Dailies 8/16/17: Shame on you for dating a museum! Dreams assembling like protesters. & NY fire escapes & fragments of a marriage & the beautiful American word, Sure.


Daily quote:

“When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.”

-John F. Kennedy


Charles Bukowski – all that

the only things I remember about
New York City
in the summer
are the fire escapes

Read rest of poem 



Simone Muench & Dean Rader  – The beautiful American word, Sure

The beautiful American word, Sure,
as ubiquitous as barbeques and aneurisms.
Ensure; assure; cocksure; “fo’ sho.”
It drifts through diners, coffee shops, a spawned

Read rest of poem 


Amy King – Ancient Sunlight

Shame on you for dating a museum:
Everything is dead there and nothing is alive.
Not everyone who lives to be old embraces
the publicity of it all. I mean, you get up and folks

Read rest of poem 


Grace Schulman – Fragments of a Marriage

Fifty-seven years. Your low-rise sports car.
Your plaid necktie slung over a tweed shoulder.
Your visor cap, your pipe, a meerschaum,

Read rest of poem 


Poetry Diary: The images of protesters in the poem below caught me–there’s an intriguing, jarring contrast here between the violent images and the subject….

David Solway – The Dreams

They assemble in throngs demanding to be heard
like demonstrators waving placards,
sometimes peaceful, usually violent,
shouting slogans into the wind
or hurling rocks through the windows of embassies.

Read more @ The New Criterion



“The greatest poems written about political issues often contain within them a central ambiguity that competes with genuine certainty and rage.”

Matthew Zapruder on why “Political poems have a tendency to turn into lyricized essays, or editorials, or sermons, or rants.”

“This is partially because the language of politics is so often designed to do the opposite of what poems do: the poet has to remain vigilant not to slip into euphemism, generalization, obscuring abstraction. And it is also because the subject matter is so important to the poet, which can cause the poet to begin to prioritize tasks better left to prose: informing, convincing, lecturing, describing, reporting. When that happens, the poems, however laudable in their intentions, can stop feeling like poems, and become more like, at best, poetic prose, and at worst, decorative, unnecessary lyricizing.”

WHAT POETRY CAN TEACH US ABOUT POWER – Matthew Zapruder – Literary Hub – August 16, 2017

Zapruder talks about Amiri Baraka’s  “Somebody Blew Up America” and Audre Lorde’s “Power.”

Audre Lorde – Power

The difference between poetry and rhetoric
is being ready to kill
instead of your children.

Dailies 8/15/17: birds, survivors, anarchy, aging, the afterlife






David Budbill – The Sound of Summer


There are other sounds only in the summer, too.
The hummingbirds moving from
feeder to feeder on the porch, chickadee’s two-note

Read rest of poem 



Abby Minor – American Quartet


Warren wants us to be anarchists with him in preparation for apocalyptic shortages of quinces and herbal medicines I want to be a rapper

Read rest of poem 




Natalie Eilbert – Afterlife

There is no life after death. Why
should there be. What on

earth would have us believe this.
Heaven is not the American

Read rest of poem 



Frank Bidart – Old and Young 

If you have looked at someone in
a mirror
looking at you in the mirror

Read rest of poem 



Found the quote at the top of this post via searching for Joy Harjo quotes. Liked it. Tracked down the source and found it at Split This Rock: Calling poets to a greater role in public life and fostering a national network of socially engaged poets. 

Was psyched to see that the site has an excellent database and search engine,  which is great– as this is a needed site in crazy times.


By Joy Harjo for Audre Lorde

This city is made of stone, of blood, and fish.
There are Chugatch Mountains to the east
and whale and seal to the west.
It hasn’t always been this way, because glaciers
who are ice ghosts create oceans, carve earth
and shape this city here, by the sound.
They swim backwards in time.

Read rest of poem 



“Both poetry and theology for me are about paying attention to the world in a very intentional way….”


“Both poetry and theology for me are about paying attention to the world in a very intentional way, and about admitting a mystery that is bigger than anything that I rationally understand. … I think poetry has always been for me a kind of prayer. So those things feel very linked for me. And, again, poetry does feel like the first — and in some ways best — language I ever had for mystery and for my sense of what exists beyond the world we’re currently living in.”

