In the famous poem "Stopping By a Woods on a Snowy Evening," Robert Frost's narrator is tempted by the deathly quiet of the wintry woods, but is reminded that life, with its "many promises to keep," still pushes him forward. I don't know if leading with Frost in my email last week asking Red Room to blog about winter was the reason, but I am blown away by the quantity and quality of poems that Red Roomers shared in their blog posts on the topic of winter. Even most of the entries that were ostensibly prose had a lyrical feel that we haven't seen since we started the blog topic of the week.
With almost eighty blog posts this week (thank you!), it was difficult to choose three to feature.
Harrison Solow gets us started with a rich poem full of winter imagery. With the warmth of family indoors contrasted with the crisp, cracking cold outside, she skillfully evokes what many of us think of the season in "Canadian Winter."
For her first post on Red Room, new member Delia Quigley shares a delicious recipe for cassoulet. What makes her post so special beyond the sensual delight of the dish's preparation is that she frames it within a day characterized both by bracing work out in cold and productive time with her writing. Don't miss "Cassoulet on a Winter's Day."
Back to Canada again for one of the best examples of a writer writing lyrical prose. John Parker Oughton reproduces the "satisfying crunch" and "rhythmic sshh-sshh" of cross-coutry skiing and finishes with the hope for spring that sustains so many through a long winter. Enjoy "Winter Kept Us Warm."
These three bloggers will receive copies of of Red Room author Peter Conners's debut poetry collection, Of Whiskey and Winter. Named as a Best Book of Poetry for Fall Reading in 2007 by the Monserrate Review, the collection has been described as being packed with "keen sensitivity, dreaminess, and wit." Peter has since published a second prose poetry collection, Emily Ate the Wind, and a memoir, Growing Up Dead: The Hallucinated Confessions of a Teenage Deadhead.
Whether driven by nostalgic memories (Blair Kilpatrick) or painful ones (Fran Johns and Farzana Versey), merriment in the present , or dread of the future, bloggers went back again and again to the five senses. Expressing that kind of deep, basic feeling works best in visual art or in poetry, so maybe it's not surprising that so many of you wrote poetry or lyrical prose. One of you went even further: Lance Foster's contribution is a video of his reading of "Stopping By a Woods." Here are some examples of especially vivid imagery in the winter blogs:
- In just a few lines, Mara Buck portrays vibrant life and sudden death in the winter flight of "The Black Crow."
- Ron. Lavalette also takes to winter skies with meticulous images in "From The Hill."
- Rosy Cole proposes a winter that is restful and full of the promise of life after a cruel spring and summer in "If Winter Comes."
- War in winter—an Afghanistan winter—is David Moolten's subject in "Blizzard, Afghanistan."
- C.B. Mosher shows how living on different continents makes winter mean different things in "Sense of Winter."
- You really should read Magdalena Ball's "Boat Yard" out loud and let its conflicts over love snap around your ears.
Finally, this quote from Eric Nichols about his first winter as an Alaskan made us smile:
"Someone had told me that once you get below zero, it all feels the same. They lied." Brrrrr!!
There are many more equally worthwhile entries this week. I hope you'll take some time and look through the full list and comment on some of your favorites. Thanks as always for blogging!
–Huntington W. Sharp, Editor, Red Room