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

“Because in times like these/ to have you listen at all, it's necessary/ to talk about trees." -Adrienne Rich, "What Kind of Times Are These"

Dailies 3/22/17: spiderwebs, aging, fleeing Chairman Mao, & archival footage of a necessary outburst



Albert Goldbarth – Forces

It’s different for the spiderweb:
the only architecture
in a five-block radius not
undone by yesterday’s tornado.

Read rest of poem + one other by Goldbarth 


Wendell Berry – VII.

What a wonder I was
when I was young, as I learn
by the stern privilege
of being old: how regardlessly

Read rest of poem 



Anne Cecelia Holmes – Archival Footage of a Necessary Outburst

It’s hard to know what lives
in my hands when I’m not paying
attention to who I claim to be.
I never said I wanted any of your
swagger because I don’t. You have

Read rest of poem


Chen Chen – First Light

I like to say we left at first light
with Chairman Mao himself chasing us in a police car,
my father fighting him off with firecrackers,
even though Mao was already over a decade

Read rest of poem 


the new national Poetry Coalition & 30 Portraits of Poets


because we come from everything: Poetry & Migration

“In November 2015, over twenty nonprofit poetry organizations joined forces to form a national Poetry Coalition working together to promote the value poets bring to our culture and the important contribution poetry makes in the lives of people of all ages and backgrounds.

“In March 2017, the Poetry Coalition will launch its inaugural effort, Because We Come from Everything: Poetry & Migration. For this collaborative effort, each organization in the Poetry Coalition will bring its unique mission to the task of presenting programs and projects on the theme of migration. Here’s a look at what will be taking place across the country in March:

Read more  

Langston Hughes On The Stoop
American poet and writer Langston Hughes (1902 – 1967) poses, his jacket over his shoulder, on the steps in front of his house in Harlem, New York, New York, June 1958. (Photo by Robert W. Kelley/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

Also, in honor of yesterday’s World Poetry Day, Time put out:

‘To Praise a Poet’: 30 Portraits of Poets From the LIFE Archives – Lily Rothman, Liz Ronk – Time – 3/21/17

“…though the magazine only occasionally ran actual poetry, usually in the course of news about poets and the poetry business — readers came face to face with some of the modern world’s most well-regarded poets. In one such instance, for a story about Robert Frost, the magazine quoted the poet Paul Engle’s statement that the best way to ‘praise a poet’ was to write a poem. LIFE, however, was better known for photography than for poetry, and so the magazine gave credit in its own way to the men and women who crafted the century’s best-loved verses.”

mushrooms opon a spot


(poetry diary  213-3/23/17) I have been eating a lot of mushrooms lately.  Esp. in the good soups that I get from the local places near my workplace. I wish I had more interesting things to write about in this poetry diary today but I do not. So I’m posting “The Mushroom is the Elf of Plants.”

Note: I’ll need to find my hard copy of Emily Dickinson poems to find out whether “opon” is a typo or what Dickinson intended to write….Perhaps it is an archaic spelling (The Scrabble Dictionary seems to accept it, at least….) 

Anyway. Here, Mushroom and Grammar Lovers, see here:

The Mushroom is the Elf of Plants – (1350)
Emily Dickinson
The Mushroom is the Elf of Plants –
At Evening, it is not
At Morning, in a Truffled Hut
It stop opon a Spot

Dailies 1/21/17: realizing we’re all going to die, saying goodbye to a friend, exile & Fort Dada



Billy Collins – The Order of the Day

A morning after a week of rain
and the sun shot down through the branches
into the tall, bare windows.

Read rest of poem 



Danielle Hansen – Saying Goodbye to a Friend

Not needing a fire but starting one
because we already had the wood.
The smoke becoming women,
then a deep fog with men disappearing
into the ground.

Read rest of poem



Mai Der Vang – Dear Exile,

Never step back    Never a last
Scent of plumeria

When my parents left
You knew it was for good

Read rest of poem 


Jaya Savige – Fort Dada


Once off the ship from sector blah blah
she checks into a spa in Baden Baden,
wet air spiced with a pile of old Who’s Whos
and warm custardy wafts of ylang ylang.

Read rest of poem 


“The cruel majority order the poor to stay poor./ They order the sun to shine only on weekdays.”


(poetry diary  212-3/22/17) Feeling overwhelmed as usual w/life-stuff and current- world-news-stuff. Did a keyword search for “overwhelmed” at The Poetry Foundation website and came up with this, which can be use to speak to the current-world-news-stuff, though it was 1st copyrighted in 1991. 

