Cornelius F. Kelly of Pinedale is this month’s Featured Member. Not only do I like his poetry; I like his prose. Cork’s poetry is ubiquitous in his prose as evidenced by his submission. His poetry has appeared in publications for a wide range of audiences. October 15 was National Poetry Day. The omnipresence of his poetry throughout so many aspects of his life and so many years of his life shows me every day is poetry day for him. We are the winners as he shares his current and past writing life with us this month.
Somebody told me once that I was a poet because I write poetry. I like that idea. It does not mean the poetry I write is good or bad. In my opinion, if a poem connects with a reader, it is good. If it fails to connect, it is bad. Let’s try this one to see what happens:
with rhythms and rhymes
are lovely to read aloud
in front of a gracious crowd,
but often a word can't be found
to balance the needs of the sound,
so the poet may curse
and resort to free verse.
I wrote my first poem at age 12 when I fell in love with the girl across the street and put my work in her mailbox. She showed it to all of the neighbors, and I became the poet laureate of my block. Certainly, poetry is the language of romance, and I used it much later in life to convince my sweetheart to become my bride.
I have a gentle writing schedule which forces me to write at least one new poem each month to fulfill my obligation to the round-robin group of five poets. I also contribute one poem each month to the Rendezvous Pointe Newsletter for our fantastic senior center. I have been known to enter a contest occasionally.
An early influence on my love of poetry came from Edgar A. Guest. This did not impress my college English professors. He was a Detroit, Michigan, writer who published frequently in local newspapers which I read.
There have been several highlights in my poetic career. I had written a poem in Spanish about the Nicaraguan poet, Rubén Darío, and had the opportunity to read it at a meeting of the Rubén Darío Cultural Society in Managua. I have published one chapbook of poetry in Spanish, a copy of which is on file at the Sublette County Library in Pinedale.
A recent highlight was being the commencement speaker for the graduating class of Whiting High School in Laramie this May with a focus on poetry.
I was honored to have my Matthew Shepard poem “I Did Not Know Him” published in the 2013 edition of the Owen Wister Review.
Another highlight was assisting Ted Kooser to use his card to gain access to his room at one of our writing conferences.
I do a prose writing every morning to my family members and other relatives in which the key news item is my glucose reading. At my age (78), health is a common topic. My poem, “Speak Diabetic” was published last summer in JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association) —another highlight in my career.
If you write a poem, you are a poet.