Christal Ann Rice Cooper on April 13, 2019

Christal Ann Rice Cooper on April 13, 2019
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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

#62 Backstory of the Poem "Views From the Driveway" by Amy Barone



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***This is the sixty-second in a never-ending series called BACKSTORY OF THE POEM where the Chris Rice Cooper Blog (CRC) focuses on one specific poem and how the poet wrote that specific poem.  All BACKSTORY OF THE POEM links are at the end of this piece. 

#62 Backstory of the Poem
“Views From the Driveway”
by Amy Barone

Can you go through the step-by-step process of writing this poem from the moment the idea was first conceived in your brain until final form?   
I walked around with the title of the poem, “Views from the Driveway,” in my head and heart for months, maybe years before I wrote it. It was a piece I knew I had to write, as I carried the lines with me forever, based on haunting memories of childhood, carefree days, the colors of summer.  (Right:  Colors of Summer attributed and copyright permission granted by Christal Ann Rice Cooper for this CRC Blog Post Only) 
Where were you when you started to actually write the poem?  And please describe the place in great detail.   I wrote the poem at my late mother’s home a month before she suffered a massive stroke. The tragedy tore apart our family and left my mother incapacitated for the next four years. Before that, on visits home to Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania from New York City to see family, I tended to read a pile of books and write, as it was back before social media and emails infringed on time. So I had the title for this poem brewing in my head. I wanted to use it as the title for my first poetry collection too. I remember sitting on the bedroom floor by a pale blue chaise lounge where my mother tended to read and rest, writing in
longhand. I didn’t travel with a laptop back then. Times were freer. I also brought the pad on which I was writing the poem to a neighborhood swimming pool one afternoon to refine it.
What month and year did you start writing this poem?   I wrote “Views from the Driveway” on July 14, 2006.
How many drafts of this poem did you write before going to the final? (And can you share a photograph of your rough drafts with pen markings on it?)   The poem wrote itself. It poured out of me and I don’t recall making many edits, perhaps some line edits, but the essence was there from the start. 
Were there any lines in any of your rough drafts of this poem that were not in the final version?  And can you share them with us?    I don’t recall there being rough drafts of the poem. For my new poetry collection, We Became Summer, I did pull part of the last line in the first stanza. 
The original version read, “Mastered the initial phases of love-making—visual stimulation—with neighbors, friends, passersby.” Adhering to the guideline of ‘show, not tell,’ I pulled the two words.

I now keep drafts of poems. I’m more of a prolific writer since I left the rat race six years ago. But the poems that write themselves, like “Views from the Driveway,” are gifts. They have a reason for being.
What do you want readers of this poem to take from this poem? I hope readers will relate to the idea of innocence in the poem—simple joys like a bike ride, childhood days with unending time and plans, the background of not-so-sweet realities that could be overcome with trips to an idyllic spot like my local duck pond, harboring no fear of the sun or cigarettes. 
When we mature, dangers lurk and fear takes over to keep us healthy, secure, but we can always look back and draw energy and inspiration from earlier times.
Which part of the poem was the most emotional of you to write and why?    I think the second line of the poem was challenging because my childhood wasn’t a completely sunny one.
Has this poem been published before?  And if so where?   The poem appears in my new poetry collection, We Became Summer, from New York Quarterly Books. The book was released in early 2018 and represents my first full-length collection. 
It was also the title poem of my first chapbook, Views from the Driveway, published by Foothills Publishing in 2008. 
I’m immensely grateful to all my book publishers, but Michael Czarnecki of Foothills came through when many writer friends told me I’d have to self-publish my first poetry book.
Anything you would like to add?   I’m honored and delighted to share this poem and my insights on writing it at “Backstory of the Poem.” 
I tend to be a universal poet who writes for a mix of readers, so I hope my work continues to reach a broad population thanks to your support.



Views from the Driveway

A small stretch of space afforded a window on the world,
the promise of escape from harmful clutches that lurked inside.
Freedom is a bicycle in red or turquoise or deep purple.
Grasping banana-shaped handlebars, one circled toward independence.
Mastered the initial phases of love-making with neighbors, friends, passersby.

On steamy sultry days, the surface shot off a pungent perfume.
Mixing with the sun’s scent on young skin and nubile grass clippings.
Summer in the suburbs had arrived. Butterfly days called for loose plans
and clandestine trips to the private duck pond
to roll down grassy hills and puff on stolen cigarettes.

Time answered most important questions.
And in the Europe of my mind—
breezeways are still in vogue,
families seek shade beneath Kelly green awnings,
girls dare to draw the sun with aluminum foil.
We still marvel at the sight of fireflies come dusk.


Amy Barone’s new poetry collection, We Became Summer, from New York Quarterly Books, was released in early 2018. Her chapbook Kamikaze Dance was published in 2015 by Finishing Line Press, which recognized her as a finalist in their annual New Women’s Voices Chapbook Competition. Foothills Publishing released her first chapbook, Views from the Driveway, in 2008. Her poetry has appeared in Café Review, Gradiva, Live Mag!, Muddy River Poetry Review, Paterson Literary Review, Philadelphia Poets, Sensitive Skin and Standpoint (UK), among other publications and anthologies. (Left:  Amy Barone web logo photo Fair Use)

Barone spent five years as Italian correspondent in Milan for Women's Wear Daily and Advertising Age. She is a former board member of the Italian American Writers Association where she co-organized and promoted their monthly readings in New York City. Barone participates at spoken word events in New York City, New Jersey and Philadelphia. She is a professional member of PEN America Center and belongs to the brevitas online poetry community that celebrates the short poem. A native of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, Barone lives in New York City.  (Right:  Amy Barone at a poetry reading on April of 2018.  Copyright permission granted by Amy Barone for this CRC Blog Post Only)

