Monday, June 27, 2011

Writing Weekly, A New Feature!

Hello all! I've been thinking a lot about my blog lately, and whether or not I want to make any changes to what I post here. Coco Maria is certainly first and foremost a daily style blog. I started it with the intention of posting pictures of my daily outfits, and I love doing that, so that's not going anywhere. Something else I love, though, has been taking a back seat on this blog: poetry. I'm going through tis transitional phase in my life where I'm trying to figure out what poetry means to me (that sounded less pretentious in my head). What I mean to say is that for a long time I thought of poetry as a hobby, something I loved but not something I would whole heartedly pursue. This year at school has kind of made me reconsider that, which both frightens and excites me. Though I'm not sure what path I'll ultimately pursue, I will be reading a lot this summer, and hopefully writing a bit too. My plan for the Writing Weekly feature as of now is to share something I'm reading or have read over the summer, probably a book of poetry but sometimes a novel, and share my thoughts and a few excerpts for you guys. Maybe if I'm working on something, I'll share that here some weeks instead of something I've read, but we'll just see how it goes :)

The Soul Farmer by Jeff McDaniel

In the beginning, with only a few acres
of humans to care for, god planted
each soul by hand, but over time,
as his business grew, he got more

and more removed from the day-to-day
of his enterprise. Now he reclines
in a celestial hammock, nibbling meteors
like intergalactic hors d'oeuvres,

star clusters glittering like martini
glasses. His migrant angels oversee
his humanoid crop, plucking us
as we ripen. Ah, the rich taste

of a tormented soul properly marinated
in experience.
The messages pile up
on his prayer machine. Centuries
since he's repainted the sky.

For the first Writing Weekly post, I wanted to share a book of poetry I read called The Endarkenment by Jeffrey McDaniel. I actually took a poetry workshop with Jeff last semester that probably ended up being the most beneficial class I've taken so far. I had read some of his poetry during the week before the start of spring semester and was totally blown away by how much I enjoyed his poetry. Right after the semester ended, I ordered this book of his and quickly read it from cover to cover. Jeff's poetry is the kind I like to read, and hope to write. It's real. It's not pretentious or difficult to understand. It's grounded in things you can see and feel. He can take something very ordinary, and make it into an interesting, meaningful experience. In his poem "Air Empathy," for example, hearing a baby cry on a plane becomes a reflection of emotion, and why it's so taboo to express extreme emotion after you've become a certain age. His poems can also have the opposite effect. In his poem "The Soul Farmer," he discusses the absence of god in his life and the lives of others, a grand idea, and compares it to something as simple as farming, while painting god in a surreal, interesting light. Overall, I really enjoyed reading Jeff's poetry. He looks at simple things in interesting and new ways, and really allows the reader to come along for the ride with him. I highly recommend reading his work, especially if you find yourself disliking most poetry you come across. I'm very picky when it comes to what I like to read, especially with poetry, because I find that a lot of poetry is lofty and inaccessable, making sense mostly to the poet, but leaving the reader in the dust. Jeff's poetry is the opposite of that. It's real and wonderful, and I think you should read it.

Air Empathy by Jeff McDaniel

On the red-eye from Seattle, a two-year-old
in the seat behind me screeches

his miniature guts out. Instead of dreaming
of stuffing a wad of duct tape into his mouth,

I envy him, how he lets his pain spurt
into the open. I wish I could drill

a pipeline into the fields of ache, tap
a howl. How long would I need to sob

before the lady beside me dropped
her fashion rag, dipped a palm

into the puddle of me? How many
whimpers before another passenger

joined in? Soon the stewardess
hunched over the drink cart, the pilot

gushing into the controls, the entire plain:
an arrow of grief quivering through the sky.

Until tomorrow,


  1. Thanks for sharing, Nicole! I really liked "Air Empathy". :D

    Lidi @ Eclectic Flair

  2. Wow nicole, you are getting so thin! you look great either way though :) I am a somewhat new reader to your blog....have you mentioned on here how you are losing your weight?


  3. Oh I am going to love this new feature! I wrote a bunch of poems and posted them on the blog last year, this made me miss that.

    I really like his style, he reminds me of the David Sedaris of poetry, maybe a little more serious.

  4. I am SO excited that you're doing this feature- seriously SO excited. I have always loved poetry, but am not as well-read in that area as I hope to be. I'm really looking forward to being introduced to new poets! I really like the 2nd poem here. One of my favorite poets is Anne Sexton for the same reasons that you mentioned- her poetry is accessible but still genius.

  5. Great feature idea! I really liked The Soul Farmer. This inspires me to get back to reading poetry, and I'm looking forward to your future recommendations.

  6. I really love the first poem! It reminds me of a section of The Grapes of Wrath that I just read, although in that case it was actual farmers becoming detached from the land.

    I too prefer poetry that is about something definite, (with the exception of T.S. Eliot who can be as opaque as he wants). Looking forward to the rest of this feature!

  7. Just found your blog, such a delight! Looking forward to catching up on what I've missed :) x

  8. I think this is a great idea. Poetry is such an inspiration! You should include hidden gems from little known poets instead of Shakespeare and T.S. Eliot. (Even though they are the best!) I'm curious to see what you find.


Thank you so, so much for taking some time to comment on my blog!