Monday, April 20, 2009

National Poetry Month

I went to the Utah State Poetry Society convention over the weekend. I heard some wonderful poetry. I wasn't going to go, but the contest chair called me and asked me to read the winners in one of the categories. I was so glad I went. There is nothing like hearing a poet read his/her own poems.

And here's the good news: I got an honorable mention for this lovely little ditty (warning--it's kind of weird!):

The Offering

The kitchen drawer paring knife
with the bent tip
pierces the skin between
the long thin foot bones above the
second and third toes.
not a clean, smooth scalpel drawn line of blood
but a jagged, meat-torn window
to where the bones are.

That’s what I’m after:
The bones.

I remove them, one by one,
from the right foot
and pile them,
clean and white,
like kindling
on a clean white plate
with a chipped rim
carefully placed on a clean white cloth
with one frayed edge
at the head of the dining room table.

Thin, delicate, unbroken.

I harvest the bones to the ankle.
I pause.
Why am I doing this? I ask myself.
And I can’t recall.
I just know it must be done.

The newly emptied fleshy flap of skin
sags at an awkward angle
from my right ankle
as it rests on my left knee.

Enough, I say.
And it is enough.

And the big news is . . . I won FIRST PLACE in the sonnet/villanelle category for my winter sonnet!!!!! I was soooooooo excited. I was up against some very good, very experienced poets. I recognized the names of three of the people who placed LOWER than I did!!! I BEAT THEM!!!!!! Huzzah! I've been validated!

This frigid wintry wind still blows forlorn;
From blue-black north the steel-grey clouds are sent.
The mountains with white fur themselves adorn,
And with that heavy fur, the firs are bent.
Look! Lacy crystals, gossamer they seem;
Yet look again, their jagged edges found.
And sifting down from heaven? No, they teem--
Collide, cascade, conflict, contend, crash down.
Benumbed are all by endless brumal skies;
All flesh is bit with brisk and bitter breath.
Abysmal, boundless winter -- future lies,
Hell frozen o’er, in truth’s a hellish death.
What’s this? In snow, a crocus head I see.
Thou, Winter, who deals death, soon dead shall be.

I was pleased with it all. There are some incredible poets in this state! I was happy to rub shoulders with them for a moment.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

It's been a while . . . (update)

  • Spring break was nice, but it was hard to come back to school yesterday.
  • Let the countdown begin--31 days until summer!
  • School budget issues are getting me down.
  • I'm impressed by the creative solutions our superintendent has conjured up.
  • By "creative solutions" I really mean "multiple and non-negotiable teacher salary and benefit cuts", and by "impressed" I mean "pissed off."
  • Good news! I passed my Praxis! That means I qualify for a change of level accompanied by a salary cut!
  • I'm also nearly done with my ESL endorsement. Which means I qualify for a lane change.
  • One of the impressive ideas is to suspend all lane changes.
  • Back to spring break--we made some good progress on the yard. Brock is putting in a sprinkler system. It involves a lot of digging. The girls and I cleaned up a side bed and put in a patch of strawberries. We've tilled the garden and planted peas, spinach, radishes, lettuce and onions. We have 70 tomato starts and 50 pepper starts growing in our mud room. We're going to have a killer garden this year! Which is good since we won't be able to buy groceries next year.
  • We saw Monster vs. Aliens. It was very, very funny.
  • We went on a great little hike in the mountains across the street from our house. These mountains are craggy and steep. We discovered a beautiful spring waterfall.
  • We went swimming after the hike at the BEHS Natatorium.
  • Easter was nice. Brock and I went to the Episcopal Church for their Easter services as well as our own church. The music at the Episcopal Church was very good. We went to Brock's parents for dinner. It was very nice.
  • We had a Seder feast on Thursday evening for Passover. We used a script I got when one of my college professor's had a Seder at his house for his students. Brock and I do this every year, but it was our first time to involved my girls. They liked it. We just finished up a Holocaust unit at school, so it was great for Emma to make some connections with what she learned at school and the Seder.
  • Jane had a birthday a couple of weeks ago. I can't believe she's nine years old! She is such a sweet child. She is always trying to be helpful to others. I'm so glad she's my girl!
  • I'm teaching poetry this month! I'm the luckiest salary-slashed teacher alive!