Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Inklings 10/4/10 - poems like forces of nature

Poets! Last night we wrote on the environment. So here we go: Start with a list of personal experiences with the outdoors or the environment. I'll give you a second to jot down five or ten things.


OK, got it? Next, I need you to make a list of news stories about or involving the environment. You should be able to get a pretty robust list going.

Once you've got that, here's a poem by Patricia Smith. It's from her book Blood Dazzler, which is all about Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.

She Sees What It Sees

The eye of Hurricane Katrina passes over New Orleans.

And the levees crackled,
and baptism rushed through the ward,
blasting the boasts from storefronts,
sweeping away the rooted, the untethered,
bending doors, withering the strength of stoops.
Damn!, like a mantra, drummed and constant comment
on the rising drink. Shit! Skirts shamelessly hefted,
pants legs ripped away, babies balanced in the air.
But still, acceptance, flurries of ha ha I'll be damned,
because breakage has always been backdrop
and water--well, water sears through them,
drenches their white garb and reveals a savior's face.
It has provided hard passage,
sparkled its trickery
and shepherded them
to death before.

See how she mixes the intense, almost biblical narrative of Katrina with these really personal details? OK, here's your assignment. You have a list of personal, probably minor experiences with the environment, and you have a list of huge environmental stories. I'd like you to use the personal experiences as a lens to talk about these bigger stories.

I'll give you about 30 minutes. Let me know if you need more time.

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