Friday, November 19, 2010

Poetry Friday


Years ago, when I first started writing for kids, I attended my first SCBW (no I back then) conference. At the end, after the last keynote speaker had spoken, there was a sudden rush of questioning. Where was Jane Yolen?

I sat up in my seat. I knew Jane Yolen. I had been reading her for years in Fantasy and SF magazines. What was she doing here?

Well, it turned out she was giving a market report, something she was known to do at these conferences, and I discovered that Jane not only wrote SF/F but she wrote for kids, too. Heck, she was (and still is) the Queen of Children’s Writing. After the conference, I went home and checked out her books. Boy, was I surprised.


The same thing happened with Margaret Atwood. I’ve read her SF/F books, I knew she was a big name author, but I had no clue she wrote poetry, too, until I accidentally stumbled across the below poem. Seems she is as big in poetry as she in SF/F, perhaps even more so. Actually, she’s big all over the writing world. Heck, she’s the Queen of Canadian Writers!

So here it is, A Photograph of Me by Margaret Atwood. And while you read, I shall be googling a few more of the authors I read. Who knows what’ll turn up?


This Is A Photograph Of Me
by Margaret Atwood

It was taken some time ago.
At first it seems to be
a smeared
print: blurred lines and grey flecks
blended with the paper;

then, as you scan
it, you see in the left-hand corner
a thing that is like a branch: part of a tree
(balsam or spruce) emerging
and, to the right, halfway up
what ought to be a gentle
slope, a small frame house.

In the background there is a lake,
and beyond that, some low hills.
(The photograph was taken
the day after I drowned.

I am in the lake, in the center
of the picture, just under the surface.

It is difficult to say where
precisely, or to say
how large or small I am:
the effect of water
on light is a distortion

but if you look long enough,
eventually
you will be able to see me.)


For more of Margaret Atwood's poetry go here.
And for more great poetry of all sorts, check out the round up at Random Noodling, hosted by Diane Mayr.

5 comments:

A Teaching Life said...

Well, I did not know about Atwood's poetry either - this is lovely, haunting. Thank you!

Barbara said...

Just my small contribution to those of us who like something a little different.

I'm Jet . . . said...

a little cool . . . a little creepy!

B.C. said...

In my classroom I've been teaching the poetry "move" of surprise...Atwood's brilliant poem certainly has some surprise in it. I don't get a creepy vibe...I just really like it. A lot. Thanks for sharing.

Barbara said...

That's what I liked about it, BC. Everything's going along nicely, and then we get "This photograph was taken the day after I drowned." I never saw it coming. And it makes you sit up and anticipate the rest that's yet to come.