Lynn G. Carlson
In March of 2014, Lynn G. Carlson of Cheyenne and Susan Vittitow Mark (also of Cheyenne) launched the Writing Wyoming, blog. (Susan is WyoPoets’ Webmaster.) Lynn attended our April workshop in Casper. My impression was that we were thrilled to have her husband, Mike, and her attend and become one of our fold. What follows shows that she approved of us, too. We are glad that Lynn has offered insights into how she came to poetry and her personal experience with the dried vegetation of the highway.
It’s been eight years since I dived into creative writing. It’s only been a year and a half since I worked up the courage to write a poem. I’ve always thought of poetry as the perfume of the writing genres, and I’m more of a toilet water kind of a gal. I was intimidated by poetry.
I took a poetry and creative nonfiction class at Laramie County Community College (with poet/professor Kristin Abraham). The class lured me in by the creative nonfiction part of it—a genre with which I’m pretty comfortable. Frankly, I was just hoping not to make a fool of myself in the poetry part of the class. What I discovered is that writing poetry is all about language and imagery, and I love both. With Kristin’s writing prompts leading the way, plenty of poems popped out, much to my relief and delight.
Not long after I finished the LCCC class, an image squirmed into my head and announced that it belonged in a poem. That poem grew and became “Generosities” which received an honorable mention in the free verse category in the recent Wyoming Writers, Inc. contest. If I stay open and flexible, the words that arrive let me know to which genre they belong. I’m thrilled to have added poetry to the list of options.
Mike, my husband, and I joined WyoPoets this spring and attended Echo Klaproth’s workshop in Casper. We found the folks there to be warm and welcoming. Incredible poetry floated around the room, too—so inspiring!
I don’t call myself a poet, fiction writer, or memoirist. I’m not much into labels. I like to think of myself as a person with a writing life. I am grateful beyond measure to have it.
7/11/2014 03:52:21 am
I've known Lynn for some time, and have always been impressed by the beauty of her writing and how insightful it is. It really is a joy to work with her on the Writing Wyoming blog.
7/11/2014 01:01:21 pm
Great poem. I've dodged a tumbleweed or two, in Colorado mostly and a couple here and there in Wyoming, but never got caught in a white-out--wait, would it be a yellow-green out?--and now know what it would look and feel like. Very nice Lynn. Love the last two lines with the wind and the scratching. I've heard that scratching as a tumble weed rides down the side of the car.
7/14/2014 12:33:46 am
Thanks, Art. Looking forward to a long alliance with WyoPoets. I'll be sponge, soaking up inspiration from you all!
7/11/2014 11:44:24 pm
I totally relate to this poem. Living in Wyoming I have personal experience with tumbleweeds. Once I saw one as big as a truck; it was barreling down the highway. Beautiful poem, Lynn. Pirouette on the asphalt - lovely phrase.
7/14/2014 12:39:40 am
Thanks, Luana. The tumbleweeds just seem very animate to me. Anyone in Wyoming/most of the West can relate, it seems.
7/12/2014 01:02:56 am
I just read your poem. I've been writing since 2006 still trying to get it "right" You certainly do. Hope to continue to read your work.
7/14/2014 12:36:14 am
Thanks for your kind words, Treva! I have not "finished" a piece of writing yet - because it's so hard to get it right. But at a certain point I think you have to just send it out there, finished or not.
7/12/2014 01:17:00 am
"Person with a writing life," how perfectly that fits. Lynn's poems and all her writing exhibit an illusive but telling element: authenticity. Readers love that; it's the connection we feel when we read her words.
7/14/2014 12:42:01 am
Thanks, Judy. Those are some really kind and generous words. I'm blushing :-)
7/12/2014 03:27:29 pm
Congrats! Love your poem, Lynn. I think we've all blasted some apart with our cars; it's kind of fun to see them explode into bits but they can scratch the paint and their remains make the grill look like the muzzle of a dog slapped by a porcupine. Just wait until you get caught in a rolling storm of them on a motorcycle.
7/14/2014 12:38:15 am
"Muzzle of a dog slapped by a porcupine" - you should make a poem from that! I can't imagine what it would be like to be on a motorcycle during tumbleweed season :-) Thanks for commenting.
7/14/2014 03:59:25 am
While you don't like labels, I consider you and old and creative friend.
7/14/2014 09:14:04 am
Friend to Barry and Betty is one label I'll gladly embrace! Thanks for your kind words.
7/16/2014 07:09:10 am
WELCOME to the world of poetry! Loved your tumbleweed poem; been there, done that so I could easily relate! Now that the words have begun "tumbling in" poetically, can't wait to hear more from you! Send a couple to me for publishing in the WyoPoets Newsletter.
7/17/2014 01:22:17 am
Thanks Echo - I will see what tumbles in and keep the WyoPoets newsletter in mind. I have a small mirror near my writing spot that reminds me every day that, whatever I write, I just have to pass muster with that face in the mirror. That's both daunting and reassuring, but it's a wonderful guideline. Thanks for introducing me to it!
8/19/2014 09:38:54 am
Hi Lynn ~ Enjoyed tumbling though your poem! Another post (Luana's) refers to seeing a "tumbleweed as big as a truck" which gave me an image I could hardly shake! Your poem took me back to the Wyoming Christmas spent in a Torrington apartment with a decorated tumbleweed for my tree. Sprayed gold and laced with tiny blue and silver bulbs..... it perched on top of my apt size refrigerator! Thanks for the memory trip back through a few decades. Rhythm and tone of your poem energized me. nag
8/19/2014 09:44:15 am
Ok...I just have to complain a second: the computer read my initials n.k.g. as 'nag' and went ahead & changed what I had typed. (I did not place periods though.) Therefore, pay no attention to 'nag' after my post.
10/9/2014 01:39:33 am
Love the look of tumbleweeds across the road - as we dipped down into the Warm Springs stretch (coming from Portland) the smell of sagebrush, tumble of spiky weed balls assured us we were almost home. Nice poem - graphic images
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Here, WyoPoets asks its members to summarize their writing lives, poetry backgrounds and inspirations. We hope that if you are not a member you will think about joining. If you are a member, this is a chance to learn how other WyoPoets’ members get their poetry onto paper. Submissions receive only minor edits. Each poet’s voice clearly shines through. If you would like to share your poetry experiences, email Myra L. Peak for details.