POETRY pt. 2

Original topic subject: POETRY
É uma continuação do tópico POETRY.

DiscussãoClub Read 2023

Entre no LibraryThing para poder publicar.

POETRY pt. 2

Fev 1, 2:12 pm

Our new poetry topic has been very successful. Glad people like it. So new month, fresh thread. This thread makes me feel warm and fuzzy like this poem.

Dog in Bed

Nose tucked under tail,
you are a warm, furred planet
centered in my bed.
All night I orbit, tangle-limbed,
in the slim space
allotted to me.

If I accidentally
bump you from sleep,
you shift, groan,
drape your chin on my hip.

O, that languid, movie-star drape!
I can never resist it.
Digging my fingers into your fur,
I wonder:
How do you dream?
What do you adore?
Why should your black silk ears
feel like happiness?

This is how it is with love.
Once invited,
it steps in gently,
circles twice,
and takes up as much space
as you will give it

Fev 4, 7:28 pm

Words for the Sri Lanka Tourist Office

The King Cobra slides
through our jungles,
and tucked in bushes
by the riverbanks
the grand Kabaragoya
holds court among lizards—

but if you want to swim
at Mount Lavinia, or fly kites
on Galle Face Green, or ride
horse carts in the Jaffna peninsula
of your ancestors, or bear a child
in Colombo General Hospital,

or sleep in Cinnamon Gardens
under a mango tree,
or beg in the Borella Market,
or ride for historical reasons
on patrol boats in the Bay,
or stilt-fish off Matara down South,

just remember here everywhere

there is only man burning
and woman burning

here everywhere

in shallow graves
in deep graves
floating out of salt water
washing down the sands

the dead have tongues
the dead have ears
tongues are speaking to ears

What are they saying?
What are they saying?

Tell us, brown bear
bolting out of your cave.

Tell us, leopard
leaning on your branch.

Tell us, flamingos.
Bend your necks
and pour wine pour wine

Hoopoes, kingfishers,
cranes, have you got your messages
on the bill, are you ready
to sing? Are you going to sing?


Are you going to sing?


Are you going to sing?

Monsoon. Monsoon.

A Note from the Editor
75 years ago today, Sri Lanka declared independence from the United Kingdom.

Fev 4, 8:16 pm

>2 dianeham: not very tourist friendly.

Enjoyed both these. My 60 lb dogs takes the whole bed.

Fev 4, 10:51 pm

>1 dianeham: Oh how I miss my dog in bed with me.

Here's another dog poem, one of my very favorites anywhere.

The Mystery of Meteors
By Eleanor Lerman

I am out before dawn, marching a small dog through a meager park
Boulevards angle away, newspapers fly around like blind white birds
Two days in a row I have not seen the meteors
though the radio news says they are overhead
Leonid's brimstones are barred by clouds; I cannot read
the signs in heaven, I cannot see night rendered into fire

And yet I do believe a net of glitter is above me
You would not think I still knew these things:
I get on the train, I buy the food, I sweep, discuss,
consider gloves or boots, and in the summer,
open windows, find beads to string with pearls
You would not think that I had survived
anything but the life you see me living now

In the darkness, the dog stops and sniffs the air
She has been alone, she has known danger,
and so now she watches for it always
and I agree, with the conviction of my mistakes.
But in the second part of my life, slowly, slowly,
I begin to counsel bravery. Slowly, slowly,
I begin to feel the planets turning, and I am turning
toward the crackling shower of their sparks

These are the mysteries I could not approach when I was younger:
the boulevards, the meteors, the deep desires that split the sky
Walking down the paths of the cold park
I remember myself, the one who can wait out anything
So I caution the dog to go silently, to bear with me
the burden of knowing what spins on and on above our heads

For this is our reward: Come Armageddon, come fire or flood,
come love, not love, millennia of portents—
there is a future in which the dog and I are laughing
Born into it, the mystery, I know we will be saved

Fev 4, 11:41 pm

>4 lisapeet: love it.

Editado: Fev 5, 3:31 am

I'll drag down the quality a little by including one of my own written after reading The Book of Chameleons by Jose Eduardo Agualusa in which the narrator is a gecko.

Freshly typed onto my thread at the 75ers it needs a bit of polishing and editing:


He is an observer,
though largely unobserved.
He stalks his prey aware
of being, in turn, preyed upon.

Shuffles in the slippery
silence of morning
across powder dry emulsion;
matte is better than gloss -
while it does not endure
it aids adhesion especially
in the humid air which sticks
rather than slithers.

From a vantage point
he is witness to the folly
and inexactitude of words spoken,
deeds doubted or denied.
The unobtrusive beholder of trysts
and twists and turns;
of joy and anger,
hope and despair -
the more the scene enthralls,
the more certain to be supper for another.

Fev 5, 3:51 am

>6 PaulCranswick: that’s great, Paul. Thanks for sharing it here. I bet this is great read aloud.

Fev 5, 4:06 am

>7 dianeham: Well I could record it in my dulcet, West Yorkshire, intonation, Diane and put everyone off for good!

Fev 5, 5:48 am

>6 PaulCranswick: Nice. Reminds me of a gecko that crossed my path at a temple in Malta Paul. Like the last verse especially.

Fev 5, 5:57 am

>9 Caroline_McElwee: Thank you, Caroline. The final verse would make little sense though without the first short one.

Fev 5, 9:10 am

>4 lisapeet: i love and grateful that the poem commands me to go “slowly slowly”, to chill a bit as i read it, and not be in such a hurry to find the end.

>6 PaulCranswick: well done, Paul!

Editado: Fev 5, 9:36 am

This Vote Is Legally Binding by T kingfisher (Ursula Vernon)

In response to all those articles about talking to women with headphones…

Someone always says it, whenever it comes up:
“I guess I’m just not allowed to talk to anyone any more!”

It is my duty to inform you that we took a vote
all us women
and determined that you are not allowed to talk to anyone
ever again.

This vote is legally binding.

Yes, of course, all women know each other,
the way you always suspected.
(Incidentally, so do Canadians. I’m just throwing that out there.)
We went into the women’s room at the Applebee’s at the corner of 54
and all the others streamed in through the doors
into that endless liminal space,
a chain of humans stretching backward
heavy skulled Neanderthal women laughing with New York socialites,
Lucille Ball hand in hand with the Taung child.
We sat around in the couches in the women’s room
(I know you’ve always been suspicious of those couches)
and chatted with each other in the secret female language
that you always knew existed.
Somebody set up a console–
the Empress Wu is ruthless at Mario Kart
and Cleopatra never learned to lose
and a woman who ruled an empire that fell
when the Sea People came
and left no trace
can use the blue shell like a surgical instrument.

Eventually we took the vote.
You had three defenders:
your grandmother and your first-grade teacher
and an Albanian nun who believes the best of everybody.
Your mom abstained.
It was duly recorded in the secret notebooks
that have been kept under the couch in the Applebee’s
since the beginning of recorded time.
And then we went back to playing Mario Kart
and Hoelun took off her bra
and we didn’t think about you again
except that I had to carry this message.

So anyway
good luck with that
it’s just as you always said it was.
Hush now,
no talking


Fev 5, 9:47 am

>13 dchaikin: love that!

Fev 5, 10:06 am

>12 Julie_in_the_Library: I love the biting humor.

Fev 5, 10:58 am

Fev 5, 1:21 pm

>12 Julie_in_the_Library: Thanks for this. Not a poet I know.

Fev 6, 12:16 pm

>12 Julie_in_the_Library: LOL! I love T. Kingfisher’s novels, and now it turns out I love her poems too. Well, one of them at least. I didn’t know she wrote any.

Fev 6, 4:14 pm

Another fine volume from the US's current Poet Laureate. Didn't quite hit the notes of The Carrying, but still some very fine poems, including my favourite of this volume:


Two full cypress trees in the clearing
intertwine in a way that almost makes

them seem like one. Until at a certain angle
from the blue blow-up pool I bought

this summer to save my life, I see it
is not one tree, but two, and they are

kissing. They are kissing so tenderly
it feels rude to watch, one hand

on the other’s shoulder, another
in the other’s branches, like hair.

When did kissing become so
dangerous? Or was it always so?

That illicit kiss in the bathroom
of the Four-Faced Liar, a bar

named after a clock, what was her
name? Or the first one with you

on the corner of Metropolitan
Avenue, before you came home

with me forever. I watch those green
trees now and it feels libidinous.

I want them to go on kissing, without
fear. I want to watch them and not

feel so abandoned by hands. Come
home. Everything is begging you.

Fev 6, 4:35 pm

That’s just terrific. I’m moved. Thanks for sharing.

Fev 6, 10:43 pm

Nice. I like Ada Limón's sensibilities—she took over the Slow Down daily poetry podcast/email from Tracy K. Smith and I really enjoyed a lot of her choices.

Fev 7, 8:05 am

Voting as Fire Extinguisher by Kyle Tran Myhre

When the haunted house catches fire:

a moment of indecision.

The house was, after all, built on bones,

and blood, and bad intentions.

Everyone who enters the house feels

that overwhelming dread, the evil

that perhaps only fire can purge.

It’s tempting to just let it burn.

And then I remember:

there are children inside.

Fev 8, 1:56 pm

One Art

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

A Note from the Editor
Elizabeth Bishop was born on this day in 1911. Read the February Editor's Discussion.

Fev 9, 6:02 am

>18 Caroline_McElwee: I have that on my list! Currently I'm drifting through two anthologies, The Forward Book of Poetry 2023 (UK) AND the Best Canadian Poetry 2023 which showed up in the mailbox.... (nevermind that I'm also reading bits from The Selected Works of Audre Lorde

A kind of kid-in-a-candy-shop reading; not a habit I would recommend.

Fev 9, 10:49 am

>23 avaland: I am aiming to read some poetry every day going forward, though I have said this before! Yes, that candy store can be addictive for a while.

Fev 9, 1:52 pm


Thirty years from now:
She is in her backyard
in a plastic lawn chair.
He is dead.
She has in her hands his Complete Poems.

She turns the pages,
reading slowly
(slowly, like people used to read).

She come to that delightful poem,
her favorite poem in the book.
She is stunned by its symmetry,
by its climate, by its daylight.

She is amazed by its tunnels,
its muscle, its tambourines, its guitars!
She is pleased by the brushwork of its surface.
She is charmed by its lovely antlers.

She is awakeded by its bells
and by the silent film of its alter ego.
She is lurd by its flora and fauna,
by its rivers and streams.

She wakes at three in the morning
and reads it again and again.
This time she reads deeper
into its degrees of dark forest.
She is amazed by the specter
of its desert and dense jungle.

She reads it every day
for three months, swimming in the seas.

Each time she finds new adventures
in its foothills and underbrush.
She finds snowed-in mountaintops
and a glowing Sphinx!
She finds an array of winds
and clouds and rainbows.
She finds a sequence of snow and sleet
on mountain peaks.

She finds Josephine Baker
moving with ease
through Nazi checkpoints.
And finally:
She returns to her chair
in the yard
to write her own poem.

-Clarence Major

^This is from his latest collection, Sporadic Troubleshooting: Poems. An excellent collection.

Fev 9, 1:54 pm

>18 Caroline_McElwee: Good choice, Caroline. I agree with you on The Carrying being stronger but this is still a solid collection.

>21 Julie_in_the_Library: I love this!

Fev 9, 2:52 pm

>25 msf59: What a great description of reading and rereading poetry.

