Dailies 4/22/17 (Earth Day)- an aubade, a tornado, a fool’s song, & a prayer in spring



Andrea Cohen – Tornado 

Woman comforting an injured
dog, the caption the morning

after the tornado says, but
if you click for the bigger

Read rest of poem 


Christopher Locke – Aubade 

It was the last good thing we heard: a bus
station bird more dismal than some errant
mudsplash dried between the arches. But
its voice bathed the concrete in iight, sang

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Robert Frost – A Prayer in Spring

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers today;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

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William Carlos Williams – The Fool’s Song

I tried to put a bird in a cage.
O fool that I am!
For the bird was Truth.
Sing merrily, Truth: I tried to put
Truth in a cage!

Read rest of poem 

“There’s going to be a major shift in our poetry”


American Poets, Refusing to Go Gentle, Rage Against the Right – Alexandra Alter – New York Times – 4/21/17

“…Poets, scholars and publishers say the flood of protest poems after the 2016 election stands apart from earlier eras in both its quantity and intensity and its stylistic and thematic diversity. Some see the emerging body of brash political poetry as a stark departure from the more introspective, personal style that characterized so much of 20th-century American poetry.

“’There’s going to be a major shift in our poetry,’ said Alice Quinn, the executive director of the Poetry Society of America. ‘The poems that I have been reading, which are freshly minted, most of them, have a powerful sense of urgency and reckoning and responsibility.’”

Dailies 4/21/17: streets, a roadtrip, beautiful thinking, & Holy Wars




Natalie Safir – Roadtrip West

A bright thought flies across my afternoon
fighting to stay aloft as my finger, on an old roadmap

traces a trip across the desert decades ago,
driving west in the early summer of our marriage.

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Ned Balbo – Holy Wars for Us

No Holy Wars far them; the most the small
Can ever give us is a nuisance brawl.

— Robert Frost, “No Holy Wars for Them”

Frost’s world is gone, if it was ever here.
States strong enough to do good bring, instead,
more wrong than he imagined. Every year,
they off er threats designed to silence dread

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Angie Estes – Beautiful Thinking

                           Each morning, before the sun rises
over the bay of Villefranche-sur-Mer
———————-on the Côte d’Azur, cruise ships drop anchor

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Michael O’Brien – Streets



Moving fast, the eye
works it out that
they’re a couple, he
reaches out to
touch her cheek, no,
to take her cellphone.

Read rest of poem 


looking through Emily Dickinson’s windows….


View from Emily Dickinson’s bedroom window 

An Hour Renting Emily Dickinson’s Bedroom Where She Wrote Her Entire Life’s Work – Anya Jaremko-Greenwold – Jezebel – 4/19/17

“All four windows look onto Main Street, once and still now bustling with life. Dickinson observed that remotely. The view has changed a bit since she last gazed out; I noticed rows of parking meters, a UPS truck, a parade of school buses, and an American flag curling in the wind. I considered what Dickinson would think of such things. What of climate change? Of Twitter? Of Donald Trump?

“There was also a dead ladybug on Dickinson’s windowsill when I was there. It was funny to see—a personification of femininity and good luck—almost as though the Museum staff had placed it. Dickinson would have written a verse about the bug, so often noting birds, bees, and snakes in her work. In one poem, she refers to a web-spinning spider as an unemployed artist, a ‘neglected son of genius.'”

Also interesting: Emily Dickinson and the Poetics of Glass – Xiao Situ – Material Matters – 2012

“Due to the uneven surfaces of the panes, the landscapes Dickinson saw through her windows did not always seamlessly cohere; subtle variations among the glass caused the framed views to sometimes appear more like glinting, shifting mosaics than stable, unified pictures, depending on where she was situated in the room and how far away she stood or sat from the windows.  These subtle distortions may have influenced how Dickinson saw and what she composed: the ‘angles of landscape,’ ‘slants of light,’ ‘ribbons’ of sunset or sunrise colors that so often appear in her poetry may have had a more material basis than previously thought.”

Dailies 4/20: silkworms, a pomegranate & a waltz, fishing w/one’s dad, & why don’t you ask shop clerks “How’s your day?” when they ask you the same?



Kevin Pilkington – Pomegranate

A woman walks by the bench I’m sitting on
with her dog that looks part Lab, part Buick,
stops and asks if I would like to dance.
I smile, tell her of course I do. We decide
on a waltz that she begins to hum.

Read rest of poem 



Joan Colby – Silk Poem II

Silkworms depend on mulberry leaves
The way you and I depend on trust.
Their weight increases ten thousand fold
Since hatching. Fattened as we become

Read rest of poem 


Lowell Jaeger – Praise Be

Praise be to the not-nearly-a-girl anymore
clerking at our local grocery outlet
since junior high. Single mom, moved up
after a decade of customer service

Read rest of poem 


Jacques J. Rancourt – Splake

My father casts a line, three colors deep,
and trolls. It’s cold. I zip my coat
up to my chin, think how I could be asleep
but here we are, a part of the fact.

Read rest of poem 



“Lowell’s and Bishop’s best poems grow out of the ordinariness of suffering, not out of its extraordinariness.”


Turning Pain Into Art: How the poets Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell became each other’s tragic muses – Meghan O’Rourke – The Atlantic – 5/17

“In the decades since the poets died, Lowell’s star has fallen while Bishop’s has risen. You might think that this is odd—that in an era of social media and seemingly endless self-disclosure, Lowell’s bold confessions would feel more modern than Bishop’s almost prim restraint. But Bishop is the more original poet, and nearly 60 years after Life Studies, her challenging irony, her plainspoken tone, and her resigned clarity sound as fresh as ever. By contrast, Lowell’s poems can seem overworked, antiquated in their metaphor making. ‘I liked your New Yorker fish poem,’ Lowell told Bishop in a revealing early exchange. ‘I am a fisherman myself, but all my fish become symbols, alas!’ This tendency to inflate would haunt his work to the end.”


Rain, midnight rain, nothing but the wild rain


(poetry diary 242-4/20/17) It’s raining today and I’m feeling down. But then I read this poem about feeling down when it’s raining and it was so depressing that it made me giggle.
Edward Thomas 
Rain, midnight rain, nothing but the wild rain
On this bleak hut, and solitude, and me
Remembering again that I shall die

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