I hope everyone has had, as we say here, a good "slide" into the new year!
I have so many thoughts at the beginning of this new year, the beginning of the third pandemic year that has so altered our lives: reflections about where I and my friends and loved ones are at in our lives personally as we start the year, and a patient curiosity to see what this next segment of time that we humans have arbitrarily defined will bring to all of us.
Last week I read Mary Oliver's A Poetry Handbook. In her chapter on "Imitation," she talks about how other artistic disciplines imitate past works as part of their education. How often have we seen artists sitting in front of a painting at a museum, sketching or painting, in an effort to learn through imitation how the artist created their masterwork? Mary Oliver says:
Before we can be poets, we must practice; imitation is a very good way of investigating the real thing.
She goes on to say:
It demands finally, a thrust of our own imagination -- a force, a new idea -- to make sure that we do not merely copy, but inherit, and proceed from what we have learned.
This just reinforced my desire to read more poetry this year than ever before. Fortunately, one of my Christmas gifts will help me do that: