Dailies 5/22/18


Donald Revell  – Leontes

Elusive, but only sweetened by
Disuse, souls I’d entered once before
Once again trouble the surfaces of life
With their small noises and single color…

Read rest of poem + one more by Revell


Kai Carlson-Wee – Wolf Heaven 

In the last letter you wrote me, sealed in castor wax,
mailed from somewhere in Hungary I couldn’t
make out—the last page yellowed and signed
in your blood, as you always did then, from the side

Read rest of poem 


Fruit from one vine tangles with another
Making a mess of the intended harvest, yet
the lack of calculation is welcome
Read rest of poem 


The incarcerated poems of Guantánamo

During their incarceration, some of the prisoners have written hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of poems. In 2007 a small selection of twenty-two poems was declassified and published in translation as Poems from Guantánamo: The Detainees Speak. The vast majority of the poems, however, remains under lock in a military facility in Virginia. The reason was reported in a Wall Street Journal front-page article shortly before the publication of the collection, viz. that “poetry presents a special risk, and DOD standards are not to approve the release of any poetry in its original form or language” (Dreazen 2007). Wary of secret messages hidden in the imagery, alliterations, personifications – the entire poetic dimension of language – the military refused to declassify the remaining body of literature. And because of their perceived threat to national security, the poems were translated by linguists with security clearances rather than by professional translators of poetry. Whether silenced or deformed, the Guantánamo poems make visible the degree to which fear of language and the attempt control language continue to be central elements of the war effort. As Weber rightly points out, “The silencing of legal justice goes hand in hand here with the silencing of literary justice.”

Specters of War: Review of Elisabeth Weber’s “Kill Boxes: Facing the Legacy of US-Sponsored Torture, Indefinite Detention, and Drone Warfare” – Anders Engberg-Pedersen – b2o -2/7/18

Re: the poet Stephen King

“’Paranoid: A Chant,’ the only King poem made into a short film, is a first-person narrative by someone suffering from persecutory delusions.”

“Fifty or 100 years from now, it’s likely that his fiction will still be read and imitated. But what of his poems? It’s impossible to predict their fate, but this small subset of his vast bibliography deserves wider readership and critical scrutiny. His poems may not always be ‘beautiful gems’ that ‘speak God’s language,’ but they’re nonetheless testaments to America’s master storyteller discovering his inimitable voice.”

Dailies 5/21/18

 Matthew Thorburn – Your New World 
You’ll come back as something else,
the monk says, but you won’t
know it, and you think, OK,
what good is that? Out the window
you keep seeing birds—well, maybe
Marcelo Hernandez Castillo  – Immigration Interview with Don Franciso
In the church was the deepest
well of the city where the priest
was lowered every morning.
 ***** [        Please say more        ]
Peter Balakian – Ode to the Duduk
It’s not the wind I hear driving south
through the Catskills—it’s just bad news from the radio
and then a hailstorm morphs into sunlight

~ TRIBRACH Poetry Diary ~

I’ve posted this before, but have been thinking about it a lot recently due to the hundreds (thousands?) of trees down in our area after the last CT tornado, which we’re trying to clean up now. The picture above is of a house in my town…
Jessica Greenbaum – The Storm-struck Tree
As the storm-struck oak leaned closer to the house —
The remaining six-story half of the tree listing toward the glass box
Of  the kitchen like someone in the first tilt of stumbling —
The other half crashed into the neighbors’ yards, a massive
Diagonal for which we had no visual cue save for
An antler dropped by a constellation —

Jeremy Irons: the new “great reader” of T.S. Eliot

Jeremy Irons Breathes New Life Into ‘The Poems of T.S. Eliot’ – Lyndall Gordon – New York Times – May 17, 2018 

There is no definitive voice for reading T. S. Eliot. His own manner, with its proper enunciations, can’t be placed. He was always from somewhere else. In his native St. Louis, his family looked to ancestral New England; at Harvard, he came from a “border state.” As a newcomer to London, teaching schoolboys in Highgate, he was “the American master.” He discarded his American accent without ever coming to sound unquestionably English. I wish it were possible to consult Professor Higgins: Can there be a neutral delivery, devoid of geographical cadence? The recordings of Eliot’s poems try for transparency; lasting content takes precedence over any one reader at a single point in time.

Poems to read for Shavuot

Poems of Ruth – for Shavuot

Marge Piercy – The Book of Ruth and Naomi

When you pick up the Tanakh and read
the Book of Ruth, it is a shock
how little it resembles memory.
It’s concerned with inheritance,
lands, men’s names, how women
must wiggle and wobble to live.

Read rest of poem 

Why We Read The Book of Ruth on Shavuot: The connections between this story and the spring harvest festival. – Rabbi Ronald H. Issacs – My Jewish Learning


Dailies 5/20/18

~TRIBRACH Poetry Diary ~

William Blake – from Pentecost

Unless the eye catch fire,
The God will not be seen.
Unless the ear catch fire
The God will not be heard.
Unless the tongue catch fire
The God will not be named.
Unless the heart catch fire,
The God will not be loved.
Unless the mind catch fire,
The God will not be known.



 Jennifer O’Grady – Steer Flees Slaughter and ls Last Seen Going Thataway

They must have felt at least
a splinter of regret
that drowsy morning, one split second

Read rest of poem 


Sharron Singleton  – Three 

Two is just this and that
while three is a way out.
Two stutters, clicks shut,
begins and ends with itself.

Read rest of poem 


Elinor Wylie – Fire and Sleet and Candlelight

For this you’ve striven
    Daring, to fail:
Your sky is riven
    Like a tearing veil.
Read rest of poem 




“It Couldn’t Be Done” & other graduation poems

Edgar Albert Guest: It Couldn’t Be Done

Somebody said that it couldn’t be done
      But he with a chuckle replied
That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one
      Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
      On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
      That couldn’t be done, and he did it!
Read more Graduation poems at The Poetry Foundation

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