Editado: Fev 9, 3:02 pm

>25 msf59: Love that Mark. The volume dropped straight in my cart.

Editado: Fev 9, 5:27 pm

Primarily made up of three long poems. Some beautiful word play.

From 'Hesperine for David Berger':


Imran Qureishi paints little blossoms on the ground, on the wall, in corners of the room, they bloom like water or blood or light

While the Qawali singer Amjad Sabri groans his throat open in ecstatic sound aiming to reach from the muck of the earth all the way into heaven

From the summit I plummet then into the time of unstrung lyres to try to go back into the dark time


The full poem here:


Fev 9, 5:42 pm

>27 lisapeet: This is what drew me to the poem. Boy, did he nail it.

>28 Caroline_McElwee: Let me know what you think, Caroline.

Fev 10, 10:09 am

>24 Caroline_McElwee: That's what I have been doing. I've decided I'm going to pick up the previous Limon, The Carrying first. Picking up a global anthology, too.

Fev 10, 10:18 am

**If I may ask a question from the group...? **

YOU & Poetry
What brought you to poetry and when? Was it...say... a class, a friend, a lover, a random book, a singular poet, something else? Generally, what kinds of poetry do you gravitate to... Do you read both dead and living poets? Have you tried to write it? How did that go?

Fev 10, 5:50 pm

The Statue of Liberty

More Roman than Greek
her arm raised holding a cup of light,
lighting the way, some say all the way.
Bartholdi’s colossal, a framed idea in metal
by Eiffel singing layers of garment, greened
by weather; an 1886 symbol of liberty
and independence seen from sunup till sundown
through clouds fog snow and rain
and even in lighted darkness glowing
for a long distance a goddess carrying a reminder
of that declaration taken and too often forgotten,
but not forgotten is the giver’s message of freedom.

-Clarence Major From Sporadic Troubleshooting: Poems

Fev 10, 8:04 pm

>32 avaland: It was my father who told me poets were revered in ancient Ireland.

Editado: Fev 10, 11:19 pm

>32 avaland: Lois, it was a neighbor. Larry D. Thomas welcomed me to our townhouse in Montrose, an older especially liberal and quietly artsy neighborhood in Houston. He had just published his first book and was happy to talk about poetry and I listened. He later served at the Texas poet Laureate in 2008(?)

But I have an odd come and go relationship with poetry, with too much go. I just finished an anthology today. So, maybe that will lead to another.

Fev 11, 4:43 am

>35 dchaikin: How cool was that!

Fev 11, 4:46 am

>34 dianeham: Diane, that sounds like the first line of a poem; and I'd like to hear the rest of it :-)

Fev 11, 5:50 am

For me, it was a 4th grade field trip to Longfellow's childhood home in Portland, ME (oh, I know, rhyming poetry is so passe except for children these days, but he was a rock star in his era). I was so enamored with what was presented that when I got home I wrote a poem about raking leaves. I thought I had found the language of my soul (sounds corny but true) and it was the 60s....

Long story short. I had some good teachers who found me opportunities. There were dry periods while raising the three kiddos and working nights. I had poetry in several newspapers and few anthologies, the last in the 90s. None of it rhymed :-)

Fev 11, 5:55 am

My parents kept a family poetry anthology on the shelf and at celebratory occasions we were encouraged to choose poems to read out loud Lois. I started making poems myself aged about 8. In my 40s I had a handful published in small poetry magazines, though I have written little in the past decade. I'm in the process of trying to nudge my poetry mojo out of hiding.

Fev 11, 9:28 am

>38 avaland: oh, I know, rhyming poetry is so passe except for children these days I actually tend to prefer rhyming poetry. I like formal verse forms, too. I'm old fashioned that way. :)

I took a poetry writing class in college. I've been writing poetry every April for Camp NaNoWriMo for the last few years. I've never read much poetry, but I'm trying to read more these days. I appreciate it more these days than I used to when I was younger.

Fev 11, 10:35 am

>32 avaland: My parents gave me books of poetry—I think mostly collections of adult poetry curated for kids—as soon as I was old enough to read. My appreciation and love of it definitely stuck. so I've been reading poetry alongside everything else all my life.

Fev 11, 10:59 am

>36 avaland: yeah, actually it was one of the few legitimately cool things in my life. 🙂 (I even felt cool, living in Montrose. 🙂 Before LibraryThing)

Fev 11, 11:53 am

An excerpt from Anniversaries by Donald Justice

Thirty today, I saw
The trees flare briefly like
The candles upon a cake
As the sun went down the sky,
A momentary flash,
Yet there was time to wish
Before the light could die,
If I had known what to wish,
As once I must have known,
Bending above the clean,
Candlelit tablecloth
To blow them out with a breath.

Justice was born in 1925 and this is part of the poem that opens his Collected Poems. It was originally published in 1960.

Fev 11, 3:44 pm

>39 Caroline_McElwee: I hope you do, Caro!

>40 Julie_in_the_Library: That's fab! I can still recite a fair amount of Longfellow (and others) because they do rhyme.

Fev 11, 3:54 pm

>41 lisapeet: How wonderful! I'm a bit envious of your upbringing.

>42 dchaikin:, >43 dchaikin: Very nice poem, Dan, thanks for sharing it. It's a cool story, too.

Is anyone here willing to admit to reading Rod McKuen? Hubby and I got talking about this and darn, he can still recite some of it! (he probably remembers the 60s better than I do; he's older:-)

Fev 11, 3:55 pm

Hey, Dianeham, where are you? Didn't you also write?

Fev 11, 4:04 pm

>46 avaland: I’m here. I also wrote. Been reading poetry since I could read. Meaning to write again but haven’t written much lately. I actually just bought a laptop for writing.

Fev 11, 4:36 pm

>32 avaland:
I read poetry in school, as assigned, and worked attentively at those lessons of course. Do schools still require kids to read poetry? We even had to memorize some poems. Did not read any poetry in college. Went to graduate school in engineering, but in the dorm I lived in my first year, I met some PhD students from the English department. For my second and third years I shared an apartment with one of them (and with someone in another science department). The English student often talked about poetry, and it seemed natural to start including it in my nonprofessional reading. At some point I bought a copy of The Norton Anthology of Poetry, 1975 edition, and kept up the interest in the years that followed. I don't own a lot of poetry books, and tend to reread the ones I have. My Norton Anthology is usually at the side of the bed.

>45 avaland:
Those were actually just a couple of his book titles, Stanyan Street and Other Sorrows and Listen to the Warm. I knew at least one girl in high school who read him. McKuen was a big deal in the 1960s - hour long TV specials. He was also a songwriter though, a talent more readily recognized by the world. Not a good poet.

Fev 11, 8:57 pm

>32 avaland: My introduction to poetry was through my dad's love of e e cummings. I took a summer seminar on Robert Frost and Henry James (two of the professor's favorites, so he just lumped them together), and we read all of Frost's works. Being a New Englander, they worked for me. I haven't read a lot of poetry, I've always been a bit intimidated. The only poetry I know by heart is some Shakespeare (learned for school), Stopping by Woods, and some of the Rime of the Ancient Mariner. How's that for random?

Today I read a memoir of Tomas Tranströmer's childhood. The book ends with a poem entitled Memories Look at Me, which is also the name of the memoir.

A June morning, too soon to wake,
too late to fall asleep again.

I must go out—the greenery is dense
with memories, they follow me with their gaze.

They can't be seen, they merge completely into
the background, true chameleons.

They are so close that I can hear them breathe
Though the birdsong is deafening.

Fev 12, 4:44 am

>47 dianeham: I have thought about that, too. I hope you succeed.

>49 labfs39: Two wonderful New England poets -- Frost was so much easier to memorize than e. e. (your dad has good taste!)

Fev 12, 7:44 am

>50 avaland: e.e.'s playful manipulation of grammar makes reciting his poetry tricky. When do you pause, take a breath, or place emphasis? Still I do love phrases like

when the world is mud-

Fev 12, 8:32 am

Loving reading these stories.

Most people I know who don't get poetry seem to have had a bad experience at school with it. Lucky me because it wasn't taught, and Michael >48 dukedom_enough: being taught well enough.

Fev 12, 8:38 am

>48 dukedom_enough: Do schools still require kids to read poetry?

Curricula varies depending on a lot of factors, including country, and - here in the US - state, and even town/school district.

My schools did. I graduated high school in 2009, and we did poetry in English classes in both middle school and high school, both reading it and writing it.

And my sister, who is a third grade teacher in Connecticut, does poetry with her kids.

So some schools are definitely still including poetry in the curriculum.

Fev 12, 8:52 am

Fev 12, 6:11 pm

My 10 year old grand-niece announced that she is writing a narrative poem about a woman softball pitcher who throws the fastest pitch.

Fev 13, 8:39 am

Dawn Revisited

Imagine you wake up
with a second chance: The blue jay
hawks his pretty wares
and the oak still stands, spreading
glorious shade. If you don't look back,

the future never happens.
How good to rise in sunlight,
in the prodigal smell of biscuits -
eggs and sausage on the grill.
The whole sky is yours

to write on, blown open
to a blank page. Come on,
shake a leg! You'll never know
who's down there, frying those eggs,
if you don't get up and see.

-Rita Dove

From On the Bus with Rosa Parks

Fev 13, 8:57 am

>56 msf59: refreshing

Editado: Fev 13, 1:37 pm

>55 dianeham: Love it.

>56 msf59: I bought that volume last year Mark, no doubt at your encouragement. Must pick it up.

Fev 13, 5:06 pm

Editado: Fev 16, 12:07 pm

...So I read Gone with the Wind because
it was big, and haiku because they were small.
I studied history for its rhapsody of dates,
lingered over Cubist art for the way
it showed all sides of a guitar at once.
All the time in the world was there, and sometimes
all the world on a single page.
As much as I could hold
on my plastic card’s imprint I took,

greedily: six books, six volumes of bliss,
the stuff we humans are made of:
words and sighs and silence,
ink and whips, Brahma and cosine,
corsets and poetry and blood sugar levels—
I carried it home, past five blocks of aluminium siding
and the old garage where, on its boarded-up doors,
someone had scrawled:

I can eat an elephant
if I take small bites.

Yes , I said, to no one in particular: That’s
what I’m gonna do!

^an excerpt from the poem Maple Valley Branch Library, 1967

This is also from Rita Dove's collection On the Bus with Rosa Parks.

Any other Dove fans here? Any other recommendations?

Editado: Fev 16, 9:13 am

>60 msf59: I’m not sure I’ve heard her name before. Enjoyed the excerpt

Eta - I searched my library and I have an anthology entitled Sixty years of American Poetry : Celebrating the Anniversary of the Academy of American Poets (Expanded Edition) edited by Robert Penn Warren, and she is one contributor. 🙂 I haven’t read the anthology.

Editado: Fev 17, 5:28 pm

>61 dchaikin: she won a Pulitzer for Thomas and Beulah in 1986.

ETA: And she has Collected Poems: 1974-2004

Fev 17, 5:44 pm

The Almost Love Poem of Eloise and Kofi

When Eloise tells Kofi she wants a divorce,
he sits naked on the kitchen floor skinning
an ox tongue to prepare Eloise’s favorite dish.
Blood trickles down his fingers onto the floor.
This is not in my head, in my head the bruised
organ is in the hands of Eloise and she almost
loves Kofi. What a strange word, almost.
I look at the rain clouds and they almost seem
to stagger. When did I last have a drink?
My stomach feels heavy and a urinous smell
stays where Kofi sits naked. So what if Eloise
wants a divorce? She is made of stubbornness.
Kofi is not thinking about the ox as he marinates
its tongue in a basin of tomato juice. Eloise stands
there, insisting on a divorce as the blood mixes
into the tomato juice. A pause. Kofi has a chance
to recover his patience and pull it over himself.
They have many times pressed their bodies together
and peeled them apart—elation. Love is a wretched,
wretched thing. Eloise wishes Kofi would put down
the tongue and say something.

