Poetics, Sex, and the Feminine: From my Writing Life

I discovered my love for poetry in a creative writing class at the community college I attended right out of high school. Before that, I thought: I am a fiction writer. And that was all. I wanted to write stories and novels. Poetry always seemed cheesy to me, but then, our instructor asked us to read Ordinary Genius by Kim Addonizio.

From that book, our professor divined a writing prompt that forever changed the way I understood poetry. I ended up writing about my dirty laundry:

Bra and Jeans

Red flowered lace
and stitched joints
lounge over rough blues

and cool metal teeth.
They nestle intimately
in a crumbled pile,

companions shed from yesterday.
Together they gathered
night and flesh.

This poem garnered some interesting reactions among my classmates, a few of who insisted: it’s about sex! Admittedly, as a college student… I wrote a decent amount about sex. Mostly tongue and cheek, mostly because it stirred things up. I suppose I was exploring my sexuality in a rudimentary and crude manner through language.

My writing has certainly evolved since then. I think I discovered a certain power to the feminine that I hadn’t quite grasped while in college. Womanhood became this incredible creative force that I could connect to by observing nature.

The year after I graduated, I wrote over 50 poems and years later compiled many of them into a pretty little collection called Petrified Creature. Many of my poems come from exploring the feminine in nature. Here’s a short one that I’m fond of.

She is a Mountain Sleeping

She is rocky,
and she is wild.
Inside her
there is fire,

but around her
the air is pure.
Sometimes they forget–
inside her

there is fire,
there are dreams,
and she grows restless.

I spent many hours observing nature during what I consider to be one of the most prolific periods of my life. Since moving to the Long Beach Peninsula in Washington, I’ve reconnected with that same energy. Living by the ocean certainly has a special magic to it, but I think the old, giants in the forests and glimpses of mountains on clear days do, too.

Here is a recent bit of prose turned poetry. It is drawn from watching the skies. This is often how a poem begins for me. It’s just a quick flash that I save for later writing experiments.

Now, there was the rain. It came
across the ocean in silver clouds.
The sun would break through, sometimes,
and illuminate the breadth of the storms.
She liked these moments of feeling
small under the heavy, shining skies.

©2018, Sarah Day. For permissions contact: bookwitchedits@gmail.com.


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