In my last post, I wrote about poet and author Raymond Carver’s law: “…to use up the best that was in him each day and to trust that more would come.” Carver exemplifies this philosophy in his last book of poetry, A New Path to the Waterfall, where some of the best poems are also some of the shortest.
My favorite is a poem called “Quiet Nights”—four short lines about life, death, and rebirth. This poem reminds me of my process of becoming a writer and an artist—each day dying to the old and reawakening to the new, pulling at my ropes, wanting to set sail to the next new place my writing will bring me. And what about Carver’s Law? I learned that I don’t need to hold anything back, that I can give my all each moment on the page because, in giving everything I have, I make room for the new. Read more
I tend to view the world in terms of poetry, finding meaning and metaphor in everything from the way the rain falls here in the Pacific Northwest, to the process of replanting a lilac tree, to how my grandmother drags branches to her burn pile or shells peas while watching the sun set over the Olympic Mountains. This may be why I admire Raymond Carver’s poetry so much—because he writes about common people and events, yet manages to transcend their commonness into something beautiful.
When I first discovered Carver, nicknamed the great “American Chekov” for his short stories, it was his poetry that drew my attention. Carver’s last book of poems, A New Path to the Waterfall,written while he was dying of cancer, quickly became my favorite as I read it over and over, each time moved to tears, especially over the introduction by his wife and fellow poet Tess Gallagher. Read more