Dear Ellen Bass,
I am the woman who passed you in the hallway this morning at the LA Convention Center, and stopped you mid-stride to say thank you.
Yesterday in your talk, “Embracing a Poetics of Joy,” you said many true things.
The world needs poetry, but I don’t think it needs anyone particular person to write it. So if you don’t love it, do something else.
I do love it, the way you love it; the way all the writers I know and admire love it, the way, if we’re lucky enough and work hard enough, we might tweak the world a tiny bit for another and help unfold more tender awareness of each other.
I know it’s not an obscure poem, yet I still meet people who have never read your Gate C22. It’s poem that changed the way I travel through airports watching people walk, holding hands or not holding hands, kissing or not kissing, leaving or returning with joy or regret.
For them, I share your gift of reading that poem aloud.
Yesterday, you also said:
It’s an honor to put my pebble on the altar of poetry. I’m joyful that I still get to walk up to the altar.
Thank you for doing all the hard work that carrying that pebble entails. I’m joyful too that you walk to the poetry altar.
This is part of a series of gratitude letters to poets in celebration of National Poetry Month.You can read more about Ellen here: Ellen Bass | Award-winning SantaCruz-Based Poet And Educator