I attended the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets’ spring conference for the first time. An organization begun in the 1950′s by a very dedicated group of poets.
We honored a member with a lifetime membership (she’d been a member for 41 years!) — Fran, a scrappy, floss-haired dame who kept shouting “Keep it moving” during Open Mic.
We heard from special guest B.J. Best (great name!) who seriously looked like a nerdy kid but in actual fact is a very talented poet AND a Professor of English at my alma mater (go figure).
His most recent book of poetry is BUT OUR PRINCESS IS IN ANOTHER CASTLE, a book of prose poems inspired by video games. Here’s one everyone might recognize:
* * *
At five, I wanted to believe in ghosts.
A man who had lived in my room, my parents told me, was caught in a storm on the lake, hair now standing shocked for eternity. But Wisconsin summers when the thunder marched in, hushing the thrum of crickets, the lightning was ridiculous as a flashbulb, like the moon throwing a surprise party, but too dumb to know when to stop yelling <em>Surprise</em>.
Then this game, ghosts adorable as orphans, raveling clothes and blue eyes lolling around their big heads. Stammering through blank alleys at night.
O Inky, Pinky, Blinky, and Clyde: Who is God? What is death? Where is Wisconsin? Are you my mother?
A farm was a mile away by bike, corn and cows. I wanted to keep touching that electric fence.
* * *
And the new Poet Laureate of Wisconsin debuted, Max Garland, a former mail carrier.
You can read more about him and experience some of his poems here: http://www.wisconsinacademy.org/content/current-poet-laureate
All reaffirming to me that I need to get out there more… Poetry lives!