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Spotlight on Walden // Mar 13, 2015

Celebrating Women with Poetry

Editor’s Note: Dr. Lisa Pertillar Brevard, a core faculty member and academic coordinator of humanities in the College of Undergraduate Studies, teaches Creative Writing: Contemporary Nonfiction and Poetry as well as Women’s Literature and Social Change. Dr. Brevard finds inspiration in the work of diverse women poets, such as Phillis Wheatley, Gabriela Mistral, and Joni Mitchell. In honor of Women's History Month, she shares an original poem that is also a reflection of many women in the Walden community.

Women’s History Month is a time to reflect on the challenges and contributions of women in various roles, including parenting, volunteering, fundraising, community involvement, and working with/leading civic and business organizations. Here at Walden University, women are building on the cultural legacy of community involvement, studying toward and earning academic degrees that provide the knowledge and skills needed to address community and world problems.

Reflection is a regular and integral part of many Walden courses and programs of study. Similarly, reflection is also a starting point and periodic touchstone for creative writing. Poetry can be intensely personal. Yet, in its purest form, it is often universal—expressing everyday themes such as love, loss, happiness, pain, and possibilities. In my poem, Kitchen Table (Brevard, 2015), a woman engaged in many competing tasks eagerly awaits and finally seizes the opportunity to focus on her writing—a transformative experience to which many Walden students, faculty, and staff can relate.

Kitchen Table

“Don’t know where to begin,”
She breathed to herself,
Exhaling sharply briefly
Monitoring her stark
Computer screen

Beside(s) her mouse
Sitting kitty-corner

A-waiting her
Quiet kitchen table

“So much to do today!”
She self-said aloud.

She wondered well
She had gotten that far.

So much had happened
At that sturdy
Kitchen table
Already …

Just today
At that well-worn
Wooden plane

Paid down some bills
Paid a visit

To an old friend
Her healing words
Traversing many miles
By old-school telephone

Quick grace
In squid-blue ink
On a beach-white

milk, bread, eggs, jump drive …

No jive!

Not so oddly, she even

Scratched new plans

On an old paper pad

Indelibly stamped

Sincere sentiment
Onto generic cardboard
Store-bought greetings

Custom crafts
She now stowed all away
In a little shoebox
She labeled,
“For Another Day” …

Then she

The sup(p)er star:
Pink chicken-in-the-raw
Promising golden greatness
When all is good and done.

She scrubbed down
That heavy wooden plane

Once a-gain
Rinsing the hot
Sudsy cotton cloth
Between swipes

Across the golden grain
Final wringing just right
For one last

At last,
Its surface cleanly dried
Its plane once a-gain
Ready runway
For words
Flying from fingers
Eager to master tasks
Of anticipated

In the
Finally quiet
Kitchen table nook
Her thoughts again
Shook …

PC purring
Cursor scurrying
Digits dancing

In the keys of

The kitchen
Had not tabled
Her yet