January O’Neil

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One of the great things about my job is that I help organize author visits at the library and we hold a bi-monthly open-mic. A little bit ago, we were fortunate enough to have the poet, January O’Neil as our special guest at the open-mic. She read from her new book of poetry called Underlife. Not only was her poetry great, it reminded me of the power that poetry has to stir up your emotions, but she was such a gracious guest. She stayed for the open-mic portion that has a regular crowd of people of various levels of talent. She was so warm and supportive.

Once upon a time, poetry was a big part of my life and somehow it has completely slipped through the cracks for me. Hearing January and reading her blog, made me realize how much I miss poetry and how I need to strike a better balance with my reading. With all my obligation reading, it has been hard to fit the poetry in. I have been reading Philip Levine’s New of the World and right under that, I have my copy of Underlife which I will start next. I know from her reading, that I already loved her poems about her children and her poem about her mother who was a nurse in a maternity ward.  I particularly loved this line:

…She liked doing the / the kind things love cannot do: adjusting another woman’s breast, /lifting the pillow under her head so the baby slips just above the / mother’s ribs, offering advice or comfort before returning to the /NICU, the tectonic plates of mother and child drifting together and then apart. (p.16)

It reminded me of how good the nurses were when I had my son. I had never been cared for like that before and it was the little things like the scene described above that made me so grateful to them.

So, more poetry for me. It will soon be April and National Poetry Month, so what better way to work on my new spring resolution. Thank you January O’Neil for getting me back on track!


One thought on “January O’Neil

    kate said:
    March 25, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    Wonderful. I’m adding this to my list right away. Thank you for the recommendation!

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