Tribrach: for those who love (or would like to love) poetry

“Poetry must have something in it that is barbaric, vast and wild." -Denis Diderot

Poet Claudia Rankine to use her MacArthur genius grant to study whiteness


“Conceptions and constructions of whiteness,” she explained, have been “made and then propped up with eugenics and propped up with false science and false rhetoric and maintained through the justice system in every way”. They then become invisible. As writers and artists, she said, “it’s our job to point this out, because I really believe that people don’t know” – about what makes whiteness, or about how broad the life experiences of white people are.

Claudia Rankine: why I’m spending $625,000 to study whiteness – Steven W. Thrasher – Guardian – 10/19/16


from Citizen, V [Sometimes “I” is supposed to hold what is not there]

Claudia Rankine

Sometimes “I” is supposed to hold what is not there until it is.
Then what comes apart the closer you are to it.

This makes the first person a symbol for something.

The pronoun barely holding the person together.

Read rest of poem 

10/20/16: almost dying in Peru, reconciling after an estrangement, & a house made of ghosts & small animals



house made of ghosts and small animals – Kristy Bowen

For every love song, there is a broken dove skeleton
rotting in the eaves. A leaving, that requires
nothing but the door opening and closing just once.

Read rest of poem 


How I Almost Died in Peru – Patricia Colleen Murphy

The mounting list of things I needed but
could not get. I tried to put on a sweater

but I was too small. The ceiling was too big.
The water wouldn’t stay where I swallowed it.

Read rest of poem 


Starting Over After Long Estrangement – Mary Stewart Hammond 

To all appearances they are having dinner,
the two women sitting halfway back
along the left wall of the Caffe Grazie.

Read rest of poem 


What is the plural of “Big Foot?”


(poetry diary 62) Yesterday I met a library worker who said that a reference question came in the other day about the plural of “Big Foot.”  This has led to an on-going debate in her office.  (Is there more than one Big Foot?  If there is, how would one refer to them? etc. etc.)

According to the Cryptomundo blog, (see this link for a convincing argument,) the plurals of “Big Foot” and “Sasquatch” are “Big Foot” and “Sasquatch,” just like the plurals of “antelope,” “deer,” and “moose” are “antelope,” “deer,” and “moose.” (Apparently the plural of “Yeti,” though, can be “Yetis.”)

After reading this, I had a fun experience in messing w/my own brain while reading Chad Davidson’s “Consolation Miracle,” which contains Big Foot.  I believe Davidson is referring to one Big Foot, but imagining that he’s speaking of multiple Big Foot makes reading lines like the following especially fun & trippy:

Bigfoot trails out of California
into my living room, a miracle
in the muddled middle ground of the event
time carries itself like Bigfoot: heavy,
awkward, a touch too real to be real.
Read Davidson's poem here 



NO QUIT-a poem retrieved from Wikileaks


Slate has a poem that “was written entirely out of slogans at one time considered by the Hillary Clinton campaign, according to an email from the Wikileaks dump.”

No Quit: A Poem Inspired by the Clinton Campaign

You’ve earned a fair shot.

You’ve earned a fair chance.

A fair chance to get ahead.

She’s got your back.

Read rest of poem 

Dailies 10/19/16: Chasing a bear from a bird feeder, imagining a son one will never have, & a boy who wants to start a reliquary



The Boy with the Bolt – Taije Silverman 

The boy at my poetry reading wants to start a reliquary.
He might be twelve, his belly billowed around him like a safety
net for his body, and a head of curly hair the shocked color
of saffron. His shoulders have the blockish weight
of a kitchen cupboard but his voice is a child’s,
girlish and mannered. His name is River.

Read rest of poem 


Chasing the Bear From the Bird Feeder – Tim Mayo 

Boo! works the first time. A little less the second.
Then he begins to realize you are neither god
nor ghost, that what shines at him in the night,
your flashlight, has no power other than to reveal.

