April 12, 2016

Monday, January 28, 2013

Poetry Postcard 18

It was a busy poetry weekend. The latest issue of Little Patuxent Review went on sale Saturday, launched with a fabulous contributors' reading. I love these events. As editor, I get to stay behind the scenes and cheer on all of the readers.
The Winter 2013 issue, Doubt, features
a Renaissance masterpiece on the cover

This issue is tight (apologies for the slang). And it includes a piece Poetry Friday by blogger Irene Latham. You can purchase a copy at the LPR website.

Sunday, it was my turn to read. About seven of us were featured at Baltimore's Watermark Gallery, there was prose and poetry. Thanks to Eric Goodman, Manzar (who owns the gallery) and co-host Nitin Jagdish (fellow NYU grad -- go Violets!) for putting together such a great variety of readers.
My love of purple teams goes back
to my NYU days. (Go Ravens!)
Although I'd printed poems for the reading -- two from my book, several postcard poems -- Manzar mentioned the poet Rumi in her art-talk. I had a postcard poem "after Rumi" sitting in my Dropbox folder. Which meant it was on my phone. I've never read from my phone before. I leave that to younger, hipper folks like the Word Pimp. But it went pretty well.

The postcard poems were well received. It's great to get so much positive feedback on the project.

Today, I have an antique tourist postcard:

I have never been to Germany, so I had to do a little research. The Drosselhof is a wine tavern on the Drosselstrasse, a street well-known to tourists for its music and taverns. You can pay a virtual visit to the Drosselhof, which has a website.

Still, I didn't have enough to go on. Until I learned that one translation for Drosselstrasse is "Thrush Lane."

I'd had an encounter with a little bird, maybe a thrush, in the early fall. At the time, it seemed too ordinary an experience to write about. Birds often crashed into my grandmother's glass breezeway when I was a child. Some survived, some didn't.
I don't know why the postcard made this bird-story work as a poem. Perhaps what is working is the habit of writing a poem nearly every day. Or not  feeling like I have to knock one out of the ballpark every time I sit down to write.

As you will see, it's apropos to post this poem after such a busy weekend. 

Thrush Lane

That thump
on our glass door –
a thrush. It let me
scoop it whole
into my palm,
stroke its
dappled breast,
make it calm.
I spoke to it
of taverns
the Drosselgasse
with song.
The thrush replied,
oh-lay oh-lee,
to the quiet
by Laura Shovan

Postcard Information:
Rüdesheim – Drosselhof
Reproduction und Druck: Wödicke & Gemberg, Berlin
Verlag C. A. Stachelscheid – Düseeldorf, Pressehaus – Bestell-Nr. 010

I sent this card and poem to Poetry Friday blogger, Susan Taylor Brown. Susan is a bird-lover and photographer, so she's talented all around. Several weeks ago, Susan sent me two original photo-postcards of birds for the project. I thought she'd enjoy "Thrush Lane."

I have used a bird-call website for a couple of poems now. It's a cool site for bird enthusiasts. You can find it at

We had another bird encounter this fall. My husband, Rob, discovered a little bird, maybe a wren, stuck in our bathroom fan. 
Can you see the bird's tail on the left?
The bird was so wedged in the fan blades, we were sure it was dead. But my handy husband removed the fan from the ceiling and the little thing was alive, just very squished. 

Almost free!
We had to break the fan to get the bird loose, expecting its wing to be broken. But the bird flew for the evergreens the moment we popped the fan apart. Now I know what it means to make a beeline for something.

Tabatha (The Opposite of Indifference) and I were supposed to meet for lunch today, but Mother Nature had other plans. Still, I know Tabatha is thinking of me. She's featuring music-themed postcards at her blog today, including a band of creepy clowns.


Diane Mayr said...

Great job, Laura. So simple, so real, so human.

Author Amok said...

Thank you, Diane. This project is teaching me to welcome simplicity. I guess I had been buying into the old "poetry has to be complicated" thinking more than I realized. I appreciate the comment.

Linda B said...

I loved all the post, Laura & will get a copy of your 'review', can now say I know an editor, & that Irene is in it too is a bonus! Your poem is wonderful, what a connection you made. I like "chortling to the quiet afternoon".

Author Amok said...

Thank you, Linda. I'm glad you enjoyed it. The issue really is super. We're receiving excellent submissions. All of us on the LPR staff (all volunteers!) appreciate support from readers.

I wasn't totally sure about the word "chortling" so thanks for the positive feedback on that.

Susan Taylor Brown said...

And I missed the shout out here, Laura! I love this postcard/poem so much! Thank you again.

(I'm blaming Zoey, the new dog who is occupying so much of my time.)