A Poem for the Cruel Majority
Jerome Rothenberg
The cruel majority emerges!
Hail to the cruel majority!
They will punish the poor for being poor.
They will punish the dead for having died.
Nothing can make the dark turn into light
for the cruel majority.
Nothing can make them feel hunger or terror.

Happy World Poetry Day!


 Read more about the day, created by UNESCO, here. 

If you live in the U.K. you can buy  coffee w/a poem. Read more here. 

And if you’re feeling political and feisty, read:

Why poetry is the perfect weapon to fight Donald Trump – Nick Laird – The Guardian – 2/17/17

“To read poetry, to return to a space for second thoughts, for complexity, for empathy, for words that are not defensive or aggressive or divisive or belittling, renews a faith in language and stillness, and a courage in the possibilities of protest, of ‘speaking truth to power’. Poetry is always a form of political intervention, since it creates a reader who is interested in other people, in relations between experience and truth.”


19 things that rhyme with Trump to help inspire you this World Poetry Day – March 21, 2017 – The Irish News

or just read some cool poems, like this one by Czeslaw Milosz:

A Song on the End of the World
Czeslaw Milosz
Translated by Anthony Milosz
On the day the world ends
A bee circles a clover,
A fisherman mends a glimmering net.
Happy porpoises jump in the sea,
By the rainspout young sparrows are playing
And the snake is gold-skinned as it should always be.



Dailies 3/20/17: a poem for the 1st day of Spring. Plus English Muffins, foxes, & several immigration stories woven together



Dave Bonta – 20 March

the outermost spruce trees
rock in the wind
a grouse feather floats down

Read rest of poem 


Kim Dower – Room Service English Muffins

If you’ve ever had one you know what I’m saying:
soggy with steam, too much butter soaking into the crevices.
At first you’re mad—you told them butter on the side
but then you’re grateful to have it. Day after day

Read rest of poem 


Juan Felipe Herrera – María de la Luz Knows How to Walk

she ambles toward El Norte she remembers as she steps
wasps & spiders webbed in between the corn in Fowler
her mamá Concha’s story the fire she fanned to clear
the path through the thick burned stalks all this

Read rest of poem 


Cynthia Zarin – Meltwater

A gang of foxes on the wet road, fur
gaggle, the gutter a Ganges, gravel
rutting the glacier’s slur and cant. Old proof,
the past can’t solve itself, endlessly drawing

Read rest of poem + 1 more by Zarin




“if one thinks a poem is coming on…you do make a retreat, a withdrawal into some kind of silence that cuts out everything around you.”



“I don’t know how many writers are willing to confess to their private preparatory rituals before they get down to putting something on paper. But I imagine that all artists and all writers in that moment before they begin their working day or working night have that area between beginning and preparation, and however brief it is, there is something about it votive and humble and in a sense ritualistic. Individual writers have different postures, different stances, even different physical attitudes as they stand or sit over their blank paper, and in a sense, without doing it, they are crossing themselves; I mean, it’s like the habit of Catholics going into water: you cross yourself before you go in. Any serious attempt to try to do something worthwhile is ritualistic. I haven’t noticed what my own devices are. But I do know that if one thinks a poem is coming on—in spite of the noise of the typewriter, or the traffic outside the window, or whatever—you do make a retreat, a withdrawal into some kind of silence that cuts out everything around you. What you’re taking on is really not a renewal of your identity but actually a renewal of your anonymity, so that what’s in front of you becomes more important than what you are. Equally—and it may be a little pretentious-sounding to say it—sometimes if I feel that I have done good work I do pray, I do say thanks. It isn’t often, of course. I don’t do it every day. I’m not a monk, but if something does happen I say thanks because I feel that it is really a piece of luck, a kind of fleeting grace that has happened to one. Between the beginning and the ending and the actual composition that goes on, there is a kind of trance that you hope to enter where every aspect of your intellect is functioning simultaneously for the progress of the composition. But there is no way you can induce that trance.”

From Derek Walcott, The Art of Poetry No. 37 – Interviewed by Edward Hirsch – The Paris Review – Issue 101, Winter 1986

happy 1st day of Spring

spring again
Jesús Papoleto Melendez
spring came /
the same way winter left
& summer will come
& summer will leave;        slowly
(poetry diary  211-3/20/17)

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