DSC00045Poemcrazy: freeing your life with words by Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge is a book I forgot I had on my shelf–a forgotten book. Every now and then, I will pull a book off the shelf that looks unfamiliar–an old book–and thumb through its pages to see what it has to say to me now and whether I should keep it in my library or send it on a new journey.

Poemcrazy was published in 1996. It’s difficult to believe that in that short amount of time, the pages have yellowed around the edges, giving it the look of a book that was surely published before I was born. But no, 1996.

As I said in the last post, I do not write poems. Still I loved reading this book. It’s divided into 5 parts: following words, listening to ourselves, hi there stars, open the window, and lights and mysteries. Lovely. These five parts are further divided into 60 short sections, many offering writing exercises.

Wooldridge writes that it is often when she is walking that words and poems come to her. Then she gives us this snippet from poet Brenda Hillman:

“We walked through night ’til night was a poem.”

DSC00044As I mentioned in the last post, Wooldridge often writes or tapes words on tickets. “Like a poem, a ticket is small, often colorful and valuable, allowing entrance to a special place.” She loves E.E.Cummings: “love is more thicker than forgot.”

Wooldridge gives us little bits of Emily Dickinson: “Inside a moment, centuries of June.” And Wallace Stevens: “…there never was a world for her/Except the one she sang and singing, made.” Little facts like: “Donald Hall claims he wrote 150 drafts of his poem ‘Henyard Round.'”

Wooldridge suggests keeping a notebook and a flashlight on the night table. “We have to be quiet and listen for a bell or a knock. And we have to open the door.” Then she gives us the poem “Writing in the Dark” by Denise Levertov.

I am putting this book back on my shelf.