Yes, we are still away at our undisclosed location. But no worries, we left the key to the blog under the mat and today our old friend Min Jin Lee will be stopping by for a little visit. Please treat her nicely. Min Jin's first novel, Free Food For Millionaires, will be published by Warner next year.
Guest Blogger Min Jin Lee
I am a prose writer through and through, yet I stand in awe of the poet. I started to read poetry when I was in my late twenties, never having studied it in school. I didn’t know anyone who read poems, and it was my private thing. It still is, I guess. Every now and then, I take continuing education classes in poetry at the Y with retirees who grew up in an era where they were encouraged to recite their favorites. I took a prosody class last year with David Yezzi who is a poet, and everyone had to memorize a poem. I learned “The Continuous Life” by Mark Strand. There is a line in the middle: “Explain that you live between two great darks, the first/ With an ending, the second without one, that the luckiest/ Thing is having been born, that you live in a blur/ Of hours and days, months and years, and believe/ It has meaning, despite the occasional fear/ You are slipping away with nothing completed, nothing/ To prove you existed.” Whenever I get to that bit, I have to close my eyes. That’s what poetry does for me, it makes me pause. Yeah, that’s awe for me.
For another class assignment in the prosody class, I wrote my first sonnet for my friend Elizabeth Cuthrell. Here goes:
He Sang for Us
You called just as I was finishing lunch.
Atlantic City to see the great Bruce.
How could I say no to joining the bunch?
A wife, mother, still, I’d make myself loose.
I didn’t expect “Brilliant Disguise”
To move me as much as it did that night.
The end of such love hit me by surprise.
Betrayals ultimately come to light.
“What do I see when I look in your eyes?”
He gets it, don’t you think, Elizabeth?
All girls want intimacy — is just lies.
Bruce came from Jersey, Christ from Nazareth.
We come from somewhere too hard to explain.
Trying to lead and follow, track it sane.
Some of my favorite poems:
Mark Strand “The Continuous Life”
Wallace Stevens “Final Soliloquy of The Interior Paramour”
Mary Oliver “When Death Comes”
Fernando Pessoa “Tobacco Shop”
W.H. Auden “Musee des Beaux Arts”
Anne Sexton “Her Kind”
Shakespeare Sonnet No.56