Poetry: Last week I went to a poetry workshop titled “Poetry Everywhere” where I learned about found poetry. The facilitator, a performance poet, suggested we not only think of ourselves as creators, but curators; collectors instead of isolated composers. If we listen to the world around us–the bus plowing through slushy puddles, a conversation overheard at the gas station, the father singing a lullaby–and record what captures our attention, poetry will emerge. Our task is to be present, almost meditative, then re-arrange and select the words from the raw verse that already exists. Found poetry is harnessing the lyrical energy of the world around us. It is capturing the poetic potential of everyday life.
One activity during the session was to build a poem from random phrases that we pulled while flipping through the pages of a book. Next, we listened to the radio for ten minutes while jotting down words that jumped out at us. After listening, we had 5 minutes to shape a poem from the words we had scraped together. The segment on air (an interview on Pharmacare) wasn’t particularly suited to poetry, but when everyone shared what they had written, meaning was found. Our instructor* told us about working at a festival collecting poetry, by eavesdropping and paying attention, and then performing it at the end of the event. Imagine the possibilities! Besides arranging a photographer for your wedding, anniversary, funeral, or big party, you could hire a wandering poet. Someone who would note spoken bits and pieces and form it into something beautiful (or witty/sad/funny/smart) to capture the spirit of the celebration. Or you could do it yourself!
But here’s the kicker. (And you know by now there’s always a confession, or ironic detail, lurking in the shadows of every blog post ever written.) While I write this I’m wearing ear plugs; the fluorescent orange sponge is slowly swelling in place to block out life around me. I know. I couldn’t be more hypocritical even if I tried. Sometimes the poetry of our circumstances is more abrasive than we’d like; more gangsta rap than Robert Frost. But don’t let that deter you. Go ahead and try this at home, maybe during supper hour at the table, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Ropes and Carabiners: Lately, there’s been a lot of knot tying, harness rigging, and literal hanging-around happening here. It’s inspired partly by Stan’s nostalgia for his days on Denali, the kids’ natural love of climbing, and an up-coming trip…
Ratios: Have you seen this book? I ordered it for Susanna so she can take her experimental cake-baking to the next level. Both the cake we made on Saturday and the pancakes on Friday morning turned out great. And, they were gluten-free.** The book is written for conventional wheat baking and cooking but I’m learning about the chemistry of food and how it translates to gluten-free ingredients. I think we may have to make a painting of the wheel on the cover to hang in our kitchen.
Easter: We started celebrating Easter a little early this year by attempting GF “resurrection rolls”. They failed miserably. While Belén and Susanna peered through the oven door, surveying the mess on the cookie sheet, I reminded them that just because our rolls didn’t turn out with perfect airy centers didn’t mean Jesus didn’t rise from the grave. I’m not sure I’ve ever felt comfortable comparing Jesus to a marshmallow anyway; the power of a metaphor only extends so far.
Also, on Saturday night we included our kids for the first time in a tradition Stan and I have been following for years. We read one whole book of the Bible out-loud, from start to almost finish. We always do Mark, because it’s the shortest, and because it’s a good one to see what the main character of Easter is about. (But mainly because it’s the shortest gospel.) And we always eat bread and olives and drink wine. Every time we do it we have lots to talk about; there are things we’ve forgotten, questions to ask, and exclamations to make. We stop reading right near the end, after Jesus is crucified, and leave our open Bibles on the table. The excitement is almost like hanging up a stocking, but different. Then the next morning we finish the story. Because the ending is the reason anybody remembers what happened and why the whole world is still talking about it.
Looking for poetry and Easter everywhere,
*To learn more about Shayna Stock check out her site. She is based in Regina,SK but she travels and is willing to work remotely.
** My latest efforts with an all-purpose GF mix include 40% whole grains (millet, buckwheat, and sorghum) and 60% starches, by weight. I am finally hooked on using a kitchen scale for baking.