Open Mic Night!
I woke up this morning already excited about this evening. I get to read some of my poems again! Out loud! In front of a friendly audience of children, young people, parents and friends of all ages. In the gym at the church. A fundraiser to help support our young people’s summer project in Philadelphia.
Despite my heavy-duty awesome age, I still feel like a little kid when I share bits of my life by way of my poetry.
I’ve never been one for writing or telling stories. I know a good storyteller when I hear or read one. That means I know I’m not One of Them. Though happy accidents do happen now and then.
Prose has been my main thing for most of my life. Yet I’m more than ready to let it take a back seat to poetry. In fact, when I reread some of my prose, I hear the poet in me already sneaking a poetic spirit into my prose.
I can’t help thinking about Emily Dickinson’s lovely poem, “They shut me up in Prose.” None of that flighty poetry stuff! We want to hear a story or a well-reasoned argument. Something we can take apart, piece by piece. Or at least keep under control. To keep you under control, of course.
The ability to write prose with an ear for cadence and choice of words got me where I am today. Not just as a student, educator and administrator, but as an adult woman whose childhood and youth were ruled by a relentlessly letter-of-the law father. Flights of poetic fancy were frowned upon. As were overt emotions spontaneously expressed. With the occasional exception of Christmas and birthdays.
When I read through early posts about my childhood and youth, I’m grateful for the ability to write prose. Yet even there I hear the cadences of poetry. Though it isn’t direct, it’s a persistent sign of life already aching for attention.
So tonight I get to revel in the poet I’m becoming. One step closer to the little girl and woman I am and have always been on the inside.
Am I going to give up prose? No way. I’m not locked up in anything–not in poetry and not in prose. Still, you can expect more poetry. A delightfully underground way of getting just about anywhere.
©Elouise Renich Fraser, 13 July 2018
Image found at resetco.org