Poetry Friday & NPM: Writing Wild, Day 16

I discovered Rebecca Solnit many years ago when I spotted her book, Wanderlust: A History of Walking on a shelf at my local library. As a passionate walker, I was intrigued, and Solnit’s expansive perambulation from ancient Athens to today’s suburban sidewalks and treadmills didn’t disappoint. Kathryn Aalto describes Solnit as “a writer, historian, and activist who links ideas and places like string to thumbtacks.” (p. 161)

Because walking is what drew me to Rebecca Solnit’s work in the first place, I expected to write a poem about my daily walks, and thought a Golden Shovel would be a good form. My plan took a few detours. To begin with, I couldn’t find a quote I liked well enough to use as a strike line in Wanderlust. Searching through Solnit’s many other works, I found one I liked, but it was long. So I shortened it. (I have no idea if this is allowed, but I did it anyway.) Here is the original quote from A Field Guide to Getting Lost.

Leave the door open for the unknown, the door into the dark. That’s where the most important things come from, where you yourself came from, and where you will go.

Finally, this poem took an unexpected turn away from walks through my neighborhood and into a semi-autobiographical realm that was influenced by the fifteen writers highlighted in my previous Writing Wild posts. Writing is full of surprises!

Photo by Jan Tinneberg via Unsplash

Please be sure to visit Jama Rattigan at Jama’s Alphabet Soup for the Poetry Friday Roundup. You can also read previous Writing Wild posts if you’d like to learn more about some amazing writers.

Day 1: Dorothy Wordsworth
Day 2: Susan Fenimore Cooper
Day 3: Gene Stratton-Porter
Day 4: Mary Austin
Day 5: Vita Sackville-West
Day 6: Nan Shepherd
Day 7: Rachel Carson
Day 8: Mary Oliver
Day 9: Carolyn Merchant
Day 10: Annie Dillard
Day 11: Gretel Ehrlich
Day 12: Leslie Marmon Silko
Day 13: Diane Ackerman
Day 14: Robin Wall Kimmerer
Day 15: Lauret Savoy

28 thoughts on “Poetry Friday & NPM: Writing Wild, Day 16

  1. “The truth is that the most important magic lies within you” – wishing everyone knew this! I love all that you wrote, too, Catherine and that enticing photo with the poem. Solnit is a special writer for loving the outdoors.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this so much that I printed it out for my notebook. “The most important magic lies within you.” This is something I need to touch and hold and read again and again to believe. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. […] Day 1: Dorothy WordsworthDay 2: Susan Fenimore CooperDay 3: Gene Stratton-PorterDay 4: Mary AustinDay 5: Vita Sackville-WestDay 6: Nan ShepherdDay 7: Rachel CarsonDay 8: Mary OliverDay 9: Carolyn MerchantDay 10: Annie DillardDay 11: Gretel EhrlichDay 12: Leslie Marmon SilkoDay 13: Diane AckermanDay 14: Robin Wall KimmererDay 15: Lauret SavoyDay 16: Rebecca Solnit […]


  4. I love this so much, Catherine. My copy of Writing Wild arrived on Thursday and I’m devouring it. The inspiration for your poem is ringing clear for me. Thank you, Catherine, for your project and this fabulous book! Of course, it’s only making my reading list even longer now, but that’s OK!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am going to catch up with all of your posts. I am saving the time to savor them and really learn from your wonderful writing. This poem is so good. So strong and I think what you did with your striking line was perfect. Bringing in the days of our grandmothers and mothers. We have come so far and yet….and yet. My grandmother was a Rosie the Riveter……my mother was a poetry lover and smart and creative….I think she would have thrived so much more in a later era, but she wanted a family and devoted herself to us… your poem makes us think more deeply. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This was exactly the poem I needed to read today, Catherine. (Thank you.) Now I’m going to go catch up on some of your other posts that I’ve missed!

    Liked by 1 person

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