Editado: Fev 18, 9:49 am

For a smallish branch of Waterstones, the branch I went into yesterday had a good selection of poetry. Other stores this size would have one or two selves at most.

As I have a pile of recentish volumes, I bought other books this visit.

Fev 19, 9:02 am

Some insightful poems by Dove. My favourite 'Maple Valley Branch Library, 1967', and the series of the volume title.

Rosa (1999)
By Rita Dove

How she sat there,
the time right inside a place
so wrong it was ready.

That trim name with
its dream of a bench
to rest on. Her sensible coat.

Doing nothing was the doing:
the clean flame of her gaze
carved by a camera flash.

How she stood up
when they bent down to retrieve
her purse. That courtesy.

Thanks to Mark (msf59) for putting this on my radar.

Fev 19, 9:25 am

>63 dianeham: ooh, terrific

>65 Caroline_McElwee: thanks for sharing! You and Diana have me interested in pursuing Rita Dove.

Fev 19, 2:07 pm

>66 dchaikin: what a great ending, right?
"Eloise wishes Kofi would put down
the tongue and say something."

Fev 19, 2:51 pm

>67 dianeham: yes, such a great line

Fev 19, 3:30 pm

>68 dchaikin: you got me thinking about Ferlinghetti again. He was the first poet I ever heard. I got a book from the Philly library when I was around 17 and it had a record in the back of him reading. I read A Coney Island of the Mind over and over but no longer own it. So I ordered a copy yesterday.

Fev 19, 4:16 pm

>69 dianeham: My favourite Ferllingetti Diane:

Don’t Let That Horse . . .

Don’t let that horse
eat that violin

cried Chagall’s mother

But he
kept right on

And became famous

And kept on painting
The Horse With Violin In Mouth

And when he finally finished it
he jumped up upon the horse
and rode away
waving the violin

And then with a low bow gave it
to the first naked nude he ran across

And there were no strings

Fev 19, 5:41 pm

>71 dianeham: Thanks Diane. He captured the painting so well.

Editado: Fev 19, 6:16 pm

>70 Caroline_McElwee: I love that poem. And the painting, too.

Fev 19, 6:44 pm

Fev 20, 1:20 pm

A little poetry review from my thread

City Lights Pocket Poets Anthology edited by Lawrence Ferlinghetti
published: 2001
format: 306-page hardcover – 60th anniversary edition (2015) (City Lights Pocket Poets Series)
acquired: November read: Dec 4-12, 2022, Jan 16-Feb 10, 2023 time reading: 5:10, 1.0 mpp
rating: 4

List of contributors Rafael Alberti – tr. fr. Spanish by Kenneth Rexroth, Antler, Alberto Blanco – edited by Juvenal Acosta, Robert Bly, Stefan Brecht, Dino Campana, Ernesto Cardenal – tr. fr. Spanish by Jonathan Cohen, Paul Celan – tr. fr. German by Jerome Rothenberg, Adam Cornford, Gregory Corso, Julio Cortázar, Kamau Daáood, Diane di Prima, Robert Duncan, Hans Magnus Enzensberger – tr. fr. German by Jerome Rothenberg, Allen Ginsberg, Günter Grass – tr. fr. German by Jerome Rothenberg, Nicolas Guillén – tr. fr. Spanish by Kenneth Rexroth, Helmut Heissenbüttel– tr. fr. German by Jerome Rothenberg, Jack Hirschman, Walter Höllerer – tr. fr. German by Jerome Rothenberg, Bob Kaufman, Jack Kerouac – edited by Ann Charters, Semyon Kirsanov – tr. fm. Russian by Anselm Hollo, La Loca, Philip Lamantia, Denise Levertov, Federico García Lorca – tr.fr. Spanish by Kenneth Rexroth, Malcolm Lowry – edited by Earle Birney, Antonio Machado – tr.fr. Spanish by Kenneth Rexroth, Vladimir Mayakovsky – tr.fr. Russian by Maria Enzensberger, Semezdin Mehmedinovic, David Meltzer, Rosario Murillo – tr. by Alejandro Murguía, Pablo Neruda – tr.fm. Spanish by Kenneth Rexroth, Robert Nichols, Harold Norse, Peter Orlovsky, Nicanor Parra – tr.fm. Spanish by Jorge Elliot, Pier Paolo Pasolini – tr.fm. Friulan(?) by Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Francesca Valente, Kenneth Patchen, Pablo Picasso – tr. by Paul Blackburn, Heinz Piontek – tr.fm. German by Jerome Rothenberg, Janine Pommy-Vega, Marie Ponsot, Antonio Porta – tr.fm. Italian by Anthony Molino, Jacques Prévert – tr.fm. French by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Cristina Peri Rossi, Charles Upton, Simon Vinkenoog – edited by Scott Rollins, Andrei Voznesensky – tr.fm. Russian by Anselm Hollo, Anne Waldman, William Carlos William, Pete Winslow, Yevgeny Yevtushenko – tr.fm. Russian by Anselm Hollo, Daisy Zamora – tr.fm. Spanish by Barbara Paschke

It's been a long time since I read a book of poetry (well, one published within the last 400 years). So I just went with the flow. I read this in 10- and 20-minute sittings, and I really enjoyed them. An entertaining and refreshing mixture to me. The contents are presumably Ferlinghetti's favorites. Lots of Ginsberg, and several entries by Kerouac. Also Pablo Picasso. A lot is translated, most authors are men, but there are several entries by several different women. Mostly this was a whole bunch of names I didn‘t know.

Rewarding. And, if nothing else, this made a nice filler as I waited for my morning coffee to cool.

Editado: Fev 20, 1:41 pm

The Forward Book of Poetry 2023
The Best Poems from the Forward Prizes

"The Forward Prizes for Poetry are major British awards for poetry, presented annually at a public ceremony in London. They were founded in 1992 … with the aim of celebrating excellence in poetry and increasing its audience…" "…collections published in the UK and Ireland over the course of the previous year are eligible, as are single poems nominated by journal editors or prize organisers. Each year, works shortlisted for the prizes – plus those highly commended by the judges – are collected in the Forward Book of Poetry."

This is the second Forward Prize anthology I have read, after last year’s 2022 volume. I’m surprised that I’m going to say… that I enjoyed more of the poetry in last year’s volume than this year, but I’d be hard-pressed to explain why. While one can always appreciate the art of the poetry, and the poet’s voice and message, there is nothing, in my humble opinion, like making that individual connection with a poem. I seemed to connect with less of the poetry in this volume than last.

This is, of course, a stellar anthology and one I would recommend for an introduction to contemporary British poetry. I think it’s harder sometimes to connect with a contemporary poem than to poetry written in the past by now deceased poets. Contemporary poetry in this era and in these anthologies seems both expansive and inclusive.

Here is a few lines from the Chair of Judges Fatima Bhutto: Poetry is the art of the ordinary, the invisible, and the everyday. It is the true art of the people. In it’s ability to reach out and connect us to the tremors and longings of the world around us, it reminds us constantly about the power to surprise….

And here is a favorite poem from this 2023 volume

Padraig Regan
"50ml pf India Ink"

Opaque, & black as gravity,
the ink is perfectly unlike

the small glass pot
whose shape it occupies

so passively. It is
something’s burnt remains

that makes it black.
It is the sticky leavings

of the lac-bug
that makes it shine.

(The name of the lac-bug
has nothing to do

with absence, but means,
in fact, a multitude.)

it performs its tiny fractal
creep through the paper’s

knitted capillaries,
& finds itself astounded

with significance. It means
I am not yet dead.

I was not untempted
to leave this blank.

Fev 22, 8:11 am

The Beauty of Bareness

Jacob Lawrence
Could paint
The beauty
Of  bareness

Moved North

Lawrence’s genius
Was to paint
Those rooms
Left behind

Brown bare
Wooden rooms
Light brown plank walls
Dark brown plank floors

A single dark green
The window
Erasing the lush landscape

Creating a
Stark beauty
A simple beauty
A bare beauty

-William J. Harris

-Jacob Lawrence

I had not heard of the poet or the artist. Has anyone else?

Editado: Fev 22, 9:08 am

>77 msf59: I have loved Jacob Lawrence since I saw an exhibit in the Houston Museum of Fine Arts 20+ years ago. I think about his art all the time! (But he rarely comes up anywhere)

I don’t know the poet but love the poem.

>76 avaland: I think it’s harder sometimes to connect with a contemporary poem than to poetry written in the past by now deceased poets.” i noticed i had this issue when I subscribed to Poetry magazine. I eventually cancelled my subscription because i was constantly disconnected (despite the lovely podcast)

Editado: Fev 22, 11:33 am

This thread moves so fast that I have no chance whatsoever of really keeping up with it, but I want to take part in it nevertheless. Here is my review of my first poetry read of the year: A Collection of First World War Poetry ed. by Janet Borsbey and Ruth Swan.

I first learned about First World War poetry at school and vividly remember my English teacher reciting Rupert Brooke's "The Soldier" in the class room, a poem that has stuck with me ever since. When I was a trainee teacher and saw A Collection of First World War Poetry on the shelves of a teacher shop in Cologne, I bought it because I expected to teach these poems myself soon. I haven't done so because in the state of Bremen they have not been on the curriculum since I have worked here, but I kept the book..

"A Collection of First World War Poetry" ed. by Janet Borsbey and Ruth Swan
This collection first published in 2013
ELi Readers
Rating: 4 1/2 stars - ****°

As explained above, this collection has been compiled for students, but it reads like any other poetry collection. The poems are not simplified or abridged, and I like the beautiful cover that does not scream school book to me. There are four pages of exercises that I skipped, and eleven pages of historical context that were interesting to me. I knew about most of the facts mentioned there, but it was helpful to be reminded of them in a concise way.

Now on to the poems themselves: If I counted correctly, the book features 37 poets, eight of them female. Each one is introduced by a very short biography and a picture (if available - sadly there are no pictures of some of the female writers), followed by one or more poems. There are famous writers such as G.K. Chesterton, Rudyard Kipling, Robert Frost, Edward Thomas and John McCrae, but also lesser known ones (I think) such as Nina Macdonald.
What I specifically like about the collection is that it does not only include poems illustrating the life of soldiers and the horrors of the front, but other war experiences, too: Life on the home front, the loss of loved ones, work in the factories or as a nurse. It also gives an overview of the different artistic forms, ranging from traditional to experimental. Thus, reading these poems was interesting throughout. Some are clear and beautiful, some are witty or even funny, while others rage with emotions. Some are elaborate, some are simple. There are poems that are just a few lines, while others span several pages. What most have in common is that they provide an individual insight into that terrible time, and sometimes reading them almost felt like time traveling, sharing the sentiments and experiences of people from more than a hundred years ago.

Fev 22, 4:40 pm

>79 MissBrangwen: Nice review!

Fev 22, 6:16 pm

>77 msf59: mark, where did you come across it?

Fev 23, 4:34 am

>77 msf59: Another Jacob Lawrence fan here. Was lucky enough to discover his work in an exhibition here some years back Mark.

