Saturday, May 13, 2006

Stafford and the Poem-A-Day Exercise

I just found a lovely memoir of William Stafford on Lorna Dee Cervantes' blog. I had forgotten that I read in his Writing the Australian Crawl that he wrote a poem a day as part of his regular practice. One I'm beginning to share, along with a daily walk.

Stafford wrote his poem after his daily walk. No wonder he was so prolific. Walking is the easiest way to get my creative juices going. I don't know why, but once I'm outside my mind expands along with my horizons. I've been this way since childhood. Perhaps it was growing up in southern California, near the ocean, with moderate temperatures day and night, most of the year. Wandering outside was just natural. Some days, with all the windows and doors open, and our floor-to-ceiling glass at the back of the house, it was hard to tell if you were inside or outside.

I just got back from an evening walk, another lovely way to settle down the creative fire. Watching the hills turn pink and then mauve and then the sky lights up. Arriving at peace, wherever you head, just by looking up.

1 comment:

  1. Rachel,
    about Stafford's "poem a day" practice, rather famously he was once asked how he could do that unfailingly? "Easy," (he allegedly replied)), "all you have to do is lower your standards." ;-)

    I had a curious experience of meeting him in Santa Barbara. I had gone to recite poems while some dancer-friends did a performance on the beach (I was assigned lines, mainly, from Merwin). This was part of an annual poetry festival down there, in summer. Then we repaired to a restaurant, where Stafford was expected as a guest of honor. There he was! -- and we enjoyed sort of mutually nodding at one another (didn't say anything); but I was all sandy from the day's performance -- so went to dancers' place to shower, intending to come back. But then didn't seem to have quite impetus to return to the restaurant (other socializing happening with the dancers, the poets got short shrift). Thus I lost the chance of sharing words with William Stafford. But I'm pleased, anyway, that we "met."

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