April 12, 2016

Sunday, April 4, 2010

NPM 50 State Tour -- Maryland, My Maryland

Please come in and welcome to my neighborhood, Maryland!

We've lived in the Baltimore 'burbs for ten years and I admit, I still feel land-locked. (New Jerseyans get anxious if we're more than 45 minutes from the ocean). Remind me to tell you that funny story about crossing the Mason-Dixon line some other time.

Maryland welcomed me with open arms. I've been a poet-in-the-schools for the Maryland State Arts Council for eight years. And Baltimore's CityLit Project is publishing my new chapbook for National Poetry Month. More exciting news on that in a second.

Some Maryland facts: 7th state, joined the union 4/28/1788, home of the very awesome Berger Cookie (it's a black and white cookie without the white) and the Baltimore Honfest.

Another reason I've proudly adopted Maryland? Unlike my home state of NJ, *we* have a poet laureate -- Stanley Plumly, a professor at the University of Maryland. Go Terps!

To help you celebrate spring, I'm sharing Plumly's poem, "Wildflower."

by Stanley Plumly

Some--the ones with fish names--grow so north
they last a month, six weeks at most.
Some others, named for the fields they look like,
last longer, smaller.

And these, in particular, whether trout or corn lily,
onion or bellwort, just cut
this morning and standing open in tapwater in the kitchen,
will close with the sun.

It is June, wildflowers on the table.
They are fresh an hour ago, like sliced lemons,
with the whole day ahead of them.
They could be common mayflower lilies of the valley,

day lilies, or the clustering Canada, large, gold,
long-stemmed as pasture roses, belled out over the vase--
or maybe Solomon's seal, the petals
ranged in small toy pairs

or starry, tipped at the head like weeds.
They could be anonymous as weeds.
They are, in fact, the several names of the same thing,
lilies of the field, butter-and-eggs,

toadflax almost, the way the whites and yellows juxtapose,
and have "the look of flowers that are looked at,"
rooted as they are in water, glass, and air.
I remember the summer I picked everything,

flower and wildflower, singled them out in jars
with a name attached.

Read the rest of the poem here.

The exciting news? SAVE THE DATE! April 17 is CityLit Festival at the Enoch Free Pratt Library in Baltimore. I'll be reading with Stanley Plumly, 1:30 PM, and signing the new book. Hope you can make it!

Tomorrow morning, we'll continue our National Poetry Month tour of the 50 states. We're leaving bright and early for South Carolina. No Wall of Shame for them.


Anonymous said...

I love this part:

Some--the ones with fish names--grow so north
they last a month, six weeks at most.
Some others, named for the fields they look like,
last longer, smaller.

I can totally picture it!

Author Amok said...

I love the whole concept of this poem.

Mary Lee said...

Hooray for Maryland! I was getting pretty depressed at the growing wall of poetry shame!

Author Amok said...

Mary Lee, I *know*. What is up with the East Coast? I won't give away who is on the Wall of Shame yet, but we have a few states in a row who can hold their poetic heads high.