Poetry and Snow

“People should like poetry the way a child likes snow, and they would if poets wrote it.”
—a letter by Wallace Stevens

I read this quote last night in Mary Karr’s memoir, Lit. I haven’t finished the book yet, but so far, it is electrifying. I don’t know quite how else to describe it. Anyway, I love Karr’s perspective on poetry, and how writing and reading it has shaped her life.

Stevens’ quote is both humbling and inspiring. If poems are like snowflakes, I can’t help but think that mine are the smudgy, folded-paper cut-out variety, which all of us remember making as children. Even so, I love the idea that people can, and sometimes do, put words together in a way that elicits childlike wonder and delight from the reader—that is a beautiful possibility, and something that those of us who write aspire to.

Also a propos of snow: we’re driving to Mammoth Lakes today to take the kids snowboarding and skiing for the weekend. The boys just finished their midterm finals, checked the snow conditions, and are excited out of their minds to get there. A little haiku for the road:

Fresh and packed powder

All trails open, bluebird skies

Load the car and go!