Fev 23, 5:06 am

>77 msf59: Love both the poem and the painting, I hadn’t heard of either before.

Fev 23, 8:22 am

>78 dchaikin: I will definitely be looking into more of Lawrence's artwork.

>81 dianeham: I get emails from the Poetry Foundation, which feature a few different poems and this one stood out for me.

>82 Caroline_McElwee: Glad to hear you are a Lawrence Fan. I am happy I stumbled across him.

>83 FlorenceArt: Me and you both. 😁

Fev 23, 9:02 am

>79 MissBrangwen: great review.

Fev 23, 12:47 pm

From today’s daily Slowdown:

Jesus Saves
by Jae Nichelle

10 cents (& the planet) when he brings his own cup to Starbucks. it’s just his hands, scarred & leaking black from the holes. by the time he goes to drink it’s all on the floor. tells the same story all the baristas are sick of—bullets not nails. pavement not wood. laid out for all the world to see. buried. resurrected by those who won’t stop saying his name. he hears his name, Jesus, your everything bagel is ready. he laughs at everything. everything. as if something could be everything.

“Jesus Saves” by Jae Nichelle from GOD THEMSELVES, © 2023 Jae Nichelle. Used by permission of Andrews McMeel Publishing

Fev 23, 2:05 pm

Fev 24, 8:32 am

>79 MissBrangwen: That's a book bullet! Added to my TBR. And I must say, this new(ish) book adding update is excellent. So much better than the way it worked before.

I've ordered a copy of The Ode less Travelled by Stephen Fry from my local indie bookshop. I started it last year during April, but didn't finish it before May, and I ended up returning it to the library unfinished.

I really enjoyed the parts I did read, and I found it really useful when writing poetry. I decided then that I'd get it out again for this year's April Camp NaNo (I write poetry for April Camp), but I decided I wanted my own copy instead. A month's lead time should be enough to ensure it's here by the start of April.

Fev 27, 7:36 pm

'An Unfortunate Life' by Mairéad Byrne, from her collection 'The Best of (What's Left Of) Heaven'....

Fev 28, 1:40 pm

>89 dianeham: That’s… weird. Is it supposed to be sarcastic?

Editado: Fev 28, 2:06 pm

>90 FlorenceArt: yes. I was put off at first and then realized it was funny. The author is Irish.

Mar 2, 12:09 am

I wish I could see pink river dolphins

The Amazon River Dolphin

The sudden pink shape
surfacing in black-water lagoons
shocked explorers.
All dolphins share man’s
thumb and fingerbones,
but these also wear his flesh.
When the river overflows
and floods the varzea,
these dolphins travel miles
to splash in the shallows
amongst buttress-roots of giant
rainforest trees.
The waters abate, trapping fish,
dolphins never.

A lamp burning dolphin oil
blinds. At night
the pink-flesh contours melt and blur.
The flipper extends the hidden hand
to lift its woman’s torso
to the land. An Eve,
born each night from the black Amazon,
roams the dark banks for victims
to draw to the water and death.
Taboo to the Indians,
this pink daughter of the river’s magic
always looks, to explorers,
like she’s smiling.

Mar 2, 4:27 am

>92 dianeham: Yes they do look like they are smiling; I think cats do as well.

Mar 2, 4:28 am

Madmen - by Fleur Adcock

Odd how the seemingly maddest of men -
sheer loonies, the classical paranoid,
violently possessive about their secrets,
whispered after from corners, terrified
of poison in their coffee, driven frantic
(whether for or against him) by discussion of God,
peculiar, to say the least, about their mothers -
return to their gentle senses in bed.

Suddenly straightforward, they perform
with routine confidence, neither afraid
that their partner will turn and bite their balls off
nor groping under the pillow for a razor-blade;
eccentric only in their conversation,
which rambles on about the meaning of a word
they used in an argument in 1969,
they leave their women grateful, relieved, and bored.

Mar 2, 8:25 am

Oh, To Be... - Richard Edwards

'Oh, to be an eagle
And to swoop down from a peak
With the golden sunlight flashing
From the fierce hook of my beak.

'Oh to be an eagle
And to terrify the sky
With a beat of wings like thunder
And a wild, barbaric cry.

'Oh...but why keep dreaming?
I must learn to be myself.'
Said the rubber duckling sadly
On its soapy bathroom shelf.

Mar 2, 8:35 am

I'm not sure how to turn the image, but I wanted to share the page from the poetry anthology, because I really likle the illustration. For those using a screen reader, it's a photograph of the poem in >95 Julie_in_the_Library: with illustration of a rubber duck on a bathtub shelf.

Mar 2, 11:26 am

It's idiosyncratic when that happens. You just need to make a tiny edit on the image, and it usually rights itself.

Mar 3, 7:31 am

>92 dianeham: I like "The Amazon River Dolphin". Is this part of a collection that you read?

>94 baswood: Unsettling but quite good.

>97 Caroline_McElwee: How sweet. Good one, Caroline.

Mar 3, 7:32 am

Este utilizador foi removido como sendo spam.

Mar 3, 7:33 am


I think of the unspoken, his airless room,
the words my father coaxed from his lungs
with the help of oxygen. The suitcase I found
on the shelf above his bed, with its jars
of mummified occupants, how I unwrapped
the photo curled around each hummingbird couple
like a sarcophagus, the smell of honey
mixed with formaldehyde, and how, when I prised
the male from the female, their throats
glowed like embers just above slit chests.
I saw it all then—a boy with his slingshot
in the forest at dawn, his hands pinning
the hummer’s wings, the penknife slicing
through its narrow breast, its tiny heart torn out—
still beating, hot on my father’s tongue.


Mar 3, 8:05 am

The poem in >95 Julie_in_the_Library: and >96 Julie_in_the_Library: is from the Treasury of Poetry for Children that I'm currently working my way through. This next one is, as well.

Two Men Looked Out by Anon.

Two men looked out through prison bars;
The one saw mud, the other stars.

Mar 3, 8:11 am

I've had the Treasury of Poetry for Children since I was very little. There are a lot of anonymous poems in the collection. The book puts the name of the poet at the bottom of the poem, abbreviates "anonymous" as "anon.," and gives it a capital "A."

All of which is to say that for a pretty large chunk of my childhood, I thought there was a very prolific poet named Anon (pronounced like Aaron, but with an n instead of an r) who had a very varied style. (My eyes skipped right over the dot at the end of Anon. like it wasn't even there.)

For a while there, Anon was my favorite poet.

Mar 3, 2:17 pm

Mar 3, 2:18 pm

Mar 5, 4:45 am

Chaplet by Pascale Petit

My bridal wreath
is a palisade
circling my face.

I hide in my twig
and thorn wood.
It is my chapel

where I pray
to the king of the forest
to light the flames.

Come, rescuer.
Come as a stag,
with hooves kicking sparks,

antlers like torches.
I must be married
in fire.

By the time the groom
claims his kiss
my hair will fan around us

like the halo
saints wear when
burnt at the stake.

Mar 6, 6:50 pm

>105 dianeham: Another good one, Diane. I will have to look into more of her work.

Mar 6, 6:50 pm


I can’t believe what the moon wrote
For the valley’s dying to find


About the musky scent of lilacs this
Late in the year, darkening

Further the songs of the trees—
Where does she get off upstaging me?

The first angel banished from Heaven

For hocking his mother’s wedding band
for booze—

Wasn’t it you who first said, Sorrow
Cares nothing for how long one weeps—

Or was it Schumann—
You or Haydn’s oboes who first moaned,


Enter it through any gate you choose
And stay there, until the strings come in?

-Tommy Archuleta From Poem-A-Day

Mar 6, 7:10 pm

>106 msf59: I’m reading her book Mama Amazonica. I can’t begin to explain it, so here’s a brief explanation I stole. "Mama Amazonica is set in a psychiatric ward and in the Amazon rainforest, an asylum for animals on the brink of extinction. It reveals the story of Pascale Petit's mentally ill mother and the consequences of abuse. The mother transforms into a giant Victoria amazonica waterlily, and a bestiary of untameable creatures - a jaguar girl, a wolverine, a hummingbird - as she marries her rapist and gives birth to his children." The poems are interconnected and tell the story.

Mar 7, 11:59 am

Against Poetry
by Diane Seuss

A poem, unlike
a living being, cannot
perceive you and, in
perceiving you, grant you
reality. If it sleeps
with you, it cuts you.
It runs a few
degrees cooler than room
temperature. A love poem
does not love you. Or
does not necessarily love
you. A love poem faces
outward. It performs
love adequately. Lately,
I’ve wondered about poetry’s
efficacy. It’s like doubting
a long romance, or romance
itself, the essence of it.
Fearsome, to doubt
your life’s foundation.
I’ve also wondered about
painting. What distinguishes
a good or great painting,
paintings I’ve loved, from
illustration? Lately everything
seems illustrative to me,
as if the whole world
is a cunning metaphor.
A young painter once
cautioned me not to bring
a literary framework to visual art.
A sane admonition, I think.
Maybe what distinguishes
art from illustration
is its uselessness. Art,
useless at its core,
but not valueless. And
what is the correlation
between painting and poetry?
What makes a poem merely
illustrative and what elevates it
to an essential artfulness,
i.e., uselessness? I know
I am using the old language
here. “Merely.” “Elevates.”
I am in an antiquated room,
its fixtures, dust-covered
and ornate. Furniture,
built at the behest of another
era, from a principle of design
that forefronts beauty,
is delicate, as if balanced on a foal’s
trembling legs. Maybe to live
within a poem is to entrap oneself
in an architecture constructed upon
outmoded theories of composition.
It’s possible there is an undiscovered
room or house, or a structure
somewhere I don’t yet have
the language for. An academy of silences.
A cathedral of cross-purposed
voices. A posthuman spaciousness
filled only with a reemerged
species of butterflies. A catacomb
of cluster flies. Whatever it will be,
it will be new, filled
with its own mystifying absurdities,
and likely beyond me.
This body may not be built
for it. Mine is the kind
of body you drag around
town on a leash, with a choke
chain. You don’t love it,
but it’s yours to contend with,
though it compresses your
soul. When did it begin
to compress rather than
liberate my soul? Early,
but I do remember
when it was my soul’s instrument,
indistinguishable from
my soul. I could sit on the front
stoop and the whole world
came streaming in through
the structures of my senses.
Maybe the body is the soul’s
metaphor. Maybe to escape it
is to escape the service
economy. To dissolve analogy.
Attain uselessness.

Mar 7, 1:14 pm

>108 dianeham: I like the two poems you posted, I’m thinking of buying one of her books.

>109 dianeham: Love this one!

Mar 7, 1:18 pm

>110 FlorenceArt: oh, read Mama Amazonica with me!
Diane Seuss from >109 dianeham: won the Pulitzer Poetry prize in 2022 for her book frank: sonnets.

Mar 7, 1:59 pm

>108 dianeham: >109 dianeham: I like the Suess poem and Mama Amazonica sounds amazing. I just requested one of her later collections.

Mar 7, 2:54 pm

>111 dianeham: I don’t know, all her books seem to be about family trauma and endangered nature, it scares me a little :-)

Mar 9, 9:25 pm

Cranes, Mafiosos, and a Polaroid Camera

I had a few days left of my stay at the crane sanctuary
in Kearney, Nebraska, when my brother called. It was 3:24 a.m.
It’s me, he said. It’s your brother. He had taken apart

another Polaroid camera and needed me to explain how
to put it back together. His voice was a snare drum, knocking
and quick. He was crying. I didn’t want to wake the other visitors,

and I knew he’d keep calling, hour after hour, day after day,
lifetime after miserable lifetime, until I answered. I slid out of bed.
Tell me what to do. You know what to do, he pleaded.

I should know how to help my brother by now. He and I
have had this exact conversation before—if I love him,
if I really love him, why haven’t I learned to reassemble

a Polaroid camera? Instead, I told him about the sandhill cranes,
the way they dance—moving into and giving way to one another,
bowing down, cresting and collapsing their wings,

necks and shoulders silver curls of smoky rhythm—
but he didn’t believe me. My brother believes the mafia
placed a transmitter deep within his Polaroid camera,

but he can’t believe in dancing cranes. You think this is a joke?
he whispers. These are fucking Mafiosos I’m talking about.
You’re probably next. He hung up on me.

That dawn, I aimed my digital camera at the sky
until the last of an island of late-rising cranes lifted into the metallic
air—I couldn’t take my eyes from the barrel of lens, my finger,

fast trigger against the black skeleton of the camera. I wondered
what it would look like cracked open to its upside-down mirrors
and polished levers, how many screws there were, how many lantern-lit

cranes might come unfurling out of that cage. I wondered
what I would look like if the darkened chambers of my body
were unlocked. What streams of light might escape me and reveal

about the things I collect and hide, and is there a difference
between aperture and wound. Mostly, I wondered where
my brother keeps getting those goddamned Polaroid cameras.

Mar 10, 2:26 am

>114 dianeham: Beautiful and very moving.

Editado: Mar 10, 7:38 am

>114 dianeham: Love the Diaz poem, Diane. What collection is it from? I LOVED
Postcolonial Love Poem

Editado: Mar 11, 7:35 am


A thin wet sky, that yellows at the rim,
And meets with sun-lost lip the marsh’s brim.

The pools low lying, dank with moss and mould,
Glint through their mildews like large cups of gold.

Among the wild rice in the still lagoon,
In monotone the lizard shrills his tune.

The wild goose, homing, seeks a sheltering,
Where rushes grow, and oozing lichens cling.

Late cranes with heavy wing, and lazy flight,
Sail up the silence with the nearing night.

And like a spirit, swathed in some soft veil,
Steals twilight and its shadows o’er the swale.

Hushed lie the sedges, and the vapours creep,
Thick, grey and humid, while the marshes sleep.


Mar 11, 7:35 am

>118 dianeham: It had been awhile since I read Postcolonial Love Poems so I had forgot about that poem.

Mar 12, 8:25 am

I have Postcolonial Love Poems and clearly need to get to it—I think Diaz is terrific. I loved her When My Brother Was an Aztec.

Mar 15, 8:51 am

This poem by Yehuda Amichai was in an email I received yesterday. Unfortunately, the email did not mention who did the translation.

Open closed open.
Yehudah Amichai

Before we are born, everything is open in the universe without us.
For as long as we live, everything is closed within us.
And when we die, everything is open again.
Open closed open. That’s all we are.

לִפְנֵי שֶׁאָדָם נוֹלָד הַכֹּל פָּתוּחַ בַּיְקוּם בִּלְעָדָיו
כְּשֶׁהוּא חַי הַכֹּל סָגוּר בּוֹ בְּחַיָּיו
וּכְּשֶׁהוּא מֵת הַכֹּל שׁוּב פָּתוּחַ.
פָּתוּחַ סָגוּר פָּתוּחַ. זֶה כֹּל הָאָדָם

Mar 15, 2:03 pm


Finally, friends are leaving for New England—
Haddam, CT, and, God help them, Vermont—

which means plowing, slipping, freezing
but not, they hope, burning up in Paradise

as the Golden State furiously consumes itself.
I miss them though I won’t go East again.

I can’t—not to where all the seasons differ
gorgeously in the ways they make me ill,

where it’s okay to just be fucking mean,
especially in Little Rhody, or Rogue Island,

as it was called in the eighteenth century,
recently voted home of the worst accent,

beating West Virginia. No more bubblers
for me, and nothing’s wicked where I live

among nice folks, who say, beautiful day,
because we have beautiful days (whales,

pelicans, otters, and hummingbirds), then
a week of Martian skies, this sick orange.

We catch the ash and smell of toasted trees
and buildings. After this, rain refuses to soften,

pushing down on us. I jump at loud cracks
as long-lived, dried-out firs give up the ghost.

Mind the burn scar, authorities warn. Water
and rocks and everything else have nothing

to stop them. If  you hear the mudslide, you are
already too late. But I haven’t heard it yet.


Mar 17, 7:57 am


Remember the sky that you were born under,
know each of the star’s stories.
Remember the moon, know who she is.
Remember the sun’s birth at dawn, that is the
strongest point of time. Remember sundown
and the giving away to night.
Remember your birth, how your mother struggled
to give you form and breath. You are evidence of
her life, and her mother’s, and hers.
Remember your father. He is your life, also.
Remember the earth whose skin you are:
red earth, black earth, yellow earth, white earth
brown earth, we are earth.
Remember the plants, trees, animal life who all have their
tribes, their families, their histories, too. Talk to them,
listen to them. They are alive poems.
Remember the wind. Remember her voice. She knows the
origin of this universe.
Remember you are all people and all people
are you.
Remember you are this universe and this
universe is you.
Remember all is in motion, is growing, is you.
Remember language comes from this.
Remember the dance language is, that life is.

-Joy Harjo

^This is from an earlier collection by Harjo- She Had Some Horses. I prefer her later work but this one is definitely a gem.

Mar 17, 1:25 pm

>123 msf59: thank you Mark

Mar 17, 1:45 pm

All things now remind me

By Diane Seuss

All things now remind me of what love used to be. Swollen cattails in lonely
places. Gluey conditioner in my hair. Firm books. Their variegated spines.
Swirl of words like a stirred cocktail, whirled umbilicus, pulsing asterisk.
The past is this: to have been young and desirous and to be those things
no more. In the future the cattails will explode without me. I pray they will
not go unseen. Who will ride the cemetery horses? Incorrigible blond forelocks
blowing in their eyes. Back when I walked through cemeteries commenting
on the strange names. The present tense: to take a loveless path is to court
a purple-blue emptiness, like a disco or a grotto. Or the cave where dead bodies
are stored in the winter, when a shovel can’t break through frozen ground.
I have seen such spaces. I have been alone in them. Sound of water lapping.
Animals calling to each other. Echo of my own breath. Smoke pouring
from my mouth in the cold. Memory, interloper in the corner who means to kill,
heavy rock in its hand. And poetry. This poem right now. This one-night stand.

Mar 17, 1:52 pm

A City Like a Guillotine Shivers on Its Way to the Neck
by Ilya Kaminsky

Alfonso stumbles from the corpse of the soldier. The townspeople are cheering, elated, pounding him on the back. Those who climbed the trees to watch applaud from the branches. Momma Galya shouts about pigs, pigs clean as men.

At the trial of God, we will ask: why did you allow all this?
And the answer will be an echo: why did you allow all this?

Mar 22, 9:03 am

Sorry, I've been reading and not commenting. Some interesting and varied pieces. Thank you all.

Re-read for the AAC poetry month. I still enjoyed this volume as much as the first reading. For me most of the poems worked, which is quite rare. I am usually satisfied with half a dozen or so fine pieces. This had more. One of many favourites. I love the opening lines The big-ass bees are back, tipsy, sun drunk/And heavy with thick knitted leg warmers/of pollen. So sensory and visual.

Mar 22, 12:00 pm

>127 Caroline_McElwee: Love that page!

Mar 22, 4:38 pm

Mar 23, 6:40 pm

Preparing for Residential Placement for My Disabled Daughter

My life without you—I have already
seen it. Today, on the salt marsh.
The red-winged blackbird perched
in the tallest tree, sage green branches
falling over the water. She sat there
for a long time, doing nothing.
As she lifted up to fly, the slender branch
shook from the release of her weight.
When the bird departed, it seemed
the branch would shake forever
in the wind, bobbing up and down.
When it finally stopped moving,
the branch was diminished,
reaching out to the vast sky.

-Jennifer Franklin From Poem-A-Day

"I wrote this short poem during a twelve-day residency in Cape Cod. Because I raised my twenty-two-year-old disabled daughter by myself, this was the first time since graduate school that I had uninterrupted time to write. I woke up at dawn and sat on the deck with my dog and a cup of coffee, watching the abundance of birds—swans, osprey, ducks on the salt marsh. The simple red-winged blackbird provoked this poem."

Mar 24, 4:59 pm

"Give me a cabin in the woods
Where not a human soul intrudes;
Where I can sit beside a stream
Beneath a balsam bough and deam,
And every morning see arise
The sun like bird of paradise;
Then go down to the creek and fish
A speckled trout for breakfast dish,
And fry it in an ember fire -
Ah! there's the life of my desire..."

From Sentimental Shark

"...Beyond the Arctic outposts I will venture all alone;
Some Never-never Land will be my goal.
Thank God! there's none will miss me, for I've been a bird of flight;
And in my moccasins I'll take my call;
For the Wanderlust has ruled me,
And the Wanderlust has schooled me,
And I'm ready for the darkest trail of all.

Grim land, dim land, oh, how the vastness calls!
Far land, star land, oh, how the stillness falls!
For you never can tell if it's heaven or hell,
And I'm taking the trail on trust;
But I haven't a doubt
That my soul will leap out
On its Wan-der-lust."

From The Wanderlust

^These excerpts are from a volume of poetry/verse- The Best of Robert Service. This one was recommended by Joe and I am glad I took the journey. Like most extensive collections, not everything worked for me but plenty did. I was reading some of his bio info and he was a man who lived quite an adventurous life. He was called the "the Canadian Kipling”. Like Hemingway, he was an ambulance driver during WWI. He was a cowboy, newspaperman, frontiersman and miner. Fans of Jack London would also appreciate his writing. (1874-1958)

Mar 25, 1:25 pm

>131 msf59: I haven't thought of Robert Service in years. I read a lot of his poems in high school when I did a lot of backcountry camping.

Mar 26, 10:12 am

>130 msf59: One thing I appreciate so much about poetry is how, when done well, it's able to address the most complex and multilayered feelings. That's a lovely example.

Mar 26, 11:56 am

I read some of Johannes Bobrowski's poems when I was studying, but had always planned to read this whole edition. I know that I loved them back then, but otherwise couldn't remember them. Reading Globally's quarterly topic made me think of Bobrowski again, so I did not hesitate but picked up the book.

"Gedichte - Eine Auswahl" by Johannes Bobrowski
This edition ed. and publ. by Eberhard Haufe in 1990, poems written between 1941 and 1965
Rating: 4 stars - ****

This edition of Johannes Bobrowski's poems was published in 1990, in the still existing GDR, by Eberhard Haufe, who chose around 150 poems and also wrote an illuminating afterword.

