Greetings, Poetry Lovers!
It's a special Poetry Friday, as Amy over at the wonderful Poem Farm is offering a lovely way to honor Lee Bennett Hopkins, who died two weeks ago and whose loss is deeply felt by countless friends and fans across the globe. (Thanks to Jone MacCulloch for the idea of this theme today.) Amy not only celebrates her own grateful connection to Lee, but she has gathered links to sites and obituaries. Words can't completely capture such a life, but as Lee loved words so, they can shine and glow and sparkle in tribute.
I hope you'll forgive my slight departure from the suggestion of coming up with an original poem using a line from one of Lee's poems Instead, I'd like to share a poem I wrote the first time I met Lee, when he led a Poetry Master Class at the big SCBWI LA conference 12 years ago. Participants each wrote a poem that weekend, and he read one during his keynote address on the last day of the conference.
I'm sharing mine because Lee emailed me after the conference to tell me that he liked my poem. I was thrilled beyond belief! (More to the story, but I'll spare the spindly details.) I had written a sonnet, inspired by his many books, and fueled by the tables of colorful titles for sale that stretched for miles at the conference.
(Can I just get it out of the way that I think I'm a somewhat stronger poet now, thanks to a decade of haiku and of course to influences from Lee, and from Rebecca Kai Dotlich, and other amazing poetic mentors? Okay - thanks.)
So here is the poem, flaws and all, and sweet to me because Lee took the time to share some kind words about it in correspondence, and even made an editorial suggestion here or there, reflected in a couple of lines. And, because, I miss him very much. Sending continued love to Lee's cherished husband Charles (whom I also first got to meet at the LA Conference), and to our community of fans and poets who have lost such a "Dear One."
How to Buy a Book of Poetry
I prowl around displays of stacked-up books,
a quiet hunger gnawing deep inside.
Some volumes catch my silent, stealthy looks,
while slowly stalking now, I must decide.
A vibrant cover takes my breath away -
I linger, stop, then claim it with my hand
to seize the book, a panther with her prey -
surveying what she knows to be her land.
While poems leap from pages crisp and new,
lines capture my attention as I read
their sparkling thoughts, at once unreal yet true -
mystical, magic words my deepest need.
A hunter with her prey? I'm not so free.
This poetry I bought - it now owns me.
©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.
I know we'll all enjoy roaming from post to post celebrating Lee today over at Amy's, and picking up other poetic delights along the way.