On that day, one friend chose Elton John's song, Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding which we played on the monoaural phonograph and was then critiqued. It was as edgy as we got in a Catholic grade school in the 70's; as close to Room 222 or the Dead Poet's Society as you can get, I think.
I forget the poem I chose, some willowy poem about ocean waves and a cave cut into the rocks or some such thing. I do remember reading it and thinking "What the heck?". It was only after re-reading it a second, third and fourth time that I really started to understand the deeper meanings. When I presented that scenario to the class, the instructor, Mr. Gallett, the ultimate literary geek, came up to me after class and said "I really enjoyed your presentation, Jim. You obviously put some thought into it. Thank you."
It was that affirmation of something I had doubted was worth anything - my hack-analysis of a cryptic poem - that set the foundation for my interest in poetry for the rest of my life. So, you teachers and parents out there, don't ever discount the value of encouraging words for kids' artistic talents, loves and pursuits.
Today's poem comes from another of those encouraging people in my life. Kathie Giorgio is perhaps the most influential source of my writing success of the past few years. She's what I like to call a critical encourager. When I started in her class, the last thing I ever though was that I would fall into writing poetry, and, well, here I am. She writes a little poetry herself and has provided me some for this blog roll. I'll be posting a few of them over the course of the month.
Here's one for starters as well as more information about her other writing successes.
APRIL FOOL IN FLORIDA by Kathie Giorgio
In front of me
through the window,
a dark-skinned woman
body flowing in a burnt
orange dress exposed
back exposed arms
kinked and coiled hair held
back with a yellow silk
works under the raised hood
of her white service van.
White towels sharp against
her skin, soon streaked blackwith oil.
KATHIE GIORGIO’S third book, the novel, “Learning To Tell (A Life)Tiime,” was released in September of 2013 by the Main Street Rag Publishing Company. This is the sequel to her first novel, “The Home For Wayward Clocks,” released in 2011. That novel received the Outstanding Achievement award by the Wisconsin Library Association and was nominated for the Paterson Fiction Award. Her short story collection, "Enlarged Hearts," was released in April 2012. Her stories and poems have appeared in over a hundred literary magazines and in many anthologies. She’s the director and founder of AllWriters’ Workplace & Workshop, an international creative writing studio.