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Poetry Review: Making the Ordinary Extraordinary

By Marjorie Drysdale

Last night, I was marveling at how poets can take something ordinary and make it extraordinary. What mysterious alchemy is this?

For example, Vermont poet David Mook, in in his poem, “Unhinged,” describes a scene in late autumn where the last leaf on a tree begins to fall toward the ground, where other leaves already have gathered:

“…Just then, a second gust whips
Up a few of those already fallen
From their respite on the lawn,

 as if souls from a grassy grave
rising to meet the new arrival.”

Imagine that! Departed souls rising to meet a spirit that has just passed away. What an exquisite thought. And to think that this vision was engendered by a few dead leaves.

 In her poem, “Rubber Band Mama,” Carol Johnson Collins compares the way her mother loved to hold recipe cards together with rubber bands to the way she tried to hold family members together. This poem has a stinger of an ending! I won’t give it away here, except to say that it is well worth reading.

 In the recently published, 75th anniversary issue of the literary journal, “The Mountain Troubadour,” edited by Mary Rose Dougherty, we can enjoy these two poems, along with a collection of 72 others, each one as thought-provoking as the last. They are written by members of the Montpelier-based Poetry Society of Vermont and dedicated to long-time contributor Ann Bennis Day.

 Some poems leave us with a sense of calm; others disturb or surprise us. All in all, they are as varied as the people who write them. New poems, previously published poems, award-winning poems, and “Members’ Choice” poems, all are included in this collection.

I prefer to read poetry out loud, because poets don’t only write to us. They sing to us. They choose their words not only for their meanings, but also for their sounds. It astonishes me that poets walk among us, observing and, as if by magic, translating what they see in such a way that we learn something profound about the human experience.

The Poetry Society of Vermont welcomes new members — both those who write poems and those who appreciate them. Vermont teens and adults are encouraged to join. For further information go to poetrysocietyofvermont.org or mail your request to The Poetry Society of Vermont, P.O. Box 114, Montpelier, VT, 05061-0914.

Marjorie Drysdale is the author of “Tagalong Kid,” available on amazon.com.