Meet Irene Blair Honeycutt
A Sample of Irene’s Writing
Journal Notes on the Flight Home
Irene Blair Honeycutt
Write about the sheep bells
and church bells
about the shepherds
coming in from the fields at night
how the beams from their flashlights
combed the olive leaves
write about the barking dogs
and always the bells tinkling
how your ears strained to hear
through the dark distance
and the slap of water against the rocks
in the cave’s mouth
how the hungry cave gulped
the waves don’t forget that
and the way the cicadas shrieked
in the willows
when the stones went pink and silent
on the hill at sunset
remember the cypress trees
that stood tall around the cemetery,
guarding the graves
with their green truths . . .
from It Comes As a Dark Surprise (Sandstone Publishing 1992; Winner of the New South Regional Poetry Book Contest)
What Irene says about WordPlay
“I don’t have to tell you what an incredible human being Maureen is. So I’ll skip that part. Well, I don’t even have to let you know she’s a great teacher. You already know that, too.
And what a fine poet! I remember when she was in my creative writing class at CPCC and had submitted a poem to a national contest and won first place. I was her sponsor — proudly so; and before I sent the poem off I remember thinking, “Now here’s a real poet.” Maureen has a natural gift for metaphor.
It’s been such a joy to see her writing life and career blossom. No one works harder with and for her students than Maureen. Now, imagine her as a student years ago.
I remember her nipping at my boot heels on the writing retreats I led on Jonas Ridge. “Are we going to be doing more writing exercises when we get back to the cabin?” she asked. “Yes, Maureen,” I answered. “But we’re on the trail right now.”
After the weekend retreat ended and I was cleaning up the cabin with our dear friend Mary Wilmer (now deceased), Maureen sat at the writing table; and I kept giving her writing exercises while I swept the floors! “Just call me Cinderella,” I told her.
This is so much fun: writing about Maureen.
We love to remember our times together as mentor-student. She relishes reminding me how strict I was. Just recently we were walking at the park, and she said, “Remember the time you told the class to memorize a poem and repeat it every day for 30 days?” “Yes,” I said.
“Well, do you remember that I wanted to memorize a really long poem, but you refused to let me, telling me I was long-winded enough already?”
I laughed out loud. “I don’t remember but I can well imagine that I said that…..At least, I didn’t assign you haiku!”
Maureen then told me that she ended up being so happy with the poem she subsequently got approved — Mary Oliver’s “Trilliums.” And that reminds me of the time we got lost taking Mary Oliver to the airport following her reading at CPCC’s Literary Festival. I was relying on Maureen to keep me sane (huge mistake!) – we both were so enthralled by any comment Mary Oliver was making that we got lost and barely got her to her flight on time.
I remember Maureen and I watching Mary Oliver head towards the boarding gate.
We watched in tears and hugged each other. Then…there’s the story about Anne Lamott….But that’s for another time. Our lives have enriched one another. I know I’m certainly richer spiritually and in so many ways nourished by my dear turtle friend (another story)!! That’s one of the wonderful things about writing and WordPlay: It’s all about connections, isn’t it?”