On poetry

I was in English class, seventh grade, at St. Thomas School in Southington, Connecticut when the unexpected (for me) happened. We were reading poems from an anthology. We started that class with a selection from E. E. Cummings - anyone lived in a pretty how town. I remember everything about that moment -- the afternoon winter light hitting the page; the sense of play those words engaged in -- no sense, or nonsense, made sound -- all the while telling a story with a beginning, middle, and end; the joy and the sadness, both at once, that filled me as I finished the poem. That was a threshold moment for me; I was to be forever changed from that one specific encounter with a poem.

After that exchange with Cummings, I was open to poetry. I didn't exactly seek poems out at that age, I just allowed for their presence, whenever I encountered them. The magic didn't happen with every poem, but that it happened at all, and continued to happen again and again, eventually made me a seeker of poems. Poetry is the well that I keep returning to, day after day, year after year; it's pure sustenance in a distilled form.