Johannes Bobrowski was a German writer who was born in Tilsit/Sowetsk, a town close to Königsberg/Kaliningrad, now on the Lithuanian border. He was from a Christian family who were opposed to the Nazis, but still, he became a soldier. He served on the campaign in Russia and was later imprisoned there until 1949.
Because of these experiences, Bobrowski's main topic was the European east, its natural world, but also its history. Most of his poems deal with the Lithuanian/East Prussian landscape of the region where he grew up, or with the Russian landscape around Nowgorod, where he was stationed during the war. Bobrowski moved to Berlin after he returned from prison and lived there until his death, so with the exception of a few poems that were written in the 1940s, he wrote about the east from memory, and created a magical and unreal region. This was supported by his usage of the ancient name Samartia - a poetic version of the land, but not a perfect one, because there are the shadows of the war and of the holocaust. There are people who go to their death, buildings that are destroyed and decayed, there is a cold and dangerous feeling that disturbs the often lyrical descriptions of nature. Emotions of loss and guilt - both Bobrowski's personal guilt as a soldier, as well as Germany's collective guilt - influence these poems.

During his lifetime, Bobrowski was one of the few authors who were equally read and respected in both German states, despite dealing with the politically and morally difficult topics mentioned above, which were treated differently in the two Germanys. Bobrowski himself wanted to be just a 'German' writer and did not wish to pledge allegiance to one of the two, and he was successful in that. He was a friend of some of the most important writers of the time, such as Günter Grass, Uwe Johnson and Paul Celan.

Bobrowski's poems are often not easy to understand, as they are full of metaphors and images, as well as deeply intertextual. Some are dedicated or written in response to other writers (alive or long deceased), others reference myths and legends. His continuous use of enjambement, of neologisms and inversions creates a special rhythm that does not always feel natural. Despite the often dreamlike quality of his poetry, it is firmly rooted in reality, often being connected to specific places that are mentioned or described. The language often includes prefixes used in a surprising way and an unusual syntax, which builds an atmosphere that makes the reader feel that despite the beautiful nature, something is wrong. For sure, I have only scratched the surface of Bobrowski's work with these poems.

Mar 26, 12:17 pm

>134 MissBrangwen: Enjoyed reading your review of a poet that is new to me

Mar 28, 9:43 pm

By Jack Grady

Mar 30, 4:25 pm

Dear Future Me (#12)
by Lena Moses-Schmitt

Here’s how it’s going lately.
This morning the minute I sat down
to write a poem
the men outside in orange vests
and hard, white skies strapped over the heads
started up their jackhammering.
D, I typed, and set off an explosion of sound.
My thoughts vibrated in my jaw. Every bandage
on my brain ripped clean off. All the wise
and gorgeous things I want the skill to say
began to circle the drain. And I was left
with this: Why do I like poems?
Life continues, I guess,
except it’s very loud.
Lately I’m too tired to care
about getting old. I never put my phone down.
I scroll many futures away. I sleep many futures
away, I write them away, the longer I live,
the more the future disappears.
Then again, at least when I type tysm
I feel like a cool little snake
wearing sunglasses. Don’t mind me.
I’m working through all the mind trash.
Do you think of harming yourself?
No, but I have other desires.
I’m afraid. What if you’re someone
you don’t want me to know? What if
I’m someone you’ll wish to disown?
God, just leave me alone for once. Yesterday
on my just-before-dark walk
I saw a few pretty things: a gasp of birds
flirting through the brown barcode of trees
in the park, a shadow of a half-ladder
casting an H onto a roof, as if the light
was starting to spell House.
I imagined the sun with its giant typewriter,
smashing down the keys
and was relieved…I’m just another person.
There is such little use for fear.
But of course there are the things you know
and then the things you feel.

Mar 30, 4:46 pm

Mar 30, 7:18 pm

>137 dianeham: I saw that on the Slowdown this morning and really liked it. Poetry Daily was good too... it's a two-good-poem-in-my-inbox day.

Mar 31, 1:14 pm

>136 dianeham: Liked this one Diane.

Editado: Mar 31, 3:54 pm

I stole this from The Paris Review but I paid for a subscription first. I haven’t watched any John Wick yet but I think I will.

John Wick Is So Tired
Kyra Wilder ISSUE 243, SPRING 2023

John Wick is so tired, but he can still throw a hatchet and hit a guy dead in the face
he can just split other people open with anything, with a pencil
because he knows what it’s like
because he’s tired and loves dogs and he’s cracked right open too and
I want to tell you to
look at his feet when he runs
the way they turn so delicately in
the way they’re listing slightly, his black shoes
the heels of them
their heartbreaking glissade hush-hushing across the hotel tiles
just look at the way he’s slipping
even before he soaks the floor with other people’s blood
I want to do push-ups like John Wick does in the morning
so I won’t just be sad but sad and also ripped, like
sad with muscles that stand out all obvious in desolate relief
sad where it looks like I eat clean and have expensive taste
I want to be sad but with a cut six-pack and
to drink thimblefuls of espresso out of impeccable cups and
I want to tell you to wait and be here and look
at me and also at the way John Wick is leaning
into those people that he’s stabbing
how he gets so close to them and just holds them for a second
how he’s so tired but he knows he has to let them go
and I wish you would be here and
we could watch John Wick together
and we could put our ruthless arms around each other and if we looked
out the window it would be all California
and I would lean in close and tell you that John Wick kills women like
he’s read feminist theory
which is to say I think he’s familiar with the philosophy of care and
you would laugh and
wait, look now, John Wick is riding
that black horse like he knows just what grief is
like he knows sometimes it’s killing and killing and
sometimes it’s just slipping in your shoes and
I want you to be here and
wait, now the camera’s right on him, just all cool colors and diaphanous mood and
it looks like his hand hurts like his knuckles are a little swollen but
he’s not saying it and
I want to know what you think
of all that blue light

Abr 1, 7:37 am

>141 dianeham: Wow! Love the poem. And I’ll probably look up who John Wick is now.

Editado: Abr 1, 3:53 pm

The 100 Best Love Poems of All Time, Edited by Leslie Pockell et al (2003)

One of probably many books claiming to have the "best" love poems. This collection (100 poems on 128 pages) covers centuries of romantic poetry. The collection had many, many poems I was already familiar with, but also some I was not as familiar with. The editor/s add a comment under a poem's title, perhaps to help those who may be less comfortable with poetry understand what the it's trying to convey.

I picked this up because of the lightweight paperback size - easy to slip into one’s beach bag or briefcase. I’ve had it around since 2007 and never thought to review it. It would be a great gift book for a friend or another loved one who might not read a lot of poetry. Here are two of the poems from the anthology…

The Avenue by Frances Cornford (granddaughter of Charles Darwin)

Who has not seen their lover
Walking at ease,
Walking like any other
A pavement under trees,
Not singular; apart,
But footed, featured, dressed,
Approaching like the rest
In the same dapple of the summer caught;
Who has not suddenly thought
With swift surprise:
There walks in cool disguise,
There comes, my heart.

Habitation by Margaret Atwood

Marriage is not
a house or even a tent

it is before that, and colder:

the edge of the forest, the edge
of the desert
the unpainted stairs
at the back where we squat
outside, eating popcorn

the edge of the receding glacier

where painfully and with wonder
at having survived even
this far

we are learning to make fire

Abr 2, 10:17 pm

>141 dianeham: That is quite a poem! Wow, indeed.

Abr 2, 11:46 pm

>144 kidzdoc: glad you liked it. I love it.

Abr 2, 11:50 pm

>142 FlorenceArt: did you look up John Wick?

Abr 3, 4:44 am

>146 dianeham: No, actually ;-)

Abr 3, 9:16 pm

Diane Seuss ISSUE 241, FALL 2022

I think of the old pipes,
how everything white
in my house is rust-stained,
and the gray-snouted
raccoon who insists on using
my attic as his pee pad, I’ve
tried, oh I’ve tried
to no
avail, and certain
sadnesses losing their edges,
their sheen, their fur
chalk-colored, look
at that mound of laundry,
that pile of pelts peeled away
from the animal, and poems,
skinned free of poets,
like the favorite shoes of that dead
girl now wandering the streets
with someone else’s feet in them.

Abr 3, 9:23 pm

I want to do something special here for poetry month but I’m waiting to have a smidge of energy.

Abr 6, 8:11 am

>137 dianeham: I really like this poem. Wow!

Abr 6, 8:11 am

Virginia, Autumn

October, I’m dragging the dog away from perfect birds
lifeless on the pavement. By the water, boys in dress blues
with bayonets, the blistered hulls of boxships. Everything
is sunshine. Everything is dead, or dying, and this isn’t
a new thought. I grew up here, but farther from the ocean.
Each April, they took us to the battlefield, marched us
in schoolhouse lines up courthouse steps: here
is where the war ended. Never mind that it was fall
before the final battleship lowered its flag; never mind
that we still haven’t fired the last gun. What business
do I have wanting a baby here: in this body
where I can’t keep my balance, this country
where we can’t keep anything alive that needs us,
or dares not to, not even the switchgrass
pale and starved for groundwater? And still,
I do want. I search the news for mention of the birds,
whatever poison or disease I’m sure is claiming them
in such great numbers: meadowlarks, house wrens,
chickadees, starlings. Once even a gray gull, pulled
open at the chest before we found him, hollowed
of his organs. It takes a long time—too long—
for me to understand the sun in this season
is blinding, and the birds are flying into windows
all around me, fourteen stories up. Flying into glass
and falling. What we love is rarely blameless.
Is it a failure that I wouldn’t trade this brightness?
I imagine pointing upward for my daughter:
Look, there, how it catches in the changing trees.

-Molly McCully Brown From Poem-A-Day

Abr 8, 3:14 pm

Newly the winner of the 2023 Rathbone's Folio Prize, this is British-Ghanaian Bulley's debut volume.

Some thought-provoking pieces, and many versions of quiet. I shall be dipping into this volume over the next few weeks, and looking out for her work going forward.

The Ultra-Black Fish

Two hundred metres down, the light stops.
Many deep-sea creatures alive at this level
of the ocean have developed the ability to create
light for themselves. This is known as bioluminescence.
Others, on the contrary, contribute to the darkness
by adding themselves to it. Ultra-black fish are
one example, & in 2020 sixteen varieties of these were
discovered captured. The level of pigment in their
skin was so high that it was found to absorb 99.956%
of the light that touched it. Karen, a marine biologist,
made the discovery came across them by accident.
Instead of hauling up the deep-sea crabs she had been
searching for, her net produced a fang-toothed fish that
wouldn’t show up in a photograph. Held, later, in a tank
under two strobe lights, the fish became a living black hole,
with no discernable features beyond the opacity of its
silhouette. As though it had cut itself out of the image & left.
Scientists believe that the fish developed their invisibility
to aid them in escaping their predators. Another theory
suggests that the obscurity of ultra-black fish enables them
to more successfully catch their prey. It is likely that both
ideas are true. Commentators on their discovery have also
speculated that the chemical structure of the pigment could serve
the development of military & defence technologies.
Nothing was said, however, about how ultra-black fish find
& enter into relations with each other. Nonetheless, their existence
alone is evidence that, invisible as they may be to others,
they are by no means strangers to themselves.

Abr 8, 5:36 pm

>152 Caroline_McElwee: that is great! Thank you.

Abr 10, 1:56 pm

Forestbathing (or Trees)
by francine j. harris

for JW

Trees in other cities gather
and send out information. The beech,
the sylvatica, the Chinese birch judging

from the smell of diverted root.
I get more done with you in these curated woods.
Time now, is my humility. It scooches over

when we sit out under hydrangea, on a stone bench.
I trust you with the hammock and I lie beneath your
spiders in the wind. The Japanese garden is closed at this hour.

A group of teenagers gather with a chaperone and reach laughing
for wax bags they are told are full of squash sandwiches. There is always
another hill to climb and those kids were, all of them, brown.

