The recent flap about Gov. McCrory’s probably well-meaning, but totally clueless appointment of a new North Carolina poet laureate (who later resigned) sent me for a look back at my own skimpy collection of published poems.
It’s been years since I’ve written any poetry other than an annual Christmas ode for my family, and I found that many of the published poems are a little dated with references to burning bras and burning candles, trout fishing in America and Deliverance, and Dizzy Gillespie playing at the long-closed Frog and Nightgown pub in Raleigh — but I can still identify with most of them.
I was interested to see that some of my concerns haven’t changed since the early l970s. I was upset then, as now, about rampant development when I wrote “… a great caterpillar crawls into their field pushing up earth, underbrush, and brittle, beetle-cleaned bones … a bunch of old graves.” and “… the naked hillsides stripped of trees … .” Litter was also on my radar in a little-rhymed ditty called Pomp or Circumstance about paper cups and sandwich bags, broken glass and old tin cans marching along the beach, which I dubbed The United Rubbish Corps and Litterbug’s Brass Band.
I enjoyed rereading those earlier writings and found that while I was definitely never poet laureate material, I’m not ashamed to have my name attached to them. It almost, but not quite, stirred the muse and made me reach for pad and pencil to see if I could still coax a poetic thought or two from my head.
But then, I decided that somewhere along the way, I made the right decision when I traded poetry for pottery, and my time would be better spent in the studio getting ready for Pottery Fest at Under the Oaks coming up Sept. 13.
—Jean McCamy is a Wake Forest artist.