Tuesday, April 15, 2014

npmtj 15: Ellicott City, MD




Today's stop on my NPM Tour is at Author Amok with Laura Shovan.  (In reality I'm in a rented cottage in Addison, PA, not to far from my family's Spring Break destination of Fallingwater, using a house computer!)

Laura always has original and thought-provoking ideas for post series, and this NPM  she has recruited 17 other writers to guest post on a source poem. (I think I have noticed that this collaborative approach to blogging is becoming more common, and not only during April!)  As Laura writes,
"We all have favorite poems. But I've been thinking about something a little deeper: source poems. Poems that we draw like water from a well, again and again, to quench some thirst."

Laura's most recent guest is Jacqueline Jules, a writer whose work I do not know (yet).  She chooses a Langston Hughes poem that I do know but had not adequately considered before now:  "Mother to Son."  Jacqueline generously shares that life for her, as well, "ain't been no crystal stair," but beyond that, she calls this poem "as close to an ethical will as I could ever write to my own sons and grandchildren."  For Jacqueline, this poem expresses a fundamental belief about the work of life, but conveys it through an emotion-rich voice.

Jacqueline's post differs from some of the other guests' in that she focuses on the meaning of the poem as a source in her life.  Others have written about how their source poems mentor their own writing, and Laura herself connects her source poem ("This Is Just to Say") both to her sensibilities as a poet and to a charged moment in her autobiography as a writer.  I'll be visiting Author Amok regularly this month to enjoy the sourcework!