Last night, I read The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart by Gabrielle Calvocoressi.
And it was lovely.
I haven’t written much about my own writing on this blog, but the project that I have been working on all semester has been a series of sequence poems that all chronologically represent the past summer in my life.
I’ve struggled with the way to make 20 poems describing vastly different events flow together in the way the need to, but reading this short chapbook was definitely the help I needed.
This book is a series of poems from different historical persons’ perspectives about…you guessed it… the last time they all saw Amelia Earhart.
Her language is concise, conversational, in a way that is difficult to do in poetry without being way too simple.
She creates emotional depth that rocked me to the core with the simplest of images.
A portion of my favorite poem of the collection is:
VII: Joel Sullivan, miner
“Amelia Earhart is a dream
my daughter won’t give up.
Sometimes I want to shake her,
tell her what small towns are,
how the coal dust coats your skin
till darkness never leaves you
and the sky doesn’t matter much
when you’re wheezing underground.
She won’t believe that woman’s dead.
She says, I think it’s romantic
to disappear. I bite my tongue
to keep from telling her
she’ll get her chance in time.”
Her language is simple, uncomplicated. I can picture a dirty, tired miner saying these words, but at the same time, the beauty of her poetry is the imagery, the connections she makes. She makes us feel the emotions of every character in every poem by getting into their experience and telling the story from their perspective. By doing this, she gives homage and honor to one of the most well-known American heroes.
So be encouraged, friends. Keep telling good stories, engaging emotionally, and keeping it simple. And if you need inspiration, read The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart.