4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

And a Few of Your Thoughts on Writing, Please

  • I used to think that to write poetry
  • I needed absolute silence, so I could hear
  • the muse in her bare feet.
  • I imagined special pens, ink the color
  • of Shelley’s eyes, and paper made only
  • from trees that had died in a hospice,
  • their pulp then pressed into quartos
  • by celibate vegetarians.
  • Certainly I needed a thesaurus as heavy
  • as Roget’s daughter, gold-leafed encyclopedia
  • filling hand-polished bookshelves, and perhaps
  • something cashmere for the higher altitudes
  • of Art.
  • Now I seem to need nothing but a room
  • and a cat. Outside, the gardener writes
  • his long, green sentences. In here, JoJo
  • steps through the window and fixes me
  • with his voluptuous eyes.
  • I pick up the stub of a pencil and go to work.

Ron Koertge is a two-time winner of the PEN USA Literary Award for Children’s Literature and is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in recognition of his achievement in poetry. He has taught at Pasadena City College and currently teaches in the low residency Writing for Children MFA Program at Vermont College. He is the author of several award-winning books of Young Adult fiction, a few of which are written in verse. His most recent collection of poems is The Ogre’s Wife, published by Red Hen Press in 2013. This poem is from his collection Geography of the Forehead, published in 2000 by University of Arkansas Press, and is published by permission.

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  • I used to think that to write poetry
  • I needed absolute silence, so I could hear
  • the muse in her bare feet.
  • I imagined special pens, ink the color
  • of Shelley’s eyes, and paper made only
  • from trees that had died in a hospice,
  • their pulp then pressed into quartos
  • by celibate vegetarians.
  • Certainly I needed a thesaurus as heavy
  • as Roget’s daughter, gold-leafed encyclopedia
  • filling hand-polished bookshelves, and perhaps
  • something cashmere for the higher altitudes
  • of Art.
  • Now I seem to need nothing but a room
  • and a cat. Outside, the gardener writes
  • his long, green sentences. In here, JoJo
  • steps through the window and fixes me
  • with his voluptuous eyes.
  • I pick up the stub of a pencil and go to work.

Ron Koertge is a two-time winner of the PEN USA Literary Award for Children’s Literature and is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in recognition of his achievement in poetry. He has taught at Pasadena City College and currently teaches in the low residency Writing for Children MFA Program at Vermont College. He is the author of several award-winning books of Young Adult fiction, a few of which are written in verse. His most recent collection of poems is The Ogre’s Wife, published by Red Hen Press in 2013. This poem is from his collection Geography of the Forehead, published in 2000 by University of Arkansas Press, and is published by permission.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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