I'm not much of a gardener, but when I do plant things, I find it handy to use "starts." The seed has already taken root and a living thing is on its way to being a full fledged plant.

When it comes to plants, I love to buy starts and herbs at the Herb Festival at the Pomeroy Farm, which happens next weekend in Yacolt, Washington. When it comes to essays, articles, poems and stories, I get my starts from my journal.

"Poem starts" are handy because they have already taken root. They simply need time and attention, but are already distinct. They're small but healthy, leafing out with possibilities. I'm never sure what they'll look like full grown, but that's the joy of gardening with words.

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