Saturday, January 10, 2009

A Vermont Carpenter & Poet Named Patrick Gillespie

Yes, I realize the world is going to hell and a hand basket. American forces continue to occupy two countries, Israel is going berserk in Gaza, capitalism is self-liquidating and global warming lurks as a ticking time bomb. Nonetheless, please allow me to take a break from my usual political/current events/policy blogging to promote my good friend Patrick Gillespie's poetry blog, PoemShape. Now more than ever, embracing artistic creativity is needed in our daily lives as a humanity touchstone.

Patrick describes himself as a,
"Carpenter & Poet living ‘up in Vermont’. I have three little girls, too many possessions, and too little time."
Hence, his blogging pseudonym, "Up In Vermont." Long time readers of the Intrepid Liberal Journal may recall the incisive and sometimes irreverent comments Patrick has posted here over the years. His comments are really a continuation of an ongoing twenty-year conversation. We've been talking, debating, mocking and pondering the world of politics and popular culture since we were sarcastic undergraduates at Sarah Lawrence College. Between us we must have every episode of the original Star Trek and Beatles song memorized.

In 1999, William L. Bauhan published a collection of Patrick's poems entitled, Opening Book. It was well received but not well promoted. My favorite review was from Robert Frost biographer Jay Parini who wrote,
"Patrick Gillespie writes with clarity and grace: two virtues often absent from contemporary poetry."
I pick up Opening Book whenever I'm despondent or simply need to feel as if I'm engrossed and floating at the same time. The book also includes Patrick's delicious "All Hallow's Eve" fable.

With his PoemShape blog, Patrick not only features his own work but also promotes appreciation for the art itself:
"I started the blog for two reasons. The first was to get my poems before the public, and the second was to talk about something I like - Poetry. Besides my poetry, if something I write helps another enjoy poetry then all the better."
Patrick's analysis of Shakespeare's Sonnets, Chaucer's Iambic Pentameter style as well as his stated preference for "meter" over "free verse" is instructive and provocative. His commentary about Shakespeare's 145th Sonnet is especially vintage Patrick:
"This is one of my favorite Sonnets by Shakespeare. And it is the one sonnet, of the 154, that some Shakespeare 'scholars' consider to be apocryphal - which is to say, they think it isn’t by Shakespeare. I, drawing my line in the Vermont snow, say they are wrong. This sonnet, unless some letters are discovered, is as close as we may come to hearing Shakespeare’s unscripted voice."
Patrick's blog is worth reading for the detailed analysis he provides about Sonnet 145 alone. I can just hear Patrick's voice with the line: "I, drawing my line in the Vermont snow, say they are wrong."

Overall, avid poetry readers may not agree with Patrick's analysis or opinions but will hopefully admire his demonstrated love for the art. More importantly, novices will be inspired to learn about poetry for themselves after reading his blog. Either way, Patrick Gillespie's PoemShape blog provides nourishment in a time of turbulence.

1 comment:

upinVermont said...

Wow Rob,

Thanks. I feel sheepish.

I'm going to return the favor, good friend.

But look (all that talk about my line in the Vermont snow) I have to tell you, it's mere bravado. I count on that snow, along with the line I drew in it, melting away sometime in April.

Thanks, Rob.