Filling My Well: NBWC 2012

Winter Poem

once a snowflake fell
on my brow and i loved
it so much and i kissed
it and it was happy and called its cousins
and brothers and a web
of snow engulfed me then
i reached to love them all
and i squeezed them and they became
a spring rain and i stood perfectly
still and was a flower

— Nikki Giovanni


It’s that time again: National Poetry Month!  I’m not ready, but the calendar will not be denied.

I’ve spent the last few days at Medgar Evers College for the National Black Writers Conference.  And I shared the Giovanni poem in honor of her receiving the Gwendolyn Brooks award at the conference.  Sadly, the divine Miss G is in Switzerland and wasn’t there to receive the award in person.  Wouldn’t I have loved the chance to meet her glowing self?  I did get to meet plenty of other interesting and talented selves, however, and I did come away with something I didn’t expect: inspiration and maybe even a road map for a new, large-scale project.  I’m going to keep it to myself for a minute, let it percolate in silence.  It grows out of writing I’ve done here, and I’m even ready to be bold and say I think it has an audience.  Now to get writing …

And now to get writing: it’s Poetry Month, and I should be writing a poem a day, yes?  Yes.  In addition to the Conference, I’ve spent the last four days trying to put together a submission for an anthology of VONA writers.  Not because I was feeling all cocky about getting in, but because I didn’t want to let the deadline pass without sendingsomething.  And the muses smiled on me by having the deadline extended from March 30th to today, giving me enough time to get my act together and upload a submission tonight.  What I didn’t have time for was writing a poem.  Or thinking about writing a poem.  Or even deciding what type of poem I was going to focus on this month.

And I’m saying all of that to say that I wrote a poem, and it’s a Zeno (for real this time), and it’s not great but it’s ok, and I’m not sure I’m going to do Zeno poems for the whole month because I still haven’t really thought about it, but I have this one for tonight, and it’s inspired by being at the Conference, so here goes:

Here I am welcome, here I fit
I know this place, know
these words
the way to breathe
deeper and deep

It didn’t work the way I thought it would, but I’ve got a month ahead of me to play with the form, right?


2 thoughts on “Filling My Well: NBWC 2012

  1. Curious about your new project. Is the coffee ready? Did it percolate enough?

    I looked up the The National Black Writers’ Conference at Medgar Evers College. They mentioned the conference addressed the themes of stereotypes in Black literature. Does that fit in with the stereotyping of Rue and Thresh in The Hunger Games?
    The conference also addressed “the direction of Black literature.” What does it mean to be a black writer?


    1. If there was any discussion of the Rue/Thresh question at the conference, it happened in a workshop or panel that I didn’t attend. I had mini conversations about the issue with random people throughout the weekend, but nothing substantive.


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