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Think Out Loud

Rebroadcast: Paulann Petersen

Pete Springer/OPB

Oregon’s poet laureate, Paulann Petersen, calls herself an ambassador for poetry in Oregon. In this show (which originally aired a year ago) we talk to Petersen about her work, and her teaching, and the role of the state poet laureate. She admits that she never took a class in creative writing in school and that there was never a book of poetry in her house when she was growing up. Nevertheless, as an adult, she found poetry and says she was stunned by what she discovered.

Now Petersen believes poetry belongs to all of us. That it is not the domain of the few, or of the elite. She writes, and reads, for everyone in her role. Here is one of hers, A Sacrament:

Become that high priest,
the bee. Drone your way
from one fragrant
temple to another, nosing
into each altar. Drink
what’s divine—
and while you’re there,
let some of the sacred
cling to your limbs.
Wherever you go
leave a small trail
of its golden crumbs.

In your wake
the world unfolds
its rapture, the fruit
of its blooming.
Rooms in your house
fill with that sweetness
your body both
makes and eats.


coast poetry

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