- Title Pages
- 1 Kindred Spirits
- 2 Intimacy in Language
- 3 Laughter for Dessert
- 4 The Poetry of Ping-Pong
- 5 Days of Chess and Backgammon
- 6 Inventing a Language for Love
- 7 Poetry on the Porch
- 8 All My Trials
- 9 The AIDS Poets
- 10 Oh Did You See the Ashes Come Thickly Falling Down?
- 11 The POEMobile Dreams of Peace
- 12 Free Market Flavor
- 13 The Poetry in Science
- 14 Navigating Transitions
- 15 The Human Unit of Time
- 16 Your Body as Symbol
- 17 Intimations of Immortality
- 18 God Is in the Details
- 19 Breath on the Mirror
- 20 The Best Stories versus My Story
- 21 The Grease Lamp’s Flicker and Flare
- 22 Lion’s Gate
- 23 Rock and Word
- For Further Reading
God Is in the Details
God Is in the Details
Your Ur-Poem, Your Place Moments
- (p.193) 18 God Is in the Details
- The Poetry of Everyday Life
- Cornell University Press
This chapter looks at what it calls ur-poem and place moments. For the author's course called Writing New York Stories, which he taught for more than ten years at Cooper Union University, the author developed an approach to remembering his students' names: he had everyone write, in class, a “list poem” in which each line began “I am from…” The poem that spawned this assignment is by Kentucky-born poet and children's book writer George Ella Lyon. He says “I am from…” poems are ur-poems: everyone has one in them. He also talks about the concept of “place moments” as well as the layers of history and lore and perceptions that make up what philosopher Edward Casey refers to as “place memory.” The author argues that personal experiences transform space into place and that the value of places should be measured by the sum total of the place moments that take place within them and are committed to memory.
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