Last weekend, I heard Ryan's talk on craft during the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival. One of my buddies called Ryan, "charming." And she was -- genuinely pleased when someone asked her to read a poem that she herself enjoys.
She was also insightful about the writing process. Ryan compared her use of sound to a certain teething toy -- one that my daughter loved as a baby. It looks like a molecule, with wooden beads that slide along taut elastic strings, connected by wooden rods.
Ryan said that using narrow poetic lines helps those sounds bounce around. Because the first and last word of any poetic line have maximum exposure, Ryan'sskinny poems can feel, "almost all exposed." Interesting thought.
One of my favorite poems from the reading was, "He Lit a Fire with Icicles." It describes one of the miracles of St. Sebolt.
Saint Laura was scalded to death in a vat of lead. Ugh.
He Lit a Fire with Icicles
For W.G. Sebald, 1944-2001
This was the work
of St. Sebolt, one
of his miracles:
he lit a fire with
icicles. He struck
them like a steel
to flint, did St.
only at a certain
body heat. How
cold he had
to get to learn
that ice wouldburn.
Read the rest of the poem here.
During the reading, Ryan said that she sat with this poem for a long time. She got stuck on the idea, "he had to ... learn that ice would burn." The poem didn't resolve for her until it found its feet -- an unexpected, but inevitable, and lovingly human, resolution.
Enjoy the rest of your Poetry Friday! You'll find more poetry posts at Liz Scanlon's blog, Liz in Ink.