Hello everyone and TGIF. Please join me in giving a warm welcome to Jessica Goody author of Phoenix: Transformation Poems to my blog today as she stops by for a guest post and shares her poem titled Discoveries, just in time for National Poetry Month.
Making Discoveries: A guest post for The Bookworm
Written by Jessica Goody
I am endlessly fascinated by art, history, and the natural world, and all three deeply influence my writing. For most of my life I intended to become a marine biologist, and although my cerebral palsy prevented me from realizing that dream, I am an environmentalist, and much of my poetry is inspired by nature–especially the sea.
I’m not sure why I gravitated to poetry instead of another type of literature, but I have always loved language and playing with words. I write to make myself heard and understood, to share my sense of self and the world around me, and poetry is the most accurate means I know of to describe what goes on inside my mind. When something affects me deeply and I find myself unable to keep from thinking about it, putting it on paper clears my head.
Ideas are everywhere; it’s just a matter of paying attention to things around you. It is much harder to find the right words to express a thought. I look for the stories within a scene, the inner thoughts behind the images. As a visual thinker, most of the pieces in my collection Phoenix: Transformation Poems are ekphrastic–inspired by artwork.
I think the hardest part is getting people interested in what you have to say. Success is about perseverance: stubborn bulldog persistence despite thousands of let-downs, rejections, and wounds to your pride. If you are truly meant to be a writer, that is the first thing you must learn. It is never easy, but it is worth it.
The following poem, “Discoveries”, was inspired by a National Geographic article about the Shackleton Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914, which was documented by the photographer Frank Hurley.
Imagine a cold of frightening intensity,
a region defined by lack of temperature.
Islets rise like moles on the expanse of the silver-nitrate sea,
glaciers shaped like plateaus, fortresses, mountain ranges.
Palaces of ice drift by, flashing colors in the sun:
prisms of lavender, rose, chrysoprase green.
Inside, a scene from a Jack London novel:
A low, thin cot piled with fur, luxuriant
against the rusticity of the barren shack.
Damp books with rotten bindings and pages stiffened with rime.
The mottled patterns of maps paper the walls,
a spiderweb of constellations to steer by.
Clotheslines span the ceilings, ancient apparel left out to dry,
frozen thermals and soaked mittens encased in ice.
The odors of coal oil and dampened wool ceased to linger
a century ago. Weathered wood and rotting leather,
diamond-shaped snowshoes latticed with rawhide, and specimen
trays of stones and shells preserved in the icebox of the Arctic.
Heavy trunks with handsome brass fittings, their elegance
now tarnished. Inside, abandoned flotsam lies perfectly preserved:
tin cans and melted stalks of candles, the heavy, solid hulk of an
antique typewriter, and an elegant gramophone, its gleaming horn
fluted like a seashell. One hundred years ago, it played Strauss
to a curious audience of penguins who had never heard music before.
Frank Hurley’s life was as compelling as his camera work. He taught himself how to take photos and joined explorer Douglas Mawson as the official photographer for the Australasian Antarctic Expedition when he was only twenty-three. Hurley joined the Australian Imperial Force in 1917, capturing some of the most infamous images of Ypres and Passchendaele. He returned to the Antarctic on two other expeditions and re-enlisted in the Army during World War II, serving at Bardia and chronicling the Siege of Tobruk. In addition to publishing his journals, Hurley worked as a cinematographer, creating various documentaries using footage from his travels.
You can read the article here: https://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/12/131231-antarctica-photographs-aurora-endurance-south-pole/
Jessica Goody is the award-winning author of Defense Mechanisms: Poems on Life, Love, and Loss (Phosphene Publishing, 2016) and Phoenix: Transformation Poems (CW Books, 2019). Jessica’s writing has appeared in over three dozen publications, including The Wallace Stevens Journal, Reader’s Digest, Event Horizon, The Seventh Wave, Third Wednesday, The MacGuffin, Harbinger Asylum and The Maine Review. Jessica is a columnist for SunSations Magazine and the winner of the 2016 Magnets and Ladders Poetry Prize. A fifth-generation New Yorker, she currently lives in the South Carolina Lowcountry with an exuberant poodle named Coco.
Jessica’s poetry collections Defense Mechanisms: Poems on Life, Love, and Loss and Phoenix: Transformation Poems are available on Amazon.
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Thanks again to Jessica Goody for stopping in today and sharing her interesting guest post and some of her lovely poetry. Success is definitely about perseverance and about not giving up. That is also interesting about Frank Hurley and his photography. There is something haunting about older images like those.
Blog Tour Schedule:
April 18: The Book Connection (Review)
April 19: The Bookworm (Guest Post)
April 23: The Book Lover’s Boudoir (Review)
April 24: Diary of an Eccentric (Guest Post)
April 27: Celtic Lady’s Reviews (Guest Post)
April 30: Peeking Between the Pages (Review)
May 15: Book Dilettante (Review)
June 30: Rose City Reader (Review)