Poetry Side Quest: Invisible Work – Alison Luterman

Creative Questers
Poetry Side Quest: Invisible Work - Alison Luterman

Welcome to our poetry sidequest!

Once or twice a month, Christina will read a poem she found in her search for the muse.

Poetry can fire up your creativity in a different way than prose can. Here’s a great article on how reading poetry can improve your writing regardless of the genre you write in: https://www.iuniverse.com/en/resources/writing-and-editing/6-ways-poetry-can-improve-your-writing

Whoever you are and whatever brought you here, we hope this poem sparks your imagination and gets your creativity flowing.

If you have any comments or suggestions for future featured poems, please contact us at: creativequesters@gmail.com


The Poem:

Invisible Work by Alison Luterman

Because no one could ever praise me enough,
because I don’t mean only these poems but the unseen
unbelievable effort it takes to live
the life that goes on between them,
I think all the time about invisible work,
about the single mother on welfare I talked to
years ago, who said, “It’s hard.
You bring him to the park, run rings
around yourself keeping him safe,
cut hot dogs into bite-sized pieces for dinner, and there’s no one
to say what a good job you’re doing, how you were
patient and loving for the ten
thousandth time, even though you had a headache.”
And I, who am used
to feeling sorry for myself because I am lonely
when all the while, as the Chippewa
poem says, I am being carried
by great winds across the sky,
think of the invisible work that stitches up the world
day and night, the slow, unglamorous
work of healing, the way worms in the garden
tunnel ceaselessly so the earth can breathe and bees
enter and leave their lovers like exhausted Don Juans while owls
and poets stalk shadows, our
loneliest labors under the moon. There are mothers
for everything, and the sea
is a mother too,
whispering and whispering to us long
after we have stopped
listening. I stop and let myself lean
a moment against the blue
shoulder of the air. The work
of my heart
is the work of the world’s
heart. There is no other art.

About the poet:

Alison Luterman was raised in New England, but moved to Oakland, California in 1990. Since that time she has worked as an HIV counselor, a drug and alcohol counselor, a drama teacher, a freelance reporter, a poet-in-the-schools and currently teaches memoir and poetry to adults through the Writing Salon and elsewhere.

Her pieces have appeared in The New York Times, Nimrod, The Sun, Rattle, Poetry East, Poet Lore, Whetstone, Kalliope, Oberon, The Sun, Kshanti, The Brooklyn Review, Poet Lore, Kalliope

She describes her poetry as “accessible… with a spiritual focus, grounded in the real world of my daily life”. Her first book, The Largest Possible Life won the Cleveland State University Poetry Prize 2000 and was published in 2001.

Invisible Work” can be found in Alison’s first book, The Largest Possible Life, available from Cleveland State University Press (and on Amazon.) Her other books are See How We Almost Fly, Desire Zoo, and In the Time of Great Fires, available from Catamaran Press.
If you would like to sign up for her free, once-a-month newsletter, which consists of a short reflection on poetry-related things, a poem, and notices of upcoming classes, workshops and readings, you can sign up through her website www.alisonluterman.net (note that it’s dot net and not dot com.) Her classes are offered through Zoom, and she also offers private consultations in poetry, memoir and other kinds of writing, on Zoom, over the phone, and in person.

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