One day I won’t have to say how gravel gathers sun, but
today we mention its shutterframe. We talk about its dance in
orange petals. In this city, roads shoot up and we don’t
park on them. We drive roundabout and try not
to think too slow.

Someone here in Boston always wants you
out of the way. But I remember the branch as it sways.
And I remember how much I have loved. And I remember
watching others light fire and wanting to get inside it.
And I want to ask, but don’t

if then, were we more like trees, sending out seed signals
on a breeze. Reaching for each other in the dark where
it is cooler and want is damp. Or are we more like trees now.
Sedentary. Old and stock. Endangered and disbelieved.

Abr 10, 7:33 pm

Abr 11, 5:37 pm

Just stopping by to post about a poem:
A poem created for the In Celebration of Women II – Making HERstory Exhibit by Rosemarie Dombrowski, the inaugural Poet Laureate of Phoenix: https://www.herbergertheater.org/in-celebration-of-women-ii-exhibit/

Abr 12, 6:03 pm

>152 Caroline_McElwee: Very interesting, Caro! It reminds me of someone else, I think, unless you posted that elsewhere.

Abr 12, 6:08 pm

>157 avaland: me too. I have a memory of seeing a poem like that with the words crossed out but I can’t figure out where.

Abr 14, 8:18 am

Green Bee-Eater

More precious than all
the gems of  Jaipur—

the green bee-eater.

If  you see one singing

with his space-black bill
and rufous cap,

his robes
all shades of emerald

like treetops glimpsed
from a plane,

his blue cheeks,
black eye-mask

and the delicate tail streamer
like a plume of smoke—

you might dream
of the forests

that once clothed
our flying planet.

And perhaps his singing
is a spell

to call our forests back—

by tree
by tree.


^This poem is from Tiger Girl, a collection I just finished. It explores her grandmother's heritage growing up in Central India and the surrounding subcontinental jungles.

Abr 14, 8:21 am

>154 dianeham: I really like the "Forestbathing" poem, Diane. Thanks for sharing.

Abr 14, 5:57 pm

Deja Dewey by Diane Hamilton

When you divide this universe
into fiction and nonfiction
poetry falls in with fiction
like a teenager
running with the wrong crowd.
It never occurred to me
that poetry could be
anything but true
or am I wrong
associating nonfiction with
truth. Poetry was never
fiction because the author is true
until she isn't. Suddenly I realized
the character in the poem -
who had always been me
at least my voice if not
my entire life -
could be made up.
But even that was a tool
A remove
A beard.

How do you lie in a poem?
And not in an ironic way.
You tell the truth.
You say the man beat his wife
The woman didn't love her children.
The boy tortured animals.
The dog bit the girl.
The girl wanted Sunday dinner
pot roast and potatoes
without fighting or blood
And the lie is:
They all lived happily after.

Nonfiction now resembles fiction.
Even a 3 minute news story needs:
a story,
a narrative,
a beginning, middle and end.
Does everything have a cause and effect?
Or is there a larger
invisible quantum layer?
How can you be sure that the person
crossing the threshold
Is the same person
before and after crossing?
Perhaps in mid-step she has
careened across a parallel
universe and been replaced.
And suddenly, although appearing
the same, she has a trove of parallel
universe experiences that actually
are so similar to her “twin's" that
they appear as odd deja vus.

Abr 14, 10:05 pm

>161 dianeham: Very interesting, Diane, and the fiction/nonfiction classification of poetry is something that I've thought about, albeit in a more prosaic way.

Abr 14, 10:28 pm

>162 labfs39: thanks. There was a discussion about it somewhere in cr but I can’t remember where.

Abr 15, 7:47 am

>161 dianeham: Another good one, Diane.

Abr 15, 7:47 am

After the Reading

someone asked me if my husband left me, or if I left him. After
the reading, someone asked me if there was a chance for
reconciliation as I shoved a pulled pork sandwich in my mouth
with Carolina Gold BBQ sauce oozing out the sides like neon
yellow lava. After the reading, someone asked me if I still pray
to God as I sipped a fizzy Diet Coke and the ice cubes huddled
and softly clinked around my upper lip leaving a wet mustache.
After the reading, someone said they had been divorced too and
then scurried away in a way that I completely understood. After
the reading, a woman told me I was worthy as if I was shattered
while I picked up crudités with a copious dollop of ranch
dressing. After the reading, a white woman thanked me for my
“angry poems.” I told her they were about my joy, and then she
touched my forearm and said, “No, they were about my rage.”
Insisting. After the reading, someone said they cried, and
another gave me a kind word. Thank you. After the after, I went
home and changed into my cheetah print pajamas. I wrapped my
hair and brushed my teeth. I got in bed and played a sci-fi show
on my laptop. The actors on the show were trying to find a way
to talk to aliens by using math and pheromones. I googled the
height of one of the actors. He is 6' 4". I fell asleep while
watching the show about the people in space trying to
communicate in first contact, intergalactic noises beeped and
swirled around the room like bees.

-Tiana Clark From Poem-A-Day

Abr 15, 12:07 pm

>164 msf59: thank you, Mark.

Abr 15, 12:10 pm

>165 msf59: I like it!

Abr 16, 2:08 pm

So Many Books, So Little Time

For independent booksellers & librarians, especially Nichelle Hayes

Frequently during my mornings of pain & reflection
when I can’t write
or articulate my thoughts
or locate the mindmusic needed
to complete the poems & essays
that are weeks plus days overdue
forcing me to stop, I cease
answering my phone, eating right, running my miles,
reading my mail, and making love.
(Also, this is when my children do not seek me out
because I do not seek them out.)
I escape north, to the nearest library or used bookstore.
They are my retreats, my quiet energy-givers, my intellectual refuge.

For me it is not bluewater beaches, theme parks,
or silent chapels hidden among forest greens.
Not multi-stored American malls, corporate book
supermarkets, mountain trails, or Caribbean hideaways.

My sanctuaries are liberated lighthouses of shelved books,
featuring forgotten poets, unread anthropologists of tenure-
seeking assistant professors, self-published geniuses, remaindered
first novelists, highlighting speed-written bestsellers,
wise historians & theologians, nobel, pulitzer prize, and american book
award winners, poets & fiction writers, overcertain political commentators,
small press wunderkinds & learned academics.
All are vitamins for my slow brain & sidetracked spirit in this
winter of creating.

I do not believe in smiling politicians, AMA doctors,
zebra-faced bankers, red-jacketed real estate or automobile
salespeople, or singing preachers.

I believe in books.
It can be conveniently argued that knowledge,
not that which is condensed or computer packaged, but
pages of hard-fought words, dancing language
meticulously & contemplatively written by the likes of me & others,
shelved imperfectly at the level of open hearts & minds,
is preventive medicine strengthening me for the return to my
clear pages of incomplete ideas to be reworked, revised &
written as new worlds and words in all of their subjective
configurations to eventually be processed into books that
will hopefully be placed on the shelves of libraries, bookstores, homes,
& other sanctuaries of learning to be found & browsed over by receptive
booklovers, readers & writers looking for a retreat,
looking for departure & yes spaces,
looking for open heart surgery without the knife.

Abr 18, 12:36 pm

LT decided to host a Poetry Month Hunt: https://www.librarything.com/topic/350259 which leads to https://www.librarything.com/hunt_new_lt2.php?h=24

If you never did one of these, the goal is to find a page on LT that matches the clue for each of the 12 clues. It can be an author page, a work page, a tag page, a tagmash, any of the pages under Local, more and Zeitgeist, a group page, a Common Knowledge page or anything else here on LT. Hints are usually posted in the thread at the top.

Abr 18, 3:15 pm

>169 AnnieMod: Thanks, got all my quills. :)

Abr 21, 8:46 am

I got way behind and then enjoyed slowly catching up. So this is a general thank you to everyone here for over a month of terrific poems posted.

Abr 21, 12:40 pm

This poem is interesting. But I don’t understabd what the card was for.

by Cherene Sherrard

Today in the mail I received a handwritten
note from a person whose illegible signature
required that I google the address to discover
its provenance. Let me restate: its provenance
was benevolent privilege. So accustomed am I
to the casual pokes and missteps of daily
interaction that I failed to be offended by,
or maybe misremembered, the incident
obligingly related inside the card, imprinted
with an abstract collage of what I think was
an Asian carp, an invasive species my son
likes to fish for in the lake and let suffocate on
shore. He lures them with sweet corn. A kindness,
he says, because these carp have no restraint.
They obliterate biodiversity and we do not
want a lake that only holds one type of fish.

Abr 21, 1:53 pm

>172 dianeham: Interesting indeed.

Abr 21, 2:53 pm

>172 dianeham: accidentally offensive incident kindly related with a card? Anniversary with ex/deceased spouse ?? Carps are way of wishing good fortune in adversity. Not sure the helps any.

Abr 21, 3:37 pm

>172 dianeham: That's part of the point - the lack of address, the lack of context for the receiver in the note itself (or you would know who sent it without needing to look up the address) - it is an incident that the receiver does not even remember - but that the other person believes to be so important and possibly bad that they need to send a card and apologize... That's how I am reading it anyway.

Editado: Abr 21, 8:24 pm

Editado: Abr 21, 8:45 pm

Mensagem removida pelo autor.

Abr 22, 12:59 pm

>168 dianeham: That one's neat. I don't know the author, but I know Nichelle Hayes, who is having a hell of a tough year and I hope she's seen that (I'm sure she has).

Abr 22, 1:20 pm

>178 lisapeet: who is Nichelle Hayes?

Abr 22, 2:58 pm

She's the interim CEO of the Indianapolis Public Library, in the middle of a nasty battle to name the next CEO and is getting really dragged in the process. I don't have a dog in that fight but I like Nichelle and hope she can keep her head above water throughout everything she's dealing with.

Abr 23, 8:48 am

From Patti Smith's A Book of Days (be it all a day late).

Editado: Abr 23, 4:12 pm

Best Canadian Poetry 2023

Series editor: Anita Lahey
Guest editor: John Barton

As the title suggests this is an anthology of the “best” of new Canadian poetry published for 2023. After introductory pieces by both editors, this collection offers the reader fifty poems on a multitude subjects, by a wonderfully inclusive list of talented poets. The editors note that much effort was made to have representation of “historically marginalized voices”. At the end of the poetry, there are the contributors’ short bios, and commentary.

I very much enjoyed this collection, I might say, a bit better than some of the other anthologies I’ve read recently, but if you ask me tomorrow or next week I might have a different answer. The editors’ introduction pieces were interesting, but I suggest reading the poetry first and going back to those pieces on your second run through the book. The commentary from the poets, which came after their bios in the back of the book, were a terrific addition.

And, of course, so many good poems. Here is one, relatively short, poem I really liked (and yes, I have tinnitus)

Colin Morton

I read John Cage and, in a silent room,
listened to the low thrum of blood in my veins,
the hiss of nerves in my head.
Proprioception I called it, after Olson.

For years I believed what I heard
was the microbiome of my inner ear—
cells living out their lives in there–
and I wondered about this thing called me.

How much of me is a population
of microbes doing I don’t know what
to or for me, living and dying
as I say these words.

Now I accent the first syllable,
call it tinnitus, as if that’s an explanation.
I told the doctor, I guess there’s little I can do.
You can complain, he said.

First published in PRISM international

Abr 23, 4:47 pm

If the poem by Colin Morton is representative; it looks to be a good collection

Abr 24, 12:06 pm

Evening Hawk

From plane of light to plane, wings dipping through
Geometries and orchids that the sunset builds,
Out of the peak's black angularity of shadow, riding
The last tumultuous avalanche of
Light above pines and the guttural gorge,
The hawk comes.

