Happy Poetry Friday! (Wondering what Poetry Friday is? Click here.)
I wished you a happy day, but the truth is, I’ve been feeling a bit down. I tend to be relentlessly optimistic and generally feel grateful and content. And here’s the thing. Although my career, like most writers’ is taking a beating with the pandemic, life is still pretty good for us personally. My family hasn’t had to deal with things as hard as many families lately. So I feel kind of bad even admitting this, but here’s the straw that broke the camel’s back.
I was going to present in the NCTE Poetry Notables session this fall. Having three books on this year’s list is one of the high points of my career! And talking with teachers about embracing poetry in the classroom. Sigh. David Harrison did this last year, and he was fabulous! I was looking forward to trying to match his excellence. Of course, I knew the conference had been moved to virtual only. And I knew that the entire conference would look very different. But when I got the email a couple of weeks ago that that session had been canceled, it somehow hit me so hard. I’m not 100% sure why. It wasn’t unexpected, but…there you go. We can’t control the things that bring us grief. Even small things. (Edited to add: I’m okay, of course! Still grateful for all the wonderful things in my life and my writing, like this Poetry Friday community. I was just surprised by the…melancholy, I guess, that this news brought on. Most pandemic-related change and cancellations I have taken in stride without too much personal distress. This seemed such an unlikely thing to be the one to make me say, “That’s it, COVID. I’m so sick of you and all the changes, big and small, you’re bringing to my life. Be gone with you!”)
Anyway, in thinking about bad news and hard things big and small, I decided to share this poem today. I wrote it many years ago for BookSpeak! Poems About Books. It didn’t end up staying in the collection, but I still love it. I hope you do, too.
Books and poetry always ease my sad feelings. Even sad books and poems! For more, probably more cheerful, poems, check out the Poetry Friday Roundup with Molly at Nix the Comfort Zone.