Friday, August 27, 2021

Because Poetry is Full of Fun & Mystery

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Elisabeth at Unexpected Intersections for Roundup.

This week I've been settling into my Art History class. (Yes: Master Gardening class AND Art History class this fall! Lucky me!) My head might explode with all I'm learning—or more likely, it'll all spill out into new poems and stories. :)

Some fun/ny things, too: Dear Heidi alerted me to a Special Edition of D-39: A Robodog's Journey! Turns out there was a print run error early on that resulted in a handful of hybrid books that are part D-39, part Something Else

I kind of love this, although I know it's frustrating as a reader...if this happens to you (with any book), simply let the bookseller know, who will let the publisher know, and they will send you a new copy. :)

Also, I'm working on a birthday party for my mom, who will be 75! It's turned into a Family Weekend Reunion at a rental house, which is great! And also overwhelming (as the daughter who lives closest to the venue and started the whole thing)...

Did you know? CYBILS is looking for judges! It may seem overwhelming, but as someone who served quite a few years and in several categories, I am here to tell you that the rewards of participating as a judge are tremendous! It helps sharpen your critical skills, and hearing other panelists' responses to books you've read is quite an education and meaningful experience. AND you get to see what publishers are currently saying YES to, and that can help inform your own writing projects. Apply here:

This week's ArtSpeak: FOUR SEASONS poem is a bit of a mystery. Where did it come from? What does it mean? I love when that happens! Thanks so much for reading... and if you'd like, please do share what the poem means to YOU. xo


The Harvester Shouts at Vincent

Don't you dare
cast this billowing
wheatfield as ocean.

Yes, yes, when the wind
rises, it may resemble
high tide. But make

no mistake:
there's no boat to carry you—
only these boots.

True, sun is a circling shark.
The blade leaves stubble
sharp enough to slice leather.

If I drown,
it will be no fault of water.
You need not remember me.

- Irene Latham


  1. Oh, sun as a circling shark. That really resonates. Such fine work!

  2. This speaks to my upbringing in the midwest. It is easy to drown in those fields. The sun a circling shark is powerful and perfect. Kudos to you!

  3. It took me a long time to read your post, Irene. So much to think about! Your mom, turning 75, and you planning a reunion party! CYBIL'S! And that poem. We are going to see "Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience" today, and I have been so excited about it for so long that I am wondering if it can live up to my internal hype! I was really struck by the stubble being sharp enough to cut leather. That seems so treacherous, in addition to that shark-sun. Also, why not remember him? Maybe I want to! We get a lot of his personality in that short space.

  4. A determined farmer despite the lack of rain. I've seen numerous articles about the terrible drought conditions here in CO & in states surrounding, so my feelings are all about that plight & the anger of thinking the field is an ocean. Beautifully emotional poem, Irene! Happy Birthday to your mother & enjoy the reunion!

  5. You can almost hear the harvester in the painting shouting at Van Gogh, "Don't you dare..." and Van Gogh smirking with each brush stroke. :)

  6. A painting, and now a poem, that puts me in mind of the Illinois prairies I love.

  7. Irene, I signed up for Cybils again since they brought poetry back! I love how we are brought into this poem with a dare, as if the muse dares the poet to use a trite metaphor and yet, that metaphor works in different ways. I am completely thrown by the last line, which is not a bad thing. I want to sit with the mystery of it.

  8. That circling shark...those clouds dressing as oceans. What beautiful language. I've never seen a "goof" book. I'd kinda like to see one!

  9. This poem seems different than the others you have been writing. It is bold. The harvester reaches out to scold Van Gogh. Details are shared not in gentle tones: suns as shark, wheat fields as ocean, wind rising and the last line is really not expected. This leads me to deep pondering.

  10. Oh - your poem is so quirky. I confess, the bounce and the attitude actually makes me smile. Especially that last line. And those boots! Well played, Irene.

  11. Another great example of how a title can send you into a poem with a particular lens. Then that last line lingers and makes me rethink my understanding of the whole poem. So intriguing.

  12. Happy Birthday to your Mom! And of COURSE you would love that print run error... hey, maybe like misprinted stamps or coins, these will be crazy-valuable one day. ;0) I know it will be valuable to me to finally get to sit down with D-39... LOVE your poem (and Kat's comments - agreed, all!) The bit of snark + existential philosophy suit the punch of this poem in its few potent lines. Beautiful imagery, too! xo

  13. Your harvester poem is powerful and melancholic—like Tabatha I would like to remember the harvester and all he/they do for us. An art history class–have fun I loved taking art History in undergrad and graduate school. Happy Party Planning and Birthday to your Mom, thanks Irene!

  14. I love the idea of the figure in the painting in dialogue with the artist! Like others, I really like the language of the ocean and shark being applied to this landscape.

  15. So interesting to compare the wheat fields to the ocean. I can almost feel the heat of the sun beating down.

  16. Thanks for interceding, Irene--my new copy of D-39 arrived on Thursday!

    This is the kind of poem I like best of all. It has a starting point in the painting and offers a simile to start with which morphs to metaphor and then falls off the edge and drags us--and its own narrator--into the beyond. Truly, where there's a surprise for the writer, there's a surprise for the reader. Have fun at your reunion!

  17. The speaker kind of loses steam in his rant in that last stanza...


Your thoughts?