Dailies 6/24: Mormon missionaries, death, summer, beauty

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Lola Haskins – Serenade

Soon your small yellow leaves
will become meteors
falling through the dark as

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K.A. Hays – Petition

Here floats the mind on summer’s dock.
The knees loose up, hands dither off,
the eyes have never heard of clocks.

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Jill McDonough – Sealing Woodrow

My parents visit me in Salt Lake City
and we go let the Mormons tell us who
we are, or who we’ve been. Museum
of names of the dead they keep: the Granite

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Elinor Wylie – Beauty

Say not of Beauty she is good,
Or aught but beautiful,

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American Life in Poetry: Column 639

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BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

One of my favorite poems is Louise Bogan’s “The Crossed Apple” which mentions two species, Meadow Milk and Sweet Burning, and since reading it many years ago I have ma de notes of the names of apples, a poet’s delight. In this touching poem by Cathryn Essinger, who lives in Ohio, I’ve come upon yet another for my collection. Her most recent book is What I Know About Innocence from Main Street Rag press.

Summer Apples

I planted an apple tree in memory
of my mother, who is not gone,

but whose memory has become
so transparent that she remembers

slicing apples with her grandmother
(yellow apples; blue bowl) better than

the fruit that I hand her today. Still,
she polishes the surface with her thumb,

holds it to the light and says with no
hesitation, Oh, Yellow Transparent . . .

they’re so fragile, you can almost see
to the core. She no longer remembers how

to roll the crust, sweeten the sauce, but
her desire is clear—it is pie that she wants.

And so, I slice as close as I dare to the core—
to that little cathedral to memory—where

the seeds remember everything they need
to know to become yellow and transparent.


We do not accept unsolicited submissions. American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Introduction copyright © 2017 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

Dailies 6/23/17: Vegas, Vermont, a poem for the parents of adolescents, & hard work

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Christopher Kempf – What Happens in Vegas

is almost invisible in the glitter. City
from the sky like a rhinestone. Or see,
***rather, what once

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Marylen Grigas – Habitats

You can take Vermont,
the edge of the woods in tears
even with spring’s sky-blue gown

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Rachel Zucker – Hours Days Years Unmoor Their Orbits

tonight I’m cleaning baby portobellos
for you, my young activist

wiping the dirty tops with a damp cloth
as carefully as I used to rinse raspberries

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John Stupp – Hard Work

There were thousands
of production workers at Ford
and some rough guys in the mix
who fought in
World War II

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The net domestic product of poetry will always be zero

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At the Press Enterprise, Rattle editor Tim Green has an editorial titled No one’s getting rich, so how is poetry still thriving in America?

“Poems are little empathy machines, carving meaning out of the chaos of life, crafting the moments that matter, and mapping the realms of the imagination. This engagement and interrogation of the world through poetry has an inherent, participatory value, even if no one reads the poem but the author, and that value is self-evident. More poetry always creates more poets, who create more poetry — too much to read!—and the cycle continues.

“On a practical level, this also means there can never be enough consumers to sustain a poetry economy. Every buyer is also a seller. As the audience of readers grows, so does the body of writers, in lock-step equilibrium. The net domestic product of poetry will always be zero.”

Dailies 6/22/17: how suffering takes place while dad smears on The BBQ sauce. + A summer night, a valley view, & what happens when your life shrinks to the size of a midge.

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Candice Reffe– My Life Shrinks to the Size of a Midge

The one that flew into my mouth, its wet wings banging
my throat cage, the bloated scent of sea, low decibel
feeling something’s coming inexorable as a red
dress, ruched storm cloud contracting as my
face contracts my face a motor boat idling

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Mark Cox – Lemon Icing

(After Auden) 

About suffering they were never wrong.
How it takes place while dad smears on
The BBQ sauce, while mother adjusts
A cafe-style umbrella. Here, the boy rests

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Irene Blair Honeycut – Blessing

May time grant you the lasting memory of the summer night
********on Jonas Ridge when we were walking the dogs, late—

the white rail fence, our guide.

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Kathleen Ossip – A Valley View

To my left,
you, in the driver’s seat.
Chlorophyll, to my right,

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2 poetry books that r selling nicely

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(Poetry Diary 268 – 6/22/17) I talked w Colleen, /the v. cool person in charge of ordering books for Atticus Bookstore/Cafe (one of my favorite independent New Haven bookstores due to its books, cards, & soup) yesterday.  I’m geekily fascinated in the topic of what poetry books sell and why….She reported that sales of poetry books have gone up this year. 🙂 Two that are selling well (probably partly because both got good NY Times reviews, see the following links–) are Ocean Vuong’s Night Sky with Exit Wounds and Molly McCully Brown’s The Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded.  Here’s a poem from each:

 

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Ocean Vuong – On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous
i
Tell me it was for the hunger
& nothing less. For hunger is to give
the body what it knows

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From Another Dormitory

Molly McCully Brown

I. Where You Are (vii)

Everything begins and ends here.
Still, the girls are sleeping in the narrow bunks.
Still, in their sleep, they call out.

Read rest of poem  at The Adroit Journal

Also at The Adroit Journal, read an interview with Brown

 

 

Re: Edna St. Vincent Millay: “There was no other voice like hers in America. It was the sound of the ax on fresh wood.”

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“Readers who explore this new edition will come away with a resonant understanding of why, as Peppe notes in her introduction, ‘Millay’s work has had extraordinary staying power with the general reader, despite the fluctuating literary and cultural tastes of the last century.’ Millay’s best poems combine story and song, two of the greatest human pleasures, in ways that refuse to be forgotten. Her language reminds us of poetry’s essence as an art form that ultimately lives its fullest life as an echo in our inner-ears, a realm beyond classrooms, scholars, and critics. Recalling the first time he saw the young Millay recite her poems in a Manhattan literary salon, Louis Untermeyer said: ‘There was no other voice like hers in America. It was the sound of the ax on fresh wood.’ In the pages of this new Selected Poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay, we can still hear the wood splitting.”

A Lovely Light: Selected Poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay – Caitlin Doyle – Literary Matters

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One poem mentioned in the review is “Spring,” which “along with Jackson’s notes about the piece, complicates any overly simplistic narratives about Millay as an old-fashioned versifier unwilling or unable to keep pace with her more future-minded contemporaries.”
Spring
Edna St. Vincent Millay 
To what purpose, April, do you return again?
Beauty is not enough.
You can no longer quiet me with the redness
Of little leaves opening stickily.

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