Today I’d like to share a little haiku I wrote that was first published in The Texas Observerin 2015.
Naomi Shihab Nye, who chose the poem for publication, said about my work: “I love Carie Juettner’s understated twist of observational loveliness in this tiny poem. When people in other states ask, as they frequently do, ‘Why do you live in Texas?’ one could simply reply ‘For the flowers’ and be done with it.”
This comment from my favorite poet left me smiling ear-to-ear for several days. I still get a thrill each time I read it and think about her reading my words.
With a big thanks to Naomi and The Texas Observer for giving this haiku its first home, here is “Politics aside”:
Politics aside, wildflower season brings out the blue in Texas
Last week, I was fortunate enough to read some poetry to a great audience at Malvern Books in Austin, Texas. Malvern is a unique bookstore that, according to their website, “specializes in visionary literature and poetry from independent publishers, with a focus on lesser-known and emerging voices the world needs to hear.” They opened a little over a year ago and have quickly made a name for themselves in the Austin literary community with their distinctive selection of titles and the many events they host. My reading was part of Raw Paw’s Mind Maze series, and I was honored to share the podium with Tina Posner and Jack Brannon.
Malvern Books records all of their events, so you can see my full poetry reading on YouTube. The host’s very nice introduction of me begins at 2:20. If you choose to watch the video, you will hear me read a few haiku, as well as “August in Texas,” “Growing Up on the Oregon Trail,” and my award-winning poem “Balanced Rock, Big Bend National Park,” among others. The recording cuts out just before the end of the last poem I read, which is a favorite of mine by Billy Collins. Click here to read the last few lines of “On Turning Ten.”
Please don’t stop with my video though. Take time to listen to the other readers as well. Tina Posner’s poem about her mother-in-law’s death has stuck with me since I heard it, and Jack Brannon’s reading of his own father-themed poetry paired with poems by Li-Young Lee was beautiful. All of our videos can be found on Malvern’s blog. Ours is the second event featured in this post.
I’m very grateful to Malvern Books and Raw Paw for inviting me to be a part of their event. It’s a wonderful bookstore and a wonderful place to hear poetry, so if you’re in Austin, stop by and see them. (And buy a book.)