Sunday, August 14, 2011

Life in These United States

Remember that humor column in Reader's Digest? Well, I do. It was favorite reading material when we visited my grandparents in Akron, Ohio. And you can still find "clean jokes and humor" in RD Laughs! online.

But I'm here to point you to Right Hand Pointing again, the United States issues, part 1 and part 2!  Look at that fabulous USA triptych cover! And the fine art and poetry inside both issues!

I have 3 poems in part 2. All very short, as is everything in Right Hand Pointing. Brevity is the soul of RHP.

"Illinois" is about common spiderwort, one of my favorite wildflowers. I have it in my garden--blue, lavender blue, and red grape varieties--and it is sturdy and hardy indeed, easily surviving yesterday's hailstorm.

Balsam (pictured pink above) is pretty darn sturdy, too, but a couple of those stalks went down.

I've been working on this poem for years, and I finally got it right! (I hope!) It's based on Indian lore in Illinois found in Life and Lore of Illinois Wildflowers, by William E. Werner, Jr., published by the Illinois State Museum, with photographs by Werner and wonderful drawings by Sharron Davis Schumann.

There's a wildflower in "Nebraska," my favorite wildflower in childhood, when I lived there. Goldenrod! (Nothing to sneeze at!)

And a buckeye (sort of) in "Ohio."  Went to college in Ohio, still have relatives there, and had my first job, as an encyclopedia editor, in Columbus (Reynoldsburg). I guess I am still interested in encyclopedic knowledge. And/or Wikipedic knowledge.

I love how my little buckeye leads into Richard Fox's Ohio poem about the Buckeye State! And for random coincidii, 1) I recently featured Richard Fox at Escape Into Life and 2) I am reading all about corn (prime in his and other United States poems in RHP #43) now in The Omnivore's Dilemma, by Michael Pollan.

9 comments:

Dave said...

Wonderful flower poem, Kathleen!

Maureen said...

So enjoyed reading your work at RHP. Am slowly making my way through the issues.

Hannah Stephenson said...

Beautiful work, as always, Kathleen!! Congratulations!

Sandy Longhorn said...

Awesome poems, Kathleen. I think "Ohio" is my favorite, but I love "I cannot be pressed" as the last line to "Illinois."

Kathleen said...

Thanks to you all for reading, and I hope you will read through both issues. It's so fun to click the little pointing hand to move to the next poem or image!

And so fun to encounter the different views and experiences of the states!

Collagemama said...

Enjoyed the short poems. Hang in there through Pollan's corn. The other sections are easier reads.

Kathleen said...

Thanks, I love the corn section--down to the science and farm policies. It's the land I grew up in, and it seems like my responsibility to know this stuff. I see the difficulties in urging change, since so many livelihoods and habits depend on corn...and the dreaded high fructose corn syrup...but I do hope we will make the necessary changes to grow/eat real food and restore a real/fair free market economy based on quality, not greed. Hmm, I'm back to my obsessions....

Pearl said...

Like your Illinois poem. I love how you researched to nail the biology.

Kathleen said...

Thanks, Pearl! I love biology and am fascinated by the reproductive characteristics of plants, etc. The Orchid Thief, by Susan Orlean, wowed me.

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