Literary Hook: Another poem from The Clearing

I am pleased to publish the work of my students at this summer’s Clearing class, titled “The Process of Writing.” This week’s column will feature a short poem by Jack Douthitt.

Jack Douthitt is a retired architect who has written nonfiction for many years. After taking creative writing classes at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, he discovered the joy of writing fiction and poetry. He lives in Milwaukee.

Of “Canyon Evening,” Jack says: “ A visit to the Grand Canyon has been on my list of places I want to go for many years. Last spring, I was able to fulfill that desire. This poem was written after sitting on the edge of the canyon watching a magnificent sunrise.”

Canyon Evening

Shadows leisurely

climb the canyon walls.

Colorado’s sparkle

disappears into darkness.

Castles, thrones, and temples

surrender to the night.

Above, brilliant flames

of alizarin mingle

with ochre and sienna.

Drifting on the wind

they cast no shadows

on the now black canyon.

You can see Jack’s architectural background in the shape of this poem, can’t you? It is actually built like both a canyon with strata of rock and a building. There is an elegant simplicity in the poem, like minimalist architecture. Those sensibilities and experiences that make up a person show up in poetry, both in content and form. That is the beginning of style and voice.

from the July 11-17, 2007, issue

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