Rob Carney presents his readers with two poems as examples of writing myths and origin stories, entitled “Sometimes It Isn’t the Same Old Story” and “On Mars as It Is in Heaven.” He also reflects on the current political climate and how “Poems have jobs. They use the five senses to get at the essential,” in his August blog post for his series Old Roads, New Stories: A Blog Series on Terrain.org.
“Despite the political time we’re living in now, we can’t let Habit and Lack of Imagination win. Habit thinks, “Brown skin shouldn’t have a place here,” and Lack of Imagination doesn’t ask, “Why not?” Habit takes immigrants’ kids away since, after all, it threatened to, and Lack of Imagination doesn’t ask, “What then? And isn’t that excessive for a misdemeanor?” It puts on a tie or a skirt suit and tries to shift the blame. It lies about lying. In other words, it falls back on habit, and ’round and ’round.
You’re damn right it’s a vicious circle.
So what can a poem do about it? Call it out. Talk back. Be the opposite, I guess. Remind us In the beginning was the Word, then try to use the best ones.”
Try your hand at a similar story/poem by connecting a current event to the surrounding geography and include a myth of some sort. Then share a link to your own blog post in the comments below.
Rob Carney is originally from Washington state and will be reading from his new poetry collection The Book of Sharks (Black Lawrence Press). He is the author of four previous books, including 88 Maps (Lost Horse Press), which was named a finalist for the Washington State Book Award, and Weather Report (Somondoco Press), which won the Utah Book Award for Poetry. His work has appeared in Cave Wall, Sugar House Review, Terrain: A Journal of the Built and Natural Environments, and dozens of other journals. He is a Professor of English and Literature at Utah Valley University and lives in Salt Lake City.