National Poetry Month Celebration
Bio: Originally from Northern Utah, A.N. Teibe has also lived in Mexico City and Milwaukee. She now happily lives as a transplant to Southern California's Inland Empire. She loves the area's down-to-earth people, its warm winters and abundance of sunny days, dry heat, valleys, canyons, and mountains. She received MFAs from University of California Riverside and California State University San Bernardino. Recent work includes the collaborative chapbooks Operation Lifted Flowers and Blankets and Other Poems: An Anthology for the People of Japan. She writes poetry, fiction, and genres in-between. She appreciates--and strives to compose--both "raw" and "cooked" poetry. You may find her work in Badlands, Ekphrasis, Fifth Wednesday, Sand Canyon Review, Chaffey Review, Pacific Review, In Print, and elsewhere. In addition to leading writing workshops for youth and adults in the cities of Riverside and Redlands, California, A.N. is also a yoga instructor and hiking buff.
In Memoriam of Myself
I’d follow my nature
and plan not a funeral
but a celebration
No black on the patrons--
instead, party colors
and music for moving
As elegy speeches
short free verse, some prose
salsa, the tango
a show of flamenco
some favorite pieces of
No end to desserts
tables lined! Every creampuff
trifle, torte, and brulée
better to me, since I didn’t bake
I want to fly naked to
crematorium flames, instead
of a casket to cage my remains
Plans to requiem rest and die here:
let a loud funeral march from
the streets of New Orleans
announce me to Heaven
My dust a real miracle now to perform,
no replacing flesh to my long-buried
bones, God will locate
the mites of me scattered
in cosmos resurrect and restore
me whole, renewed, prepared
to join in the song and the dance
ready—at last—to join in the praise
First appeared in Pacific Review Vol. 25
I often derive inspiration for poems from visual art. Sometimes this takes the form of an ekphrastic poem--one that describes or comments directly on a piece of art. Other times, art acts as more of an opening--it initially sparks my imagination in some way, but doesn't continue exert much influence on the sound, shape, situation, or subject of poetic composition. In that case, the inspiration piece of art bears little resemblance to the final poetic production.
The natural landscape inspires me, as well. I don't tend to write pastoral, praise-of-nature poems that lead to some clarity of thought or epiphany (as the English Romantic poets often did). Rather, I am intrigued by natural processes--such as those that have exerted their influence on landscape over long periods of time. Not trained as a scientist, I often lack the background knowledge that explains these processes, and the speakers in my poems about landscape are upfront about this. They don't explain the landscape, but write about it from a position of wonder, wonderment, and a desire to understand.
My poet friends inspire me, too. For the last few years, I have regularly worked on collaborative projects with other poets. I suggest poets try collaboration! It provides an opportunity to move beyond one's entrenched, solitary writing habits and requires that some kind of dialogue, push-and-pull, negotiation, and recognition of the other poets' influences occur. Two recent collaborative efforts resulted in chapbooks. The collaborative project I'm currently engaged with continues to morph, but seems as if it's pulling my collaborator and me toward a sound-based long (twenty pages!) poem.
A Favorite Poet
A favorite poet of mine is the late May Swenson. She and Elizabeth Bishop were contemporaries and friends. Swenson's poetry often reveals the individual mind's quirky observances of things. Her sensual language, particularly as she uses it in her love poems, moves beyond description--it's truly multi-sensorial. For example, look up Swenson's poem "Blue" (later renamed "A Trellis for R"). http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15672
For Those Who Find Poetry Threatening
If you're not someone who enjoys poetry, I suggest reading some aloud. So often a rewarding pleasure of poetry is not so much in what it says (meaning or "message-wise"), but in how it's said--which can only properly be appreciated if it's read aloud. Reading aloud allows you to hear the poem's combination of sounds and its rhythms. It also allows you to feel a poem physically. Mouth-pleasure, the enjoyment of feeling a poem's words in your mouth as your speech apparatus works to vocalize, is a sometimes under-recognized aspect of poetry. As you speak a poem, you may feel its effects not only in the ear and mouth, but also in other parts of your body, as the sound's wavelengths resonate. In this way, poetry is akin to music; we enjoy hearing it and feeling it.