Dailies 4/21/18


Shane McCrae – The Tree of Knowledge

The hastily assembled angel saw
One thing was like another thing and that
Thing like another everything     depend-
ed on     how high it was     the place you saw
Read rest of poem 


Abe Louise Young  – Breakup

I finally
the essence
of her fury:
she’d barely

Read rest of poem 


Daniel Borzutzky – Lake Michigan, Scene 11

15 men around a van from the Department of Streets and Sanitation

The men push from the side and back

The van is rocking up and down

It is starting to tip

Read rest of poem 

~TRIBRACH Poetry Diary~

Trying to get back to a regular posting schedule but life is still a tad overwhelming. We have to pack up the whole lower level of our house by Tuesday, due to construction. At the same time I’m recovering from pneumonia. And my kid has another fever.. And three of my husband’s older family members are in the hospital at the same time.  I feel a bit punch-drunk. Sometimes Ashbery is good to read at times like this, as his poems makes so little sense (like my life right now) but sound beautiful nonetheless.

John Ashbery – Bells II

For just as a misunderstanding germinates
in a clear sky, climbing like a comma
from rack to misunderstood rack of worried clouds,
now difficult, now brusque, foregrounded, amoral,
Read rest of poem 


American Life in Poetry: Column 682


Family life can shove one up against another, and here’s a poem by Jeffrey Harrison that gets to that. It was originally published in Five Points, one of our most respected literary journals. Harrison’s most recent book is Into Daylight(Tupelo Press), and he makes his home in Massachusetts.

How It Worked

It was hard to sit there with my father,
watching one of my sister’s girls playing
a set of tennis against my son or daughter
because he’d forget himself and with a groan
of disappointment or a grunt
of sympathetic exertion make it clear
that he was rooting for my sister’s child
and against mine. There was no use
calling him on it, because he’d deny it
and get angry. So I would get angry
but try not to show it, until I couldn’t
stand it any longer and would get up
and walk away. That was how it worked
between us, the unspoken building up
like thunderheads above the tennis court,
where the kids played on, not caring who won
and hardly noticing the sky had darkened.

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. Poem copyright ©2017 by Jeffrey Harrison, “How It Worked,” from Five Points, (Vol. 18, no. 2, 2017). Poem reprinted by permission of Jeffrey Harrison and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2018 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.

someone else is now wearing Sylvia Plath’s skirt

Who Bought Sylvia Plath’s Stuff? – Kate Bolick – New York Times – 4/21/18

“For the many feminist critics who have excoriated Ted Hughes’s treatment of his first wife, Sylvia Plath, there was poetic justice of a sort in the auction of the poets’ belongings by their daughter, Frieda Hughes, at Bonhams in London in March. Ms. Plath’s lots, which included clothes, jewelry and childhood drawings, outsold Mr. Hughes’s mostly literary remnants (which is to say, books) twice over and then some, earning $551,862.”

(apparently Plath’s skirt is currently owned by A.N. Devers) 

Last Words

Sylvia Plath 

I do not want a plain box, I want a sarcophagus
With tigery stripes, and a face on it
Round as the moon, to stare up.
I want to be looking at them when they come

Read rest of poem 

Dailies 4/19/18

~TRIBRACH Poetry Diary ~ 

Out of work for a couple of weeks, dealing with stupid lung problems. Thinking of this Hayden Carruth poem, which my doctor-writer friend Anna Reisman cites in her essay “A Syllabus For Empathy — Or Why Health Care Workers Should Read Poetry” as one that “can help health professionals better understand what it might be like to live with a disease….”  My husband, Bill Weir, also had a piece on “disease songs” a few years back that I often think of when in the recovery part of an illness too. People don’t usually feel too much like writing poetry or songs (or blogging–sorry for the lag) while sick, but apparently illnesses can make for good material.

Hayden Carruth – Notes on Emphysema

1. Smudgie, my beautiful white cat, lies curled on the bed beside me. She doesn’t
know she’s breathing.

2. At the beginning of the instant of oxygen deprivation, as when one exhales as
far as one strenuously can and the lungs ache, a diminutive twitch and tingle are
felt in the little finger of each hand, as if it were a mild electric shock. The brain
sends out its small distress signal. You had better pay attention.

Read rest of poem 

Daily Quote:



Chen Chen – I Invite My Parents to a Dinner Party

In the invitation, I tell them for the seventeenth time 
(the fourth in writing), that I am gay. 

In the invitation, I include a picture of my boyfriend 
& write, You’ve met him two times. But this time, 

you will ask him things other than can you pass the
whatever. You will ask him 
Read rest of poem 


Robin Robertson – 1951 (excerpt)

Summer was closing, and he moved through the last of it,
finding a park with fairground music
coming from somewhere behind the trees.
Walking round, he understood that the funfair

Read rest of poem 


Sarah Green – Pastels

I don’t know this morning, with its glissandos
at rest in sheet music of small children,

Read rest of poem 



“You don’t write for us people. You just for for your people”

Former U.S. poet laureate Juan Felipe Herrera wants poetry to be joyous – Steve Saldivar – Los Angeles Times – 4/13/18

“I met so many people. So many audiences in so many different places. And I listened to so many stories.” He met undocumented students, young people who were rattled by the 2016 presidential election, and refugees from different parts of the world. But there’s one experience Herrera can’t forget. One white high school student who, during a reading, was critical of Herrera’s poetry.
“You don’t write for us people. You just for for your people,” Herrera recalls the student saying. “At the core, he was right.”
The experience of being U.S. poet laureate made him a better listener. It also left him exasperated.
“I was very tired. I was very angry when I finally finished those two years. I just felt so much pain from so many people.”

tomorrow I leave to El Paso, Texas

Juan Felipe Herrera

see my brother-in-law with a styled shirt

in spite of his cancer below 

then a small dinner in the evening the next day

no one knows except I may be on the road
Read rest of poem 

Is it possible to translate poetry from one language into another without losing meaning?

Can Poetry Be Translated? – Emma Bowman – NPR – 4/15/18

“Is it possible to translate poetry from one language into another without losing meaning?

“To paraphrase Robert Frost — not really. ‘Poetry is what gets lost in translation,’ the American poet is often quoted as saying. In other words, the meaning the reader extracts from a poem can never be a replica of the writer’s intent.”

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