Dailies 4/19/17: reacting to being told to be brave, trying to avoid using the language of a captor, being confused, & orchids

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Diane Lockwood – Orchids
  They are hot and moist in operation, under the
        dominion of Venus, and provoke lust exceedingly.
                        —The British Herbal Guide, 1653

Such flowers must be used with discretion.

Love of them becomes obsession.

Read rest of poem 

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Camille Rankine – Aubade

They say brave but I don’t want it.
Who will we mourn today. Or won’t we.

Black all the windows. Lower
down the afternoon. I barricade

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Robert Bly – People Like Us

      for James Wright

There are more like us. All over the world
There are confused people, who can’t remember
The name of their dog when they wake up, and people
Who love God but can’t remember where

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Shane McCrae – In the Language

 

I cannot talk about the place I came from
I do not want it to exist
The way I knew it
In the language of my captor

Read rest of poem 

 

 

 

“It is the preference of the people, after all, that gives permanency to poetry”

Abbott_1448442478.jpg – Brian Abbott

In a land of selfies and shots of lunch, poetry thrives – Michael Andor Brodeur – Boston Globe – 4/19/17

“[Abbott] takes to heart a line that’s stuck with him (and that he’s since enshrined on his account) from Edward Frank Allen’s introduction to the 1936 anthology of traditional verse, ‘The Best Loved Poems of the American People’: ‘It is the preference of the people, after all, that gives permanency to poetry’

“’You can make fun of me, but there’s 3 million people that love it, so they win,’ he says, laughing. ‘And deep down, I just think if you love your own [expletive], that’s what matters.’”

it’s allergy time

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Sneeze Ode

Dean Young

Here comes the sneeze with its end-of-the-world,
mobster-motor, a-gog cog.
You better not be holding nothing full,
better not got hurt ribs.
Rip right through your billet-doux, weed-whip
your honeysuckle before any bees get sip.
Unlike its wussy brother hiccups, its argument
is politics not music, neither poetical like the cough,

Read rest of poem 

(poetry diary  241-4/19/17)

Dailies 4/18/17: a small girl dancing, a porch, Washington DC…but not horses

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Catherine Abbey Hodges – Dark and Late

This dark porch
has brimmed
with light
like a bowl with water
like a throat with laughter

Read rest of poem 

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Natalie Shapero – Not Horses

 

What I adore is not horses, with their modern
domestic life span of 25 years. What I adore
is a bug that lives only one day, especially if
it’s a terrible day, a day of train derailment or
chemical lake or cop admits to cover-up, a day

Read rest of poem 

 

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Mira Rosenthal – Washington, DC

When the law terrifies us
with its emptiness, we go looking
for stones on the earth—let’s pretend

Read rest of poem 

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Adrian Matejka – Soave Sia Il Vento

after Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

In the wobbly pirouette between song
& dust, dog-nosed living room windows
& a purple couch that should have been curbed
last July: Saturday sunlight cuts it all every
time you lean into some kind of ballet pose.

Read rest of poem 

Taylor Swift: Confessional Poet

In honor of Poetry Month, JStor has  “pulled together [their] best stories about poetry with free links to poems from contemporary and classic American poets.” Here’s one comparing criticism of Taylor Swift’s work to that of Confessional Poets like Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton, as their work is usually considered to be autobiographical:

TAYLOR SWIFT: 1989’S CONFESSIONAL POET – Rachel Greenhaus – JStor Daily – 9/15/15

“There seems to be a double-edged sword wielded in the response to these female artists: They are required to be both completely honest and open, giving freely of themselves and their emotions, and also to be more than just faithful diarists of their individual lives. We fault them for their lack of transparency or their artistic license with the material we assume to be ‘true’ and for the perceived pettiness of their subjects. We, via BuzzFeed and Billboard and Us Weekly, construct the narrative of what ‘Bad Blood’ is about (just as Plath and Sexton’s readers have done for decades using journals, letters, and other ‘nonfiction’ sources) just so we can roll our eyes and declare that, well, it all seems a little overdramatic and, I mean, it’s hard to enjoy a really good jam when all you can think about is how Taylor turned her poor hurt feelings into an epic three-and-a-half-minute, chart-topping bitch slap (not to mention the video, which is bonkers enough to be the basis for whole graduate theses).

“We trivialize artistic creativity by focusing on the autobiographical….”

finish your taxes yet?

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Sex and Taxes
Kevin Cantwell
Plum black & the blush white of an apple
shoulder, melon & cream, in tones to list
the flesh; in light, washed colors off at last
& textures sheer with damp I slowly pull
from you with your quick help. Weekend’s ample

(poetry diary  240-4/18/17)

Dailies 4/17/17: The Right Foot of Juan de Oñate. I am not built for dead bodies! A tall girl running & the God of Nothingness.

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Martín Espada  – The Right Foot of Juan de Oñate

for John Nichols and Arturo Madrid

 

On the road to Taos, in the town of Alcalde, the bronze statue
of Juan de Oñate, the conquistador, kept vigil from his horse.
Late one night a chainsaw sliced off his right foot, stuttering
through the ball of his ankle, as Oñate’s spirit scratched
and howled like a dog trapped within the bronze body.

Read rest of poem 

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Louis Simpson – Tall Girl Running

There is no gene which single-handedly builds a leg, long or short. Building a leg is a multi-gene cooperative enterprise.
—Richard Dawkins

She went running by.
I never saw a girl

with such long legs.
She ran by again.

Read rest of poem 

 

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Natalie Shapiro – I Am Not Built for Dead

bodies—my people in their tsarist shanties
wouldn’t have come seen one, only attending
funerals for their own. They came to this land
of table wakes and windowed typhoid caskets
so I could have a new life mourning

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Mark Wunderlich – The God of Nothingness

My father fell from the boat.
His balance had been poor for some time.
He had gone out in the boat with his dog
hunting ducks in a marsh near Trempealeau, Wisconsin.

Read rest of poem 

200+ poets write a renga for Obama

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“‘Renga for Obama’ is modeled on a traditional Japanese poetic form. Poets, working in pairs, will compose a tan-renga (short renga) of two stanzas: first, a traditional haiku of three lines of 5-7-5 syllables, followed by a couplet, called a waki, of two lines of seven syllables each (7-7), which is intended as a response to the haiku. A new tan-renga (or pair of stanzas) will be added every day for the first 100 days—or maybe more!—each pair of poets adding to the renga chain. While President Barack Obama occasions our meditation, we hope that the renga will range freely over any number of topics. We only want to emphasize that this poem is intended in a spirit of celebration.” – Harvard Review Online 

1st part here is by Robert Pinsky and Carol Muske-Dukes:

RENGA FOR OBAMA

April 17, 2017

Healing in winter
Lava-flower tea—its wood
Endures like laurel.

Island-born, cool lava-bloom.
You. Presiding, laurel-crowned.

Read rest of poem 

did you always used to have a little jar of maraschino cherries in your refrigerator too?

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(poetry diary  239-4/17/17) My mother put maraschino cherries on an Easter pie yesterday. My father mentioned that the cherries always remind him of a poem by Thomas Lux, so I looked it up this morning. A good poem about that little jar of cherries that was always in the back of everyone’s childhood refrigerator….

Refrigerator, 1957 [poem 1]

Thomas Lux 
More like a vault — you pull the handle out
and on the shelves: not a lot,
and what there is (a boiled potato
in a bag, a chicken carcass
under foil) looking dispirited,
drained, mugged. This is not
a place to go in hope or hunger.

Read rest of poem 

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