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Poetry and Magic (and Champagne)

Tomorrow, two of my former poetry students will visit Knoxville, and we'll have brunch.  Kristi Maxwell is driving in from Cincinnati, where she's getting her Ph.D. in creative writing.  Ashley Van Doorn will be driving in from Atlanta, where she's working in a bookstore.  She worked on her M.F.A. at the University of Oregon.   Both Kristi and Ashley took my "Dreamworks" class about eight years ago.   Ashley is also a sculptor.  When my last book of poems came out, she made a "magic box" for me, a la Joseph Cornell, to celebrate.  It sits on my desk and gleams with mystery, laughter, sorcery (it has a little bejeweled moose inside the glass cover). 

Kristi has a new first book of poems out, REALM SIXTY-FOUR, Ahsahta Press.  We'll celebrate with a champagne brunch at Calhoun's on Kingston Pike, where Chad Barger is the manager.   Chad was a former undergraduate of mine, and he always gives us special attention (and sometimes free dessert!)  This is family--the writing family, the dreaming family, kin.  

I've been teaching poetry since 1970.  Andy Brumer, who was in my first class at Rugters/Livingston College, wrote the preface to my new book of poems, PACKING LIGHT!   Andy was a pro golfer, who became interested in poetry in my "Poetry and Magic" class.  Now he writes regularly, and has published a book with U of Nebraska, THE POETICS OF GOLF!

Matt Urmy, a multi-talented musician and poet, took "Dreamworks" with me some years ago.  He recently interviewed me for PUBLIC REPUBLIC, and opened that beautiful new door for me. 

Teaching continues to pay me back in so many unexpected ways.     

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The Pay-off for Teachers

Marilyn, there are days when I really miss teaching full-time. Now I get my kicks from the feed-back from students I've met during this laureate gig, including poems from k-12 graders. I try to give back as much as I can, through the laureate blog and other "surprises" I send their teachers. Then, I get my own surprises in the work they send me. I guess their poems are the magic boxes, in my case. There's a great post on the ArtPark 4th graders that I put up a couple of days ago. And there's more coming from a group of 8th graders who are in a Special Ed. class. Finding their poems on the "comments" page is always like a gift.

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Their poems are the magic boxes!

I keep the thank you cards from pre-schoolers on my fridge! My favorite is done in red crayon, and has me flying with my hair as the cape--no arms--and red ballet shoes!

When does the Laureateship finish up?

love and rock on, Marilyn

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That sounds like a Chagall painting, you flying with hair-cape and red ballet shoes! I'll have to look up some of the poems from my visit to a school in Wilson, NC, but I do remember one of the little boys wrote, "We shore hope you come back/but next time bring some cake." Hey, not a bad slant-rhyme there. (I'd read the Piece of Cake laureate poem to them.)
The laureate gig ends in June. Dance on, ballerina poet!

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Adorable, that line from the boy in Wilson!

The kids are the best audience (when they like you!)  I've read to toddlers who crawled away after about ten minutes--where were the parents?  But that's a different story!

love and here's to flying, with colors and words! M