"dazzle gradually"

"Dazzle Gradually" 2017 poems, paintings, new art & photography--a diary, a discipline, a delight. Read over my shoulder as I post my unedited poetry ---you can see it in the raw or get my first book and see how the work evolves with new books rolling out next year.

Polly Alice

Friday, July 23, 2010

Li-Young Lee

Li-Young Lee wrote the first poem that changed my life.  My poetry professor, Christine Perrin, introduced our 101 class to his work.  I didn't know then, twelve years ago, that I would become great friends with Christine, that she would give me a reference for a Master's in writing, that I would write poetry myself (I only wanted courses to help me learn to write for children).
Twelve years ago, I had no idea poetry was the answer to my senior thesis as a painting major, the answer to my search for words, the answer to lost memories, to our first house burning down, to the loss of our second daughter, and to every loss and gain life has to offer.

A friend of mine, who has been my "Marilla," the woman who told it to me straight while I sat on a chair and complained about how my feet hurt, knew that Li-Young Lee was important to me, even when I had forgotten all about it. 

She went out of her way to have him sign a copy of his book, "Rose," published in 1986.  Lee uses the word rose in much of his poetry.  He signed the book this way,

"Polly, Roses we
burn, opening
mystery &
Li-Young Lee"

Neither he, nor I, could know that I too would try my hand at poetry;  I would begin to use the word rose as a small word picture; work on a group of poems about "the seed of fire;" that our poetry would spill into other's lives-- changing them as only words can.  Only in poetry, I think, the words are stronger together than they could ever be alone.

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