September 4th, 2005

Egrets Reading

Poetry and Katrina

When the tsunami hit Asia last winter, the poetry channels I frequent went into overtime writing tsunami poetry. I can remember reading a few posts of indignation about the idea of writing about people's suffering, yet as poets, we need to record the images we see.

There was a similar outpouring on the poetry e-lists to 9-11...

...and the Columbia disaster.

So far, poets haven't tackled hurricane Katrina much, and I'm not sure why.

Is it because it's still too soon - there's not enough distance? Yet, the first 9-11 poems appeared on 9-12.

Or, are hurricanes less exotic than a tsunami and somehow less inspiring thing to write about?

I'm really not sure.

So, far I've been too stunned and overcome by the images of suffering to write much on it either. It seems like I'd rather use my pen to write a check to the Red Cross, which isn't a bad thing, it's just a different reaction.

I did manage a haiku before the levees broke:

August hurricane
churning water near the tops
of the levees

Deborah P Kolodji

However, this haiku seems far too tame when faced with today's newspaper photos.