Poetry & The Creative Mind Day celebrates and honors the bright minds and craft of poetry.
Poetry, as a term and medium, originated many centuries ago, starting from folk songs and tales. These would be passed down and developed into the forms we know today. Poetry has many different forms. From songs, haikus, and limericks to sonnets, elegies, and epics, even the hardest of hearts are affected by the power of poetry.
Poetry plays a role in every major culture. Many of us may have been exposed to poetry at a young age with nursery rhymes, songs, and children’s books like those by Dr. Suess. Poetry & The Creative Mind Day honors everyone who takes part in an art form.
Before we get to today’s books, we want to share a poem from a reader, who reached out the last time we had a poetry day.
A note from the poet:
When I saw that January 10, the day I turned 53, was described as Poetry at Work Day on the I Heart Saphhfic email, I immediately thought about poems I’d written on work-related topics that might be of interest to readers of queer fiction. I thought about this poem written last May in reaction to someone calling me (who has lived life as male) ma’am.
Since turning 50 at the start of the pandemic, I have had a lot of time to ponder the meaning of things that I had been recognizing off and on throughout life but never really questioned. In addition to reading numerous trans-memoirs and a book on trans-children’s history, I have spent a lot of time enjoying sapphic fiction, and writing poetry about my shift in gender expression. This is work-related as I was attending the graduation of a female student and mentee when the event happened.
While I do not identify as trans, I suppose this would count as my first experience passing. Each person in the community has her own struggles and victories. I do too.
The first time I found myself addressed as ma’am
I was sitting, waiting in the terrace,
A seat above the anxious graduates
In a section where no one else had sat
Pretty much, just minding my own bus’ness.
In the lobby, I had asked where to sit
And had been told anywhere was okay.
Someone had come to tell me otherwise.
My hair was hanging over the collars
Of my bright pink shirt and dark green blazer
And I wore a blue four-sided earring,
That has a hollow middle and dangles.
It looks beautiful when it catches light.
The usher had seen me just from behind
And was trying to get my attention—
They wanted guests who were seated upstairs
In one section of the symphony hall.
Trying to direct me to the center,
She called me ma’am to get my attention.
I ignored the first couple of attempts,
Thinking that someone else had sat near me.
But then I understood, I was her target.
Misgendering was not that big a deal.
It was surprising but not upsetting.
If anything it was reaffirming—
Trying some of Auntie Kate’s ideas
Transgressing societal gender norms
Finally had led someone to wonder,
Expressed quite vocally and publicly,
The gender of the person they looked at.
If asked, I would say that I wonder, too;
I have been trying to figure that out;
I enjoy my personal expression;
I will let you know when I understand;
In the meantime, please call me what you will,
I am who I am, which satisfies me;
I do not follow all norms, that’s okay;
You should feel free to ignore norms as well.
My capacity to be accepting
Of the confusion I cause in others
Enables me to cause more confusion
As I continue transgressing gender,
Moving to my own rhythm in the world.
by Kevin D. Frick