Read rest of poem 


The Son I’ll Never Have – Mark Wunderlich

The son I’ll never have is crossing the lawn. He is lying on an

———–imaginary bed,

the coverlet pulled up over his knees—knees I don’t dare


Read rest of poem 




the wolves talk back


(poetry diary 61) Still looking for wolf poems, esp. after encountering The Wolf Reader yesterday and then witnessing my child eagerly hugging one of his wolf stuffed animals while listening to his father read him a new book w/a wolf in it yesterday…only to find out that the wolf in the book gets beheaded. Sigh.  “We did not like that,” said my child. Here’s a couple in which the wolves talk back:

The Good Gray Wolf

Wanted that red, wanted everything tucked inside
that red, that body, it seemed, turned inside out,
that walking flower, petals furled, leaved
by the trees by the forest path, the yellow basket
marking the center--
Read rest of poem 

The Wolf’s Postscript to ‘Little Red Riding Hood’

Agha Shahid Ali, 19492001

First, grant me my sense of history:
I did it for posterity,
for kindergarten teachers
and a clear moral:
Little girls shouldn’t wander off
in search of strange flowers,
and they mustn’t speak to strangers.
Read rest of poem 

R.I.P. David Antin


David Antin, poet and critic known for his ‘talk poems,’ dies at 84Washington Post – October 18, 2016

In the 1970s, Mr. Antin began to develop a hybrid form of storytelling that was a combination of poetry, spoken meditation and critical essay in which he discussed issues or intellectual concepts in front of an audience. The performances were recorded and later revised by Mr. Antin into written works that became known as talk poems.

David Antin Dies at 84; Poet Created a New Performance Style – William Grimes – New York Times – October 17, 2016

“I tried to invent a poem, my kind of poem — an interrogation of a sort,” he told The Review of Contemporary Fiction in 2001. “I started thinking out loud, and that was somewhat better. I was committed to a poetry of thinking — not of thought but of thinking.” The poet, he wrote in his 1972 essay “Modernism and Postmodernism,” was “a man up on his feet talking.”

what it means to be avant-garde [excerpt]

David Antin, 19322016

            and i was thinking about this while i was flying
 toward iowa and thinking about how everyone was going to be
trying to locate the avant-garde      and about how almost
 everyone was going to agree that it would involve either
shocking or making it new      and and that i was supposed to be
 talking about this too      and i realized i was going to be
  confused      because practically every role classically

Read rest of excerpt


Dailies 10/18/16: the aftermath of a hurricane, a gift from an ex-lover, & a poem in memory of the poet Bill Berkson



After the Hurricane – Ishion Hutchinson  

After the hurricane walks a silence, deranged, white as the white helmets
of government surveyors looking into roofless

shacks, accessing stunned fowls, noting inquiries
into the logic of feathers, reversed, like gullies still retching; they scribble facts

Read rest of poem 


The Gift- Jennifer Givhan


He’s building me a tiny birdcage

of wire twisted


from the bed we no longer

share I watch him working

Read rest of poem 


On Strings of Blue – Cedar Sigo

for Bill Berkson

Was it tonight’s
remark or his
exquisite song-book
on stage?

Read rest of poem 


the old literary great who eats his or her heart out because the Swedish Academy has never called….


At times I have even thought the [Nobel]prize has had a perverse influence. The mere thought that there are writers who actually write towards it, fashioning their work, and their networking, in the hope of one day wearing the laurels, is genuinely disturbing. And everyone is aware of course of that sad figure, the literary great who in older age eats his or her heart out because, on top of all the other accolades, the Swedish Academy has never called. They would be better off if the prize did not exist. As for the journalists, one might say that the more they are interested in the prize, the less they are interested in literature.

Bob Dylan: The Music Travels, the Poetry Stays Home – Tim Parks – New York Review of Books – October 16, 2016

Blog at

Up ↑