“I tell you this to break your heart, by which I mean only that it break open and never close again to the rest of the world.” — Mary Oliver.
I close my Chapter One essay, ‘Sustain Wonder’ with the above quote by Mary Oliver, and it still reminds me of how exactly poetry, in sustaining that wonder, continues to ask us to break our hearts open. I have always believed that the core of poetry is camaraderie and community. And in the past two years of isolation, and the absence of being with each other in person — where camaraderie and community shows itself so well — many of us have had to turn to other methods of keeping both those things energized. We connected online; and shared our stories and poems, giving our voices where we could not give our physical presence. And if much of what that contains is a breaking open, to never close again to the beauty of community and connection, then we enable wonder to be a foundation in the work that we do.
The Marsh Hawk Press ‘Chapter One’ essays have continued to be inspirational as well as professional tools for me as a teacher, since their inception. The essays are an online community of poets whose works I know or have come to know for the first time. In teaching the essays of the poets in the series, and sharing their stories with my students, the series becomes a forum for understanding how poets’ journeys begin. As well, the essays become a valuable resource — a workshop — that energizes my students to their own path to ‘becoming.’ As we once again enter a new year that may contain much of the isolation begun more than two years ago, a post (‘Poetry as Renewal), that I wrote on my blog, The Poet’s Grin, continues to speak to these ideas of wonder, openness, and community. It reminds me that indeed, our hearts continue to stay open as poets. Our voices continue to sustain wonder.