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The Poetry of Everyday LifeStorytelling and the Art of Awareness$
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Steve Zeitlin

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501702358

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501702358.001.0001

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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

Steve Zeitlin

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.

Keywords:   ur-poems, place moments, George Ella Lyon, place memory, personal experiences, memory, space, place

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