Welcome to our new blog series here on Poetry Fridays, Dodge Poet Spotlight. We will be turning the focus over to the individuals who make our programming what it is in the schools, with teachers in Spring & Fountain, and on the ground at the Dodge Poetry Festival — the Dodge Poets.
Each week, a Dodge Poet will answer some questions about themselves and provide a selected poem of their own work. We hope that this will be a way for you to get to know the Dodge Poets a little better, and you can get an idea of why we love working with them so much.
We are featuring poets who have been a part of our recent programming; in this case, Crystal was a poet in the schools for our Hurricane Sandy Poetry Initiative.
Without further ado, today’s Dodge Poet is Crystal Bacon.
What are you reading?
Mary Oliver’s One Thousand Mornings
When did you first discover poetry? What poets made you want to write poetry?
I first discovered poetry when I was in grade school. My Godparents gave me a copy of A Child’s Garden of Verses for my birthday. I forgot it on the porch overnight, and the dog chewed it up pretty badly! My mother made me take it over and show my Godmother who fortunately was on the phone and didn’t have time to hear me explain, but I had a deep sense of shame about that book for a long time. It was a shaping experience. Dogs like to eat poetry. In later life, one of my dogs ate the cover if Hal Sirowitz’ Mother Said, and Mary Oliver’s dog Percy ate The Bhagavad Gita.
The poets who made me want to write when I really got interested in college were Dylan Thomas, Anne Sexton and Byron.
What is your favorite place to read?
I seem constitutionally disenclined toward favorites. If the book or individual poem is compelling, I can read walking, standing, sitting or lying anywhere.
Tell us about any personal habits, rituals, ceremonies, superstitions that are part of your writing practice.
I feel deeply the presence of the divine when the poem comes forward. I have to be able to fall inward into a place of receptivity to receive the poem. Often, the opening lines of the poem come to me like faint strains of music, and I will repeat them in my mind throughout the day, commit them to memory so that I can gauge their memorability and their music.
Tell us about your favorite experience reading for an audience.
I had the great pleasure for a period of years to read for groups of painters studying with the wonderful painter and teacher Tim Hawkesworth who conducts week-long workshops at a farm in Pennsylvania. Those groups were my most fertile and appreciative audiences.
What is the funniest/strangest response you’ve ever gotten to telling someone you are a poet?
I don’t say this much. I think it must have something to do with that book my ten year old self left out for the dog.
Dawn. Light snow blurs the hills,
stirs the ringing silence. Hawk
screes hunting the morning. Mourning
has broken, pours like the river
running west to catch the Methow.
“Met how” they say. I met you long ago
far from this brilliant emptiness. Tomorrow
I go west to go east again, going and coming
become one, how we meet, confluence
Photo Credit: Lauren Rutten