Molly McCully Brown – Poet Imagines Life Inside A 1910 Institution That Eugenics Built – Terry Gross – NPR – August 14, 2017


Grand Mal Seizure
Molly McCully Brown

There’s however it is you call,
& there’s whatever it is
you’re calling to.

July, I sew
my own dress
from calico & lace.

Read rest of poem 


…there’s thousands of angry young men that are lost/ Sidelined in the economy, a marginal cost

“…last night, in the middle of what was quite possibly the most political Tonight Show episode in as long as two decades, spoken word wasn’t used as a vehicle for jokes. Rather, it was used as it has been for decades by black Americans: to tell stories filled with sorrow, passion, confusion, anger, mourning, and, sometimes, hope.”

 Riz Ahmed’s Powerful Performance Put an Exclamation Point on a Surprisingly Political Tonight Show – Austin Elias-de Jesus – Slate – 8/15/17

Dailies 8/14/17: love, a saint, a mother’s story, a candelabra w/heads, the coach in one’s head that never stops asking

Daily Quote:




Nicole Sealey – In Defense of “Candelabra with Heads”

If you’ve read the “Candelabra with Heads”
that appears in this collection and the one
in The Animal, thank you. The original,
the one included here, is an example, I’m told,

Read rest of poem 



Mikko Harvey – Little Crown

I was tossing a ball up and down while my mother

explained the series of events that lead her to this town.

At one point as a girl she had to wake up each morning

for a year and pretend to be herself. At one point

Read rest of poem


Ron Smith  That Coach in My Head Never Stops Asking
How Much I Want It

This shot that arcs
********toward my goddaughters’ seven-foot basket
means nothing tonight. No, really.

Read rest of poem + 1 more by Ron Smith 


Today’s poem at the Writer’s Almanac is “The Saint” by Charles Simic. The text is not available online but the audio can be found here. 


Poetry Diary

A couple of my friends are in the first stages of adoption–they’ve met their baby and are falling in love.  I haven’t yet found good poems about adoption or foster-parenting, but after searching under the word “Welcome” at Poets.org I found this Paul Laurence Dunbar poem, which to me captures some of the feeling….

Invitation to Love

Paul Laurence Dunbar1872 – 1906

Come when the nights are bright with stars
   Or when the moon is mellow;
Come when the sun his golden bars
   Drops on the hay-field yellow.
Come in the twilight soft and gray,
Come in the night or come in the day,
Come, O love, whene’er you may,
   And you are welcome, welcome.
Read rest of poem 






Until now, publishers did not do Marianne Moore justice

“Until now, publishers did not do [Marianne Moore] justice. The authorized 1967 collection left parts of ‘Observations’ out, as well as obscuring its order. Robin Schulze’s magisterial, scholarly ‘Becoming Marianne Moore’ (2002) gave every version of every poem up to 1924, but nothing else. Grace Schulman’s ample but confusingly edited volume ‘The Poems of Marianne Moore’ (2003) put many poems back in print but sorted them by arbitrary categories (‘World War II and After’), mixed uncollected and unpublished work with the rest, and chose versions based on the editor’s intuition or her friendship with Moore.

“Heather Cass White has set things right. This elegant, big volume, ‘New Collected Poems,’ gives ‘Moore’s poems as they were when she first wrote and published them,’ arranged (with well-explained exceptions) in the order of Moore’s individual books, from ‘Observations’ on: We see what Eliot and Bishop saw.”

Marianne Moore’s Poetry, the Way She Intended It – Stephen Burt – New York Times – August 11, 2017




30 Poetry Collections By Women That Will Keep You Motivated To Resist – E. Ce Miller – Bustle – August 8, 2017

“Poetry has been a part of protest for practically as long as people have: giving voice to marginalized, repressed, threatened, and otherwise silenced voices throughout history. Because while we can’t always be marching in the streets, we can continue to resist injustice, corruption, misogyny, racism, and tyranny by sharing our stories; leaving space for the stories of others; and reading the powerful voices of women who came, saw, and resisted before us.”

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