went home and set to work. I was proud of the result.
I read my offering to my friend.
After I was finished I read her face. She wasn't pleased. "It's okay. But it's not romantic. This is a concert for Valentine's Day. We need romance."
Romance? Me? I can't write romance.
"You're married."
"Happily," I added.
"You're happily married. You're a writer. Write a romantic poem." She set the challenge.
To safe face, I knew I had to produce. But I didn't even know how to start. 
I need help, I told myself. 
From who?
A master.

I found Elizabeth Barrett Browning. I found...

How Do I Love Thee? (Sonnet 43)

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light,
I love thee freely, as man strive for right,
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise,
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith,
I love thee with with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life: and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Here, I read that 'Elizabeth was so in love with her new husband that she wrote a volume of poems for him:  Sonnets from the Portuguese... 'How do I love thee, let me count the ways' is the most famous of these poems. 

Inspired by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, I allowed by love for my husband to lead me and produced...


She'd never been in love before.
She feared it would never come.
She feared she would spend her life alone -- heart withered and deformed.
No eye would fill with the sight of her.
No heart would beat for her alone.

But then, but then he had found her.
He -- the sight of him makes her yearn.
He comes to her and her pulse races.
His velvet voice stirs her blood.
He draws her close and they are alone in the universe.
The love for which she has sought.
For which she feared would never come.
Is born, breathes, and engulfs them.

I read my poem to my friend.
She said, "Oh. Oh, Leanne. That's perfect."
"Well, I think I should--"
"No don't you change a word," she told me.

Every Thursday, for the entire month of April, we will celebrate Poetry
Please visit this site:  The League of Canadian Poets
Burnaby Writers' Society short story writing contest 
Deadline:  May 31st
Click this link for details
Now allow me to celebrate the success of my friend Kelly Dycavinu
Kelly writes...

I recently won 2nd place in two different writing contests. The first is a quarterly contest for flash fiction (which you may also want to check out and enter).
Current contest details are linked here:
An interview with me here: (April 2nd)
The second is the Royal City Literary Arts Society Contest


I was a month behind, and I didn't even know it. I only discovered I was when I discovered a new blog--well, knew to me, maybe not knew to you: Rebecca Belliston's blog. All through the entire month of March Rebecca ran what she called 'March Book Madness'. She writes:  'If you're new to March Book Madness, it's an excuse for me to discuss everything about writing, editing, and reading books with some amazing authors and readers.' So pop on over to Rebecca's blog to catch up on the month that was. 

Sharing my author journey...

Experience has taught me that it's very important to keep a hard copy of all manuscripts. I know this. And yet. Do I? Hmm, no. And so I'm working to correct this oversight.
Tuesday I printed off and re-read No, Smoke the Other End. I still love it. But I discovered, to my surprise, that my writing has improved since I wrote it. So I was able to strengthen a few scenes. Yes! 
Then yesterday, and early this morning, I got a brainwave about a new scene for Is the Reverend Dead? So today I'll be working on that.
I wonder, Is re-reading old manuscripts and making progress on new ones related?

Next post:  Author Kay Stewart's article Craft-y Crime


Laurie Buchanan said...

Your poem, Devotion, is beautiful. Simply beautiful.

Leanne Dyck said...

: ) Thank you for your comment, Laurie.