Going for it: Heart of the Pamlico Poet Laureate finalist

In April 2017, I began writing poetry. As in writing a poem a day for all thirty days of National Poetry Month. I don’t even know why. I had never thought of myself as a poet. I’m not a classically trained one, anyway. My degrees are in journalism and library science. The only things I know about rhyme and rhythm and meter are the little bit I remember from high school—and what I feel in my heart.

Since April 2017, which I now realize was almost three years ago, I have written poetry often, usually to vent something, political or personal. I’ve taught a few elementary poetry classes to kids because I still remember the first time I read e.e. cummings’s “in just—” and I wanted to share that with them. I’ve read and written poetry for more than one voice, which is not something I learned in school. I’ve played with rhyming and not rhyming, sometimes in the same poem. I’ve written prose poetry and limericks and haiku. (Haiku, done properly, is much harder than you might think.)

Last year, I published a little booklet of my poetry because a friend had passed away and I wanted to dedicate something beautiful to her memory. I chose fourteen of my favorite poems, formatted them with some of my photography and sent them off to a printer. I have given away more of those booklets than I’ve sold (it’s only available at my bookstore).

And that’s what poetry is to me, really. It’s meant to share. I’m more than happy to charge you $9 for one of my romances, but poetry, to me, is something different. Most of what I write goes on my blog, if I think it’s any good. I’ve only ever tried to submit it to poetry magazines or contests once or twice, more because I wanted to share with a wider audience than anything.

So, you might imagine my surprised delight when I was notified yesterday that I am a finalist for the title of 2020 Heart of the Pamlico Poet Laureate. This means I have the opportunity to present my poetry and my view of poetry to an audience at the historic Turnage Theatre in less than a month. I’m thrilled, rattled, uncertain, ecstatic and pretty sure the selection committee sent the email to the wrong person, but at the same time, I’m gonna go for it. This is a huge honor for me, as well as the opportunity to express my love for this art form.

Wish me luck.

My poetry booklet.

National Poetry Month: Poem 30

I wanted my last poem of poetry month to be different. A little special and about something I don’t write about often. So here you go. I was as honest as I could be.

Poem 30

Self Portrait

By Michelle Garren Flye

 

Broad strokes for face,

Not my favorite part.

A finer point for hands,

Nimble and quick—

But the weather changes

And pain sets in.

Pink for the breast

And scarlet for the center.

Let the red run a bit,

Let the heart bleed—

No shame for feeling

The world’s hurts.

The head is hardest,

The brain a smudge of gray…

But changeable, like a thundercloud

On a summer’s day.

It’s me, but not.

Not quite, anyway.

I suspect I don’t really know

What others see,

And there’s no other way

To know me.

National Poetry Month: Poem 28

Poem 28

Alarm

By Michelle Garren Flye

 

Wake up!

Because the birds are singing.

Wake up!

And see the flowers bloom.

Wake up!

Because it’s fading away…

 

Endangered becomes extinct,

Ices melt and seas rise,

The air turns poison,

And there is nothing left to prize—

 

Wake up!

Do something. Listen and learn.

Wake up!

The alarm has sounded…

 

Wake up!

You can’t afford to sleep.

 

National Poetry Month: Poem 24

I had some fun with this one. 🙂

 

Poem 24

Headline Design

By Michelle Garren Flye

 

Little bits, pieces.

Unimportant on the floor.

Haircuts for the news.

 

Is that the story?

Which words are most trustworthy?

What makes the whole truth?

 

Bits and pieces lie.

Truth lies in between the cracks.

Don’t believe one source.