What is teen poetry? I wouldn't say that it is something you can exactly put your finger on. For me, it is an artistic venture and use of the language that is challenging and creative, yet graspable. It is the art of elevating concepts to be experienced by the senses and not just the mind. It is imagery and not just intellectualism, in fact it harbors much of the opposite. It is the expression of mind, body and spirit all rolled into one.
I gave my teen poetry book to a friend of mine that had never liked poetry. He saw poetry as an exercise for college professors with nothing better to do than masticate with their befuddled brains. Hoity-toity was the word I believe he used. When he got back to me a few days later about my poetry book The Wolf Pack Moon, he had changed his tune. He told me he was surprised. He actually liked it, that it wasn't like any poetry he had ever read.
At one of our recent events the book was purchased by a 5th grader. I was thinking, too young. What would she do with the book? The event was a two day event, and the next day her parents brought her by my booth to thank me. She loved the book. So, I stand corrected. Maybe it is also a book for tweens as well as teens.
Shakespeare, in order to keep his head, had to think of one thing and write about another. He had a grasp of society and language that isn't even common or taught today in schools, so what he created does not work very well as a template for communicating to modern youth.
I am not trying to denigrate his great works, they are timeless in their avoidance of the words he wanted to come right out and openly say. But in contrast, that doesn't mean that hidden meaning and metaphor should define all poetry, either.
The lion's share of the poems in this book was written under the influence of the wolf pack moon during the months of January and February of 2015. This is the name of the winter moon as given by the Algonquin Indians that hunted and gathered the Great Lakes State of Michigan where we live.
The hard northern winters are a battle between optimism and pessimism and these poems are a reflection of that mental, physical and spiritual struggle.
Wolf Pack Moon
If I were a moon,
I’d take my place in the universe.
I’d orbit earth. I’d sail above in the winter sky.
I’d raise the tide and make it slack. I’d guide your ship
from man to wife. I’d be your beacon
in the dark of night.
Wolves would pack. Howls would echo
my audacity. I’d be okay. Monks would chant.
Tribes would dance and sing my praise.
If I were a moon, I’d give to you
fertility, men with heart and men with soul enough to woo
the arms of love and chivalry. They’d covet and sow
abundant seed. Wombs would swell, faces beam. I’d burst
with joy and the color of spring.
Touch and Grace
If I Were hand,
I could smooth a crease
from your worried face. I could
grasp what you hate
and hold it away
out of your reach. I could
glide you across the kitchen floor
while Neil Young strums his blue guitar.
If I were a hand, I’d touch your waist.
I’d caress your cheek with touch and grace.
I’d pull you close and never let go.
If I were a hand, I’d lift your soul.
If I were luck,
I’d choose to be good.
I’d live in your pocket
and kiss your fingers
long before you rolled the dice.
I’d blow on your hands and help you out
with a flippant flip of a silver coin. If I were luck,
I’d pick from the deck
the ace of hearts. You’d hit the jackpot
of love and wealth. We’d trick the devil
and outwit gods. If I were luck,
you’d beat the odds.
To purchase the book, go here.
More Poetry at richardrensberry.com