His wing
Scythes down another day, his motion
Is that of the honed steel-edge, we hear
The crashless fall of stalks of Time.

The head of each stalk is heavy with the gold of our error.

Look! Look! he is climbing the last light
Who knows neither Time nor error, and under
Whose eye, unforgiving, the world, unforgiven, swings
Into shadow.

Long now,
The last thrush is still, the last bat
Now cruises in his sharp hieroglyphics. His wisdom
Is ancient, too, and immense. The star
Is steady, like Plato, over the mountain.

If there were no wind we might, we think, hear
The earth grind on its axis, or history
Drip in darkness like a leaking pipe in the cellar.

Abr 27, 6:14 pm

London-Irish poet Laurie Bolger has won this year’s Moth Poetry Prize with her poem Parkland Walk. She was presented with her €6,000 prize by The Moth founders, Rebecca O’Connor and Will Govan, at an award ceremony which was part of the Poetry Day Ireland celebrations yesterday.

The prize was judged by Nobel Laureate Louise Glück. ‘My own preference inclines to the irregular over the regular, to suggestion over assertion, to dissonance over harmony, to the demotic over the vatic,’ said Glück. ‘I respond to poems that surprise me.’ Parkland Walk reflects this definition of originality. It sounds like speech, at once utterly natural and deeply odd.

‘On the surface, it concerns a pair of rebellious and sassy girls, who like to do things they’ve been warned against. Slowly, almost invisibly, the anecdotal becomes the archetypal: the relatively innocent walk becomes some larger, more fated journey into the unknown and perilous.’

Parkland Walk

Some tech god has made an app so you can hear birds and name them
the police helicopter is going so
we speak loud
the broken bird box is left hanging but they're still going
some woman told me and Hannah not to come down here on our own
don't go down there on your own girls and if you do for god's sake stay together
Hannah lost her Dad last month so I am chirping at her about a place for us to get
good spaghetti
there's a snail right in the middle of things
its shiny trails are like rain caught in a spider's web
the bin has shit all over the path again
someone has graffitied a sun onto the side of the big trunk in a mess of yellow
so the bark is like the potatoes we dipped in paint and dragged around the plate when we were small
a jogging man is convinced that the wedding proposal is just right
and the locals have had time to draw sad faces on all of the stumps
a little girl's dad chases her along the path
I make a joke about the woman with the warning I wanted to say
my legs are thick with blood and yes they can
I learnt to ride a bike on a path just like this one
I got too wide for the slide
I made perfume in milk bottles from petals for all of the mums
who told us not to go too far
I ask Hannah what do you need girl? - and she says she won't remember any of this in grief
it's like Sally said just walk with her for now and so we walk into the trees

Laurie Bolger


Abr 28, 12:55 pm

Tea with Ann
by Mary Brancaccio

I don’t know when we started our habit
of long talks over pots of tea

or why it felt so familiar.

And I wonder if we’d been born
elsewhere, would we have met

in a post office line, or waiting

for a bus, instead of
in the cafeteria

at Bishop O’Connell

sophomore year?
I was the one eating alone

when you came along.

But it seems as if
I can’t imagine growing old

without you.

Who else will laugh
at the point of no return

from the priest’s lecture on loss
of virginity, played on a tinny cassette

to a classroom of horny sixteen
year-olds, all bucking to lose it

by graduation? I still can’t pass
that donut shop in Vienna

without feeling queasy over crème puffs

after you and I got high and you taught me
how crème-filled donuts were made.

And didn’t we talk the dawn in
over mothers and lovers,

the ones we lost, the ones we buried.
Only you understand the gap that grew

between ourselves and our brothers,
after our mothers died.

And the aging fathers we loved,
god, how they wore us down.

I promise this summer, no really,
I’ll help you tame your back lot.

The kids and I will be over.

I’ll bring a rake and pruning shears.
You’ll put on a pot of tea.

Abr 28, 1:56 pm

>185 dianeham: and >186 dianeham: are both beautiful.

Abr 30, 11:43 am

Between the World and Me
Richard Wright (originally 1935)

And one morning while in the woods I stumbled suddenly
          upon the thing,
Stumbled upon it in a grassy clearing guarded by scaly oaks
          and elms
And the sooty details of the scene rose, thrusting themselves
          between the world and me...
There was a design of white bones slumbering forgottenly
          upon a cushion of ashes.
There was a charred stump of a sapling pointing a blunt
          finger accusingly at the sky.
There were torn tree limbs, tiny veins of burnt leaves, and a
          scorched coil of greasy hemp;
A vacant shoe, an empty tie, a ripped shirt, a lonely hat, and
          a pair of trousers stiff with black blood.
And upon the trampled grass were buttons, dead matches,
          butt-ends of cigars and cigarettes, peanut shells, a
          drained gin-flask, and a whore's lipstick;
Scattered traces of tar, restless arrays of feathers, and the
          lingering smell of gasoline.
And through the morning air the sun poured yellow surprise
          into the eye sockets of the stony skull
And while I stood my mind was frozen within cold pity for
          the life that was gone.
The ground gripped my feet and my heart was circled by
          icy walls of fear—
The sun died in the sky; a night wind muttered in the
          grass and fumbled the leaves in the trees; the woods
          poured forth the hungry yelping of hounds; the
          darkness screamed with thirsty voices; and the witnesses rose
          and lived:
The dry bones stirred, rattled, lifted, melting themselves into
          my bones.
The grey ashes formed flesh firm and black, entering into my
The gin-flask passed from mouth to mouth, cigars and ciga-
          rettes glowed, the whore smeared lipstick red
          upon her lips,
And a thousand faces swirled around me, clamoring that
          my life be burned....
And then they had me, stripped me, battering my teeth into
          my throat till I swallowed my own blood.
My voice was drowned in the roar of their voices, and my
          black wet body slipped and rolled in their hands as
          they bound me to the sapling.
And my skin clung to the bubbling hot tar, falling from me in
          limp patches.
And the down and quills of the white feathers sank into my
          raw flesh, and I moaned in my agony.
Then my blood was cooled mercifully, cooled by a baptism
         of gasoline.
And in a blaze of red I leaped to the sky as pain rose like
          water, boiling my limbs
Panting, begging I clutched childlike, clutched to the hot
          sides of death.
Now I am dry bones and my face a stony skull staring in
          yellow surprise at the sun...

Source (with teaching notes): http://teachingwithpoetry.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Between-the-World-Poem-...

Maio 1, 1:30 pm

>188 dchaikin: you know the feeling you get when you wish you had not read something

Maio 1, 6:11 pm

>189 baswood: i maybe should have put a trigger warning before that one. Sorry

Maio 1, 6:39 pm

Again, the Fields

After Winslow Homer

the dead they lay long the lines like sheaves of Wheat I could
have walked on the boddes all most from one end too the other

No more muskets, the bone-drag
weariness of marching, the trampled
grass, soaked earth red as the wine

of sacrament. Now, the veteran
turns toward a new field, bright
as domes of the republic. Here,

he has shrugged off the past—his jacket
and canteen flung down in the corner.
At the center of the painting, he anchors

the trinity, joining earth and sky.
The wheat falls beneath his scythe--
a language of bounty—the swaths

like scripture on the field’s open page.
Boundless, the wheat stretches beyond
the frame, as if toward a distant field--

the white canvas where sky and cotton
meet, where another veteran toils,
his hands the color of dark soil.

-Natasha Trethewey

This is from her Pulitzer Prize winning collection, Native Guard: Poems, which I just read. It was excellent.

Maio 1, 6:46 pm

>186 dianeham: I like "Tea with Ann". Thanks for sharing.

>188 dchaikin: I like "Between the World and Me". Fits Wright's style perfectly.

Maio 1, 8:53 pm

>191 msf59: terrific and nice followup

>192 msf59: Sharp, on Wright. It brings out his strengths. Also, I like the dialogue through the title, famously recycled by James Baldwin and, of course, Ta-Nehisi Coates.

Editado: Maio 6, 12:08 pm

>190 dchaikin: But thanks for posting it Dan.

And for making the connection between Wright & Coats. My mind didn't make that jump.

Maio 11, 7:28 am

I Dare You

It’s autumn, and we’re getting rid
of books, getting ready to retire,
to move some place smaller, more
manageable. We’re living in reverse,
age-proofing the new house, nothing
on the floors to trip over, no hindrances
to the slowed mechanisms of our bodies,
a small table for two. Our world is
shrinking, our closets mostly empty,
gone the tight skirts and dancing shoes,
the bells and whistles. Now, when
someone comes to visit and admires
our complete works of Shakespeare,
the hawk feather in the open dictionary,
the iron angel on a shelf, we say
take them. This is the most important
time of all, the age of divestment,
knowing what we leave behind is
like the fragrance of blossoming trees
that grows stronger after
you’ve passed them, breathing
them in for a moment before
breathing them out. An ordinary
Tuesday when one of you says
I dare you, and the other one
just laughs.

-Dorianne Laux From Poem-A-Day

Maio 22, 5:24 am

Could I ask of those posting individual poems, that you also note your source the in your post? (just like msf59 did so, in the post above). Collection, anthology, magazine, the web.... Thanks in advance (someone might wish to explore further....)

Maio 22, 12:31 pm

The Pathology of Currency
by Matthew Lippman

You build a bank. You put money in it.

No one knows how much money is in it.

Not even you know how much money is in it.

You deposit 1000 dollars and it’s a mystery.

You take out 1000 dollars and it’s a conundrum.

When you look at the statement the statement says 5 dollars.

How did that get there? Was it a bird with a five-dollar bill?

No. It was five birds with five one-dollar bills.

But there’s still 25 cents left after you spend the 5 bucks on an acre of land in Vermont.

When you were a kid, you could buy a slice of pizza from Village Pizza for a quarter.

You wish you could get a slice for a quarter, now. No.

You wish you were a kid running across the street,

dodging cabs and buses and bullets

to play stoop ball with your pals. That’s funny.

You never used the word “pals” when you were a kid.

Never used that word when you were an adult.

Now that you are an adult you use the word “boys” or the word “brothers.”

Funny how you only got that far.

You got far enough to build a bank with a vault and some safe deposit boxes.

But there’s nothing in there, only clouds of money

that evaporate onto steel and granite and leave you befuddled.

It boggles your mind, and all your panic attacks are dollar kamikaze bombers.

You go across the street for a slice. You smack 5 dollars down on the counter

and there is a thousand dollars out there, floating around between memory and desire,

denial and survival.

The cheese is so hot it burns your tongue.

The sauce drips down your arm

in dollar signs.

From the daily poetry email called Slowdown.

Maio 30, 8:40 am

from “Listen to the Golden Boomerang Return”

our first lightning
strike was convulsive
we felt sad for our
violence after
wolves and bison
we do not need a
doctor to say
dance dance
dance before
the song
runs out
learn how
to live so
we put them
in parks to be
wild on purpose
a museum of fur
fangs and hooves

-CAConrad From-Poem-A-Day

Maio 30, 4:07 pm

>198 msf59: phew. Fun stuff

Jun 1, 3:07 pm

Sorry, I've been AWOL.

>185 dianeham: Like that one, not a poet I am familiar with Diane.

>188 dchaikin: Years since I read Richard Wright. I do have a nice volume of his work.

>191 msf59: Another poet new to me.