Photo: Gwendolyn Soper. Harriman Bird Refuge, Idaho

IN MY MIND, writing poetry and writing music share something:  knowing where to put black ink on paper. Just the right amount. Oh, and an awareness of space — where to leave space alone around the lines and dots. While good music gives the performer space to breathe, the listener also benefits. They can mentally inhale and exhale.

What, then, of good poetry?

Honestly? Lungs don’t have the monopoly on breathing. The sound and shape of words on a page not only let the listening ear breathe, the reading eye breathes as well.

Sadly, I suffered chemical poisoning in 2005. It happened while rehearsing for Mozart’s opera, The Magic Flute. We were singing in an unventilated theater that had just been varnished. I didn’t know at the time that I have a genetic condition called MTHFR. Yes. When you see it on paper it looks like mother effer: the very thing I’d been trying not to say for years after that rehearsal. Like the aria, “Der Hölle Rache,” which I performed on stage many times, I often wondered if “hell’s vengeance,” for whatever reason, had come.

Consequently, I was unable to participate in music (or much of anything) for many years. It took ten years to find a doctor who knew how to identify and treat my condition. Once I began to feel well enough, it was natural for me to turn to poetry: I have a passion for how black ink can draw color out of a person.




Thanks for stopping by! Here is a link to more of my writing. You’ll find some of my poetry, and my published commentary about current events & basic human rights.

[Black and white photography by me. Home page image: Spring City, Utah.
This page: Harriman Bird Refuge, Idaho.]

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