The photo below, is the cover of the first collection of poems I put together, back in my senior year of High School, 1977. I submitted the project for a final in a writing class in my first year of college at the University of Redlands, I got an A, the teacher circled the grade and wrote next to it, Well Deserved !
He encouraged me to take additional writing classes. All of the poems in this collection are complimented (or not) with a black and white photo.
I was breaking the rules early on, I've always known and read and been told, POETRY collections should stand on their own without photos or illustrations or images that compete and or detract for the written word.
And I of course completely disagree with that particular rule !
Rules, what rules.
The act of creation: moments, minutes, hours, life times of inspiration, imagination, collaboration, realization, understanding, confusion, despair, thoughts, ideas, questions, affirmations, lessons, give and take, and rules do not apply.
I'm OK with rules or conventions that define things like rhyme and meter; for example sonnets are comprised of fourteen lines using formal rhyme, usually having 10 syllables per line.
And that is why I don't write sonnets, my heart and mind don't think in measured thoughts and words. I applaud those that can and do, I am not wired that way.
Back to THE FIRST LINE. I'm going to post all of the poems from this collection, the first poem: CORRESPONDENCE.
And here is why, on Wednesday of this week I got a call on my iPhone with NO CALLER ID in the view, I was not sure who was calling, I normally don't answer these calls. Wednesday I did and I heard on the other end a hurried and excited, "Madam Elena, Madam Elena, I got your letter, I got your letter."
It was Stefan Ameyaw, Ceci's Grandson from Ghana, calling me from Amsterdam, letting me know he got my letter. Via our recent Yahoo messenger sessions, I encouraged him to write me, which he did. I assured him that every time he writes me a letter, I will write him back. And so we have completed our very first exchange of written correspondence.
Now I have a soon to be 14 year old pen-pal from Ghana, who is living with is DAD in Amsterdam. I always give him ideas of what to write, I suggest topics, ask him questions. I am looking forward to the exchange of letters. Yesterday I visited the post office and got the current version of AirMail stamps, it cost $1.15 to post a 1 ounce letter to Amsterdam. The post office lady even gave me a book of cool PAR AVION - AIRMAIL stickers for the envelopes.
I rush to read
the shapes and sounds
that come disguised
as talking words.
they touch haste,
they trap confusion.
of the monotone
I mail the letter
down the shoot.
Through the night
or even signed
it reaches me
the other half
By Elena Arosemena