I spent a big chunk of last weekend surrounded by poets at the fourth annual Northwest Poets’ Concord in Newport, Oregon. Approximately 140 of us met at the Hallmark Inn & Resort overlooking the Pacific. Sunshine and a sparkling blue ocean provided the backdrop for our explorations of poetic verbiage.
Ditto for poetry. Who else would spend a gorgeous beach day in a hotel meeting room talking about things like line breaks, themes, and inspiration and listening to dozens of poets read their poems in that slow every-word-means-something manner that is standard for poetry?
Everyone seemed to have a sheaf of fresh poems in their purse or backpack. It’s like a secret passion we all share. Reminds me of the dart-throwing convention with which I shared my hotel last week in Portland. Dart-throwing? They have conventions? I wonder about the wisdom of mixing cocktails with darts, but they seemed to be having fun.
Last year, I wrote a lot of poetry during the Concord. This year, it was more a weekend of listening and absorbing. However, I did write a poem a day in April for one of the National Poetry Month challenges. Here’s one that I read at the Concord.
Warm from the tub the woman sat on the floor,
naked except for her woolly robe,
and applied an orange plastic razor
to the stubble on her legs.
The dog, lonely, lay her heavy head
on the woman’s lap and watched,
scrape, scrape, scrape, scrape,
until the woman sighed, running her hand
along her smooth, hairless skin.
The dog looked up, bewilderment
wrinkling the fur between her ears,
wordlessly asking, “Why did you do that?”