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My mentor was the poet and extraordinary teacher Myra Cohn Livingston.  Her last book, published posthumously , came from a game we played in her Master Class.  Interested in how creativity is triggered, she asked us to write a poem based on one word: rabbit. The next week she gave us two words: ring, drum, and blanket.   Here is one of my poems from I AM WRITING A POEM ABOUT…A Game of Poetry (McElederry Books, 1997) edited by Myra Cohn Livingston:

by April Halprin Wayland

With bongo, blanket and Panama hat,
I went to a special drum store.
There were drums and drums and drums and some
I’d never seen before.

A man was fixing the broken ones
way back in a small, dark, room.
“What’s wrong?” he yelled from faraway.
I called, “It doesn’t boom.”

He came from behind a snare drum rack,
pulled off bongo’s punctured head.
He threw that skin and the tacks away.
“Needs a new head,” he said.

“It’ll take some time.” But I wanted to stay,
to witness his drumhealing powers.
He gathered his tools and he turned on a light.
Soaked a new skin in water two hours.

When it was soft, he stretched it tight
to the drum with a metal ring.
“Skin wire,” he explained, as he squeezed the glue.
Then he hammered new tacks ‘round the thing

and said, “Come back in a day or two.”
So next day I was back at his shop.
He put my drum between his knees
and I watched while his fingers popped!

They pounded! They stuttered! They skated! They breezed!
In the middle, along the rim—
I’d never heard my drum do that!
And all because of him.

So, I gave my blanket and Panama hat
(as that was all I owned)
as pay to the man who fixed my drum
and I walked my bongo home.

from http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-re-skin-a-drum/

from http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-re-skin-a-drum/

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