Eve Merriam

Colleen Chesboro’s invitation  

  came by email today. It’s Wednesday and time for Writer’s Quote. Colleen uses Toni Morrison’s quote, If there’s a book you want to read and it hasn’t been written, then you must write it.”

emerriamEve Merriam 1916–1992

“I find it difficult to sit still when I hear poetry or read it out loud. I feel a tingling feeling all over, particularly in the tips of my fingers and in my toes, and it just seems to go right from my mouth all the way through my body. It’s like a shot of adrenalin or oxygen when I hear rhymes and word play.”  Language Arts  interview.

I believe this desire to write can be encouraged. When I was twelve my teacher gave me an assignment to write a poem. I went to my father for help for I was fearful of finding rhyming words. Perhaps that fear of poetry stayed with me longer than it should, because didn’t try my hand at writing poems until I moved to California in 2012. My source of inspiration was my son, Wesley Markham Haynes. I started with haiku thinking I could at least write three lines. I’m self educated in poetry forms. I found the same was true in preparing to write. Education gives you a sharp tool, your mind.

Eve felt a keen need to write poetry. Much of the time her published works were intended for children. She called her Inner City Mother Goose of poems, one of the most banned book of it’s time, 1969. “She transforms nursery rhymes into social commentary. “Hushabye Baby” is not on the treetop but on “the top floor / Project elevator / Won’t work any more,” and “Mary, Mary / Urban Mary,” watches her “sidewalk grow / with chewing gum wads / And cigarette butts.” In December 1971 the poems from the book were set to music by Helen Miller, Inner City: A Street Cantata. The play opened on Broadway that same year. You can see from this short YouTube video that times haven’t changed.

From the book by the same title, on of my favorite poems by Eve Merriam.
how to eat a poem

How To Eat A Poem
Don't be polite.
 Bite in.
 Pick it up with your fingers and lick the juice that
may run down your chin.
 It is ready and ripe now, whenever you are.
You do not need a knife or fork or spoon
 or plate or napkin or tablecloth.

For there is no core
 or stem
 or rind
 or pit
 or seed
 or skin
 to throw away.

4 thoughts on “Eve Merriam

  1. Pingback: Writer’s Quote Wednesday Weekly Wrap-Up from 4/15/15 | Silver Threading

  2. Using fairy tales is such a great vehicle to make these social statements with! Clever, yet at the same time, an obvious choice. I would have liked to see that play. A modern interpretation would probably be very successful.

    Liked by 1 person

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