Amazon:                      https://www.amazon.com/author/amybarone

Facebook:                             https://www.facebook.com/amy.barone.98

New York Quarterly Books:  http://www.nyqpoets.net/poet/amy_barone

Finishing Line Press:  

Foothills Publishing:     www.foothillspublishing.com/2008/id57.htm

Poets and Writers:                https://www.pw.org/content/amy_barone

Twitter:                        https://www.twitter.com/amybbarone

YouTube Channel:



BACKSTORY OF THE POEM LINKS

001  December 29, 2017
Margo Berdeshevksy’s “12-24”

002  January 08, 2018
Alexis Rhone Fancher’s “82 Miles From the Beach, We Order The Lobster At Clear Lake Café”

003 January 12, 2018
Barbara Crooker’s “Orange”

004 January 22, 2018
Sonia Saikaley’s “Modern Matsushima”

005 January 29, 2018
Ellen Foos’s “Side Yard”

006 February 03, 2018
Susan Sundwall’s “The Ringmaster”

007 February 09, 2018
Leslea Newman’s “That Night”

008 February 17, 2018
Alexis Rhone Fancher “June Fairchild Isn’t Dead”

009 February 24, 2018
Charles Clifford Brooks III “The Gift of the Year With Granny”

010 March 03, 2018
Scott Thomas Outlar’s “The Natural Reflection of Your Palms”

011 March 10, 2018
Anya Francesca Jenkins’s “After Diane Beatty’s Photograph “History Abandoned”

012  March 17, 2018
Angela Narciso Torres’s “What I Learned This Week”

013 March 24, 2018
Jan Steckel’s “Holiday On ICE”

014 March 31, 2018
Ibrahim Honjo’s “Colors”

015 April 14, 2018
Marilyn Kallett’s “Ode to Disappointment”

016  April 27, 2018
Beth Copeland’s “Reliquary”

017  May 12, 2018
Marlon L Fick’s “The Swallows of Barcelona”

018  May 25, 2018
Juliet Cook’s “ARTERIAL DISCOMBOBULATION”

019  June 09, 2018
Alexis Rhone Fancher’s “Stiletto Killer. . . A Surmise”

020 June 16, 2018
Charles Rammelkamp’s “At Last I Can Start Suffering”

021  July 05, 2018
Marla Shaw O’Neill’s “Wind Chimes”

022 July 13, 2018
Julia Gordon-Bramer’s “Studying Ariel”

023 July 20, 2018
Bill Yarrow’s “Jesus Zombie”

024  July 27, 2018
Telaina Eriksen’s “Brag 2016”

025  August 01, 2018
Seth Berg’s “It is only Yourself that Bends – so Wake up!”

026  August 07, 2018
David Herrle’s “Devil In the Details”

027  August 13, 2018
Gloria Mindock’s “Carmen Polo, Lady Necklaces, 2017”

028  August 21, 2018
Connie Post’s “Two Deaths”

029  August 30, 2018
Mary Harwell Sayler’s “Faces in a Crowd”

030 September 16, 2018
Larry Jaffe’s “The Risking Point”

031  September 24, 2018
Mark Lee Webb’s “After We Drove”

032  October 04, 2018
Melissa Studdard’s “Astral”

033 October 13, 2018
Robert Craven’s “I Have A Bass Guitar Called Vanessa”

034  October 17, 2018
David Sullivan’s “Paper Mache Peaches of Heaven”

035 October 23, 2018
Timothy Gager’s “Sobriety”

036  October 30, 2018
Gary Glauber’s “The Second Breakfast”

037  November 04, 2018
Heather Forbes-McKeon’s “Melania’s Deaf Tone Jacket”

038 November 11, 2018
Andrena Zawinski’s “Women of the Fields”

039  November 00, 2018
Gordon Hilger’s “Poe”

040 November 16, 2018
Rita Quillen’s “My Children Question Me About Poetry” and “Deathbed Dreams”

041 November 20, 2018
Jonathan Kevin Rice’s “Dog Sitting”


042 November 22, 2018
Haroldo Barbosa Filho’s “Mountain”

043  November 27, 2018
Megan Merchant’s “Grief Flowers”

044 November 30, 2018
Jonathan P Taylor’s “This poem is too neat”

045  December 03, 2018
Ian Haight’s “Sungmyo for our Dead Father-in-Law”

046 December 06, 2018
Nancy Dafoe’s “Poem in the Throat”

047 December 11, 2018
Jeffrey Pearson’s “Memorial Day”

048  December 14, 2018
Frank Paino’s “Laika”

049  December 15, 2018
Jennifer Martelli’s “Anniversary”

O50  December 19, 2018
Joseph Ross’s For Gilberto Ramos, 15, Who Died in the Texas Desert, June 2014”

051 December 23, 2018
“The Persistence of Music”
by Anatoly Molotkov

052  December 27, 2018
“Under Surveillance”
by Michael Farry

053  December 28, 2018
“Grand Finale”
by Renuka Raghavan

054  December 29, 2018
“Aftermath”
by Gene Barry

055 January 2, 2019
“&”
by Larissa Shmailo

056  January 7, 2019
“The Seamstress:
by Len Kuntz

057  January 10, 2019
"Natural History"
by Camille T Dungy


058  January 11, 2019
“BLOCKADE”
by Brian Burmeister

059  January 12, 2019
“Lost”
by Clint Margrave

060 January 14, 2019
“Menopause”
by Pat Durmon

061 January 19, 2019
“Neptune’s Choir”
by Linda Imbler

062  January 22, 2019
“Views From the Driveway”

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