Thursday, July 8, 2010
Real Poetry--Wyoming Style
Pat lives on a ranch in Sundance, Wyoming and writes poetry. Real poetry. A couple posts ago I shared my feeble attempt at poetry during the Landscape & Literature of the Horse Retreat I attended back in June at the Vee Bar Ranch west of Laramie. (Okay, yes, I feel drawn to Wyoming and use any excuse to venture westward!)
I'll be the first to admit, however, there's a difference between Pat's poetry and mine. In fact, Pat's poem "Denial" was recognized in June by Ted Kooser, US Poet Laureate 2004-2006, in the American Life in Poetry. With Pat's permission, here is her poem:
He called it "his ranch,"
yet each winter day found her beside him
feeding hay to hungry cows.
In summer heat
you would find her in the hayfield--
cutting, raking, baling, stacking.
In between she kept the books,
laundered, fed bum lambs.
Garden rows straight,
canned jars of food
lined cellar walls.
Then she died.
I asked him how he would manage.
"Just like I always have," he said.
Amazing! Through a minimal amount of words I can picture each decade of this woman's life. Anyway, Pat shared her good news with me earlier this week, and I felt it was worthy to pass on. If you by chance pick up a copy of Grassland Genealogy (Finishing Line Press, 2009) you will see that Pat's writing style is in one sense heartwarming, like "Requiem In Lace", and in another sense frank and forthright, such as "Wringer Washer", a short poem that speaks of a woman's tenacity. Pat shares a way of life in the contemporary west through fragmented sentences and rhymes that speak to the heart and draws the reader to her spirit.
Maybe as our world gets smaller (as it sure seems to!) Wyoming will get closer to Minnesota and I won't have so far to drive next time!
(*Group photo is by Alice Liles, Muleshoe, TX; Landscape & Literature of the Horse Retreat, 2010)