“Stop Flirting with Poetry! Have a Romance!”

That’s the title my friend Betty gave my poetry workshop, coming up on Saturday, August 21. I’ll be teaching beginning and intermediate poets, and anyone else who’d like to spend some time stringing words together.

I had my first poem published in the Sunday supplement of The Oregonian in February, 1989. Proudly, I showed it to my mother. “But Honey,” she said, sadly shaking her head, “it doesn’t rhyme.”

Not much poetry does rhyme these days, or even in the olden days. Emily Dickinson began using slant rhyme, or half rhyme, during the second half of the 1800s. Her contemporary, Walt Whitman, is often called the father of free verse.

Emulating Whitman’s style in his book “Leaves of Grass,” I wrote a poem that was published in RAIN Magazine this spring, called “Song of Myself, #165.” And no, it didn’t rhyme. It was actually a meandering of my mind during an early morning stroll on our coastal boardwalk, talking to the crows. And yes, it was pure poetry.

Poetry is the tumbling of our thoughts and images until they emerge as polished gems. Poetry is for those who enjoy playing and fussing with words. Poetry is life in a nutshell. Come join us! You never know—you might just fall in love.