Friday, April 12, 2013

National Poetry Month - Styrofoam Home

Photo courtesy of

My daughter’s dear childhood friend, Ellen Goodrich, attends the University of Kansas and has found her literary and artistic niche in poetry.  Currently finishing her second year at KU, Ellen is the head literary editor of Kiosk, the university’s student-run art and literature journal.

Recently Ellen introduced me to “ecopoetics”, a budding genre that looks at humanity in relation to nature, rather than separate from nature.  A blend of poetics, science, and theory, ecopoetics places an emphasis on drawing conclusions between human activity and how it is influenced by the surrounding environment.  Personally, I enjoy the way that Ellen looks at ordinary objects and uses them to tell us her personal story in a relatable manner.  What do you think?

Styrofoam Home by Ellen Goodrich

I once snuffed
cigarettes on fallen leaves
just to smell something familiar
in a town where
I felt I was other.
Back then I knew only that
the ground was always below me
(a mixture of dirt and broken rock
and particles of snipes
from countless smokers before)
and the ash tray was always
several steps
too far away.
I haven’t smoked in weeks but
since then I’ve smelled
burning leaves
and I’ve learned that
most cities are the same
clump of buildings with
different bodies
navigating the interiors.
Some nights I have
found myself walking
on streets, smelling
food rotting in dumpsters
in alleyways running
parallel to strips of shops
and restaurants,
populated by parents and
children and people on first dates
who donated five bucks to
an eco-conscious charity
worker on the corner of
8th and Massachusetts
to give a good impression
and they will take home
their leftovers
in sectioned-off
Styrofoam boxes.

Poetry can be challenging to read, but it is well worth the effort. If you are curious about poetry (and I certainly hope you are) check out this link over on the Poetry Foundation's website.  Here you will find some strategies meant to assist you in your budding interest in this wonderful literary genre.


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