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 12/6/16: princes, deaf cousins, Omagh, and love

200-9.gif(sign language for “dinosaur”)


Hegemony – Paul Hostovsky 

Three of my cousins are deaf.
But I have lots of cousins,
so the deaf ones
were always in the minority
at family gatherings

Read rest of poem 


Archive – Kimberly Johnson

Inside every prince there is

a tower just as inside every

Read rest of poem 


Love Poem – Susan Wheeler

My mother wouldn’t stand up
to wave. My father made certain
the door locked behind me.

Read rest of poem 


Omagh – Frank Ormsby

‘You’ll land me in Omagh,’
my mother groans,
at her wit’s end.
Omagh is where the birdies are.

Read rest of poem 


“How Christian Wiman made poetry matter”


Jason Guriel of Slate has a nicely written, thought-provoking review of Christian Wiman’s new book + his term as editor of Poetry Magazine.  I found it especially interesting after posting the non-traditional Mel Nichols “I Google Myself” poem this morning, as the poem was first published in Poetry in 2009, during Wiman’s term.

“In 2003, [Wiman] assumed the helm of Poetry. The magazine had recently received a historic donation—approximately $200 million from the heiress to the Eli Lilly pharmaceutical fortune. Other poets, with lectern-long CVs, must’ve resented Wiman his incredible opportunity. But the outsider turned out to be the perfect candidate to remake the magazine and expand its audience. Because he respected poetry, he assumed that it could stand up to scrutiny, that it could benefit from some bloodletting. He greenlit young reviewers who weren’t afraid to let the air out of reputations they found inflated, and he commissioned prose from marquee names like Christopher Hitchens and Clive James, who possessed an appeal beyond the poetry world. The critical prose in the magazine’s back pages was filed to a point, trendy jargon track-changed away. One April—that’s National Poetry Month to the initiated—Wiman tacked the headline ‘National Defibrillation Month’ to the cover. Under his watch, circulation tripled from 10,000 to 30,000. It was as if Grub Street had grabbed the little mag by the scruff.”

Read more: Clarity, Faith, a Dash of Dyspepsia: How Christian Wiman made poetry matter. –  Jason Guriel – Slate 

a good poem for December, + “I Google Myself”

(poetry diary 109) I was trolling the Poetry Foundation website, looking for nice poems about December, such as this one…
December Notes – Nancy McCleery
The backyard is one white sheet
Where we read in the bird tracks
The songs we hear. Delicate
Sparrow, heavier cardinal,


…when “I Google Myself,” a parody of “I Touch Myself” by the Divinyls, popped up at the side of the page as part of the Foundation’s “Browse Poems” bar.

It was kind of amusing to find it in a place like the venerable Poetry Magazine….But then again, there are probably very few poets out there who don’t regularly Google themselves, (I believe that’s how many of the poets who come across this site find it….)🙂  so perhaps it’s appropriate.

I Google Myself
Mel Nichols 
I Google myself
I want you to love me
When I feel down
I want you to Google me
I search myself
I want you to find me
I Google myself
I want you to remind me

Dailies 12/5/16: house dresses, sneaky deer, New Jersey, & feeling purposeful




Figure of the Buck – Julie Funderburk 

Think of a buck
within city limits, surrounded by houses,
blocked in by commuter roads.

Read rest of poem 


New Jersey – Craig Morgan Teicher

I was afraid the past would catch up with me,
would find this new house too like the scarred
old childhood home. But it hasn’t yet. A tree
casts soft and gentle shade over our green yard.

Read rest of poem 


Think and Do – Ron Padgett

I always have to be doing something, accomplishing some-
thing, fixing something, going somewhere, feeling purposeful,

Read rest of poem 


Your Mother Wears a House Dress – Joseph O. Legaspi 


If your house
is a dress
it’ll fit like
Los Angeles
red sun

Read rest of poem 


film noir version of Frost poem

“…by Josh Contor, an undergraduate student at Brigham Young University.” Found at “Moving Poems: the best video poems on the web”

“I think I know enough of hate….”

(poetry diary 108) There’s freezing rain outside and I’m stuck at home fighting a stomach bug and reading depressing news articles about current events.  Robert Frost’s “Fire and Ice” poem seems appropriate today.

It’s interesting to hear him read it (click video above) I’ve always read the end of it differently, pausing at the end of each line for emphasis–but when the end lines are read quickly together in the way Frost reads them here, the poem seems angrier, more disgusted.  Also appropriate for today.


Dailies 12/4/16: candles, celeriac, smoke, & a snap quiz in body language



A Snap Quiz in Body Language – David Wagoner 

We can’t hear what they’re saying, but that man
is holding that woman in his arms. Your assignment
is to deduce their thoughts from what they do.



Smoke – Caitriona O’Reilly 


It was eight hundred miles from Xi’an to Beijing
**but from the windows of the train we could see nothing,
***the landscape (was it temples? was it mountains?)
****absorbed by a blotter of thick brown smoke.




Celeriac – Stephen Massimilla 

on the outside,
the torn, blood-draggled glove
of a poor ogre’s heart,
the most pointlessly
neglected vegetable.



The Candle Indoors – Gerard Manley Hopkins

Some candle clear burns somewhere I come by.
I muse at how its being puts blissful back


American Life in Poetry: Column 610



I suppose there have been other poems about a baby’s first look at and into the world, but they couldn’t be more touching than this, by Faith Shearin, who lives in West Virginia, and whose most recent book is Orpheus, Turning, from The Broadkill River Press.


Go north a dozen years
on a road overgrown with vines
to find the days after you were born.
Flowers remembered their colors and trees
were frothy and the hospital was

behind us now, its brick indifference
forgotten by our car mirrors. You were
revealed to me: tiny, delicate,
your head smelling of some other world.
Turn right after the circular room

where I kept my books and right again
past the crib where you did not sleep
and you will find the window where
I held you that June morning
when you opened your eyes. They were

blue, tentative, not the deep chocolate
they would later become. You were gazing
into the world: at our walls,
my red cup, my sleepless hair and though
I’m told you could not focus, and you

no longer remember, we were seeing
one another after seasons of darkness.

We do not accept unsolicited submissions. American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2015 by Faith Shearin, “Sight,” from Orpheus, Turning, (The Broadkill River Press, 2015). Poem reprinted by permission of Faith Shearin and the publisher. Introduction copyright ©2016 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.


R.I.P. James Reiss


(poetry diary 107) Saddened this morning to hear of the death of one of my former professors, the poet Jim Reiss, who passed away on December 2.  I’ll post the obituary here when it comes out. Sending good thoughts out to his family.

My Daughters in New York

James Reiss

What streets, what taxis transport them
over bridges & speed bumps-my daughters swift

in pursuit of union? What suitors amuse them, what mazes
of avenues tilt & confuse them as pleasure, that pinball

Read rest of poem 

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