From Ina Roy-Faderman:
It happens every year: despite my having been part of the Fest for more than a decade, I learn things that really matter. I usually jot them down in my journal or diary and turn back to them when I want to remember. But this year, I realized that that’s kind of selfish. Learning’s such a gift (I’m a teacher, you’d think I’d have figured that out after all I’ve learned from my students) that it’s kind of obnoxious to not share it. So, I thought I’d share the best of this year’s list of gifts with you:
- There are the safe topics — the Important Topics taken on by Great Poetry — and then there are the things that matter, which may or may not be the same thing. I’ve received poems about homemade granola bars, bee stings, dusting on the day after a divorce goes through. So gorgeous and unexpected, I’m indebted to the poets who talk about what matters in their lives.
- I only just realized how perfect the word “duckling” is. It sounds exactly like what essence of a duckling is. If you’re the person who sent me that poem, a thousand thanks.
- I think of myself as the queen of the one-page poem, but…I should stop putting myself in that box. Over the past year, I’ve been writing shorter poems. For this fest, I sent out tiny, bite-sized, haiku-style poems. They captured something about my bit of the universe that I can’t share in longer poems. Weird, but true.
- Some people are both visual and word artists, and I’m not one of them. And that’s okay. That’s been a tough one – I’m one of those poets who buys or begs already made art postcards and puts my poems on them. There’s some childhood ick behind the whole visual art block that I’ll have to work through one day, but for now, I am more consciously grateful for the people who send me beautiful visual art with beautiful words beside them. Two gifts in one!
- I love the mix of old friends and new poets on my list. There are people on this year’s list that I’ve met in real life because of the fest, and new names in cities I looked up (thank you, Google Maps) because I’ve never been there. It’s like this huge net of connection; the feeling of getting postcards from all over must be what it felt like when telegraphs started connecting people around the country.
These are just a few of the things I learned, connections I made. What about you?