InsideOut: Life Poetry

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I was talking with my new friend Chris Creeabout plans and dreams this past week when we arrived at the topic of poetry.

“It’s not my thing,” he said to me.

“But, Chris,” I said, before I could stop myself. “Life is poetry!”

Cheesy, I know, but it was a gut reaction--one that took me by surprise. I don’t think I would have responded this way a few short months ago. The fact is my view of poetry has changed of late. I used to think of poetry not unlike Chris: it’s not my thing. In my mind, it was for the culturally privileged or the academic elite--those exalted creatures who share little common ground with a practical gal like me.

All that changed when I met L.L. Barkat.

Under this remarkable woman’s tutelage I have come to a place of new appreciation for the word-sculpting that is poetry. The poetry prompts and tips that she features in her blog have wooed me into this strange land of poetry. And what an adventure it has been. But that is a story for another day. This day, I have something else to share.

L.L.'s newly released book ,InsideOut: poems, was on my Christmas list this year. Lucky for me, my husband takes hints well (especially when they are emailed to him in the form of links).

In the introduction of her book L.L. discusses her poetry-writing philosophy:

This is the tale of poetry-writing for many people. Unable to copy the clipped meter of Dickinson or the narrative voice of Frost, they give up and leave the effort to others. If the writing of poetry were not such a satisfying and healing endeavor, this would be a fine conclusion…Few of us who play with words will become the next poet laureate, but why should this stop us? If we can read poetry well, or speak poetry in normal conversation (which many of us uncannily do), then it might not hurt to try writing poetry too…”

But L.L. misleads us with this humble introduction. This gifted teacher not only speaks poetry--she writes it very well.

InsideOut collects common moments and turns them into the extraordinary.

Consider this excerpt from Ignition:

Who can say when sorrow

will glide into the heart

like some Trojan Horse

on wheels


beneath a bronzing maple,

it rode in on the curl

of a lemon-blushed leaf.

Or this unnamed gem:

Moss relents

and so the day, I break

beneath the shaded tree,

the promise of your fingers

falling softly.

The poems are broken into four sections, each corresponding to a season. The author was inspired by a commitment to spend some time outside each day for one year. Thus, there is a strong element of nature which wreaks an awakening of sorts--at least for me. The eyes are opened to the oft overlooked.

The air is silk,

morning raises yet again

its veil of longing.

Other moments--intimate, sorrowful, humorous--are gathered in these pages. And the beauty of poetry is this: a different story is revealed to each reader.

If the way we live our lives has rhythm; if we seek beauty and emotional expression daily--Life is poetry.

L.L. Barkat gives us a work of beauty that captures this truth through InsideOut: poems

post and photo by Laura Boggess