Tribrach: for those who love (or would like to love) poetry

“Because in times like these/ to have you listen at all, it's necessary/ to talk about trees." -Adrienne Rich, "What Kind of Times Are These"


Donald Trump

Dailies 3/13/17: America, lobsters, the Afterlife, & something moving crabwise across the snow



Andrew Motion – Fog in Naskeag Harbor



When we had done our business with the lobster-man
choosing our dinner from dozens of creatures packed
in a fiberglass tank in his garage, their pincers pinched
in plastic bands but all visibly sensible and frustrated,

Read rest of poem 


James Allen Hall – Afterlife

We’re not from here. We don’t aria, we warble.
We wore suits to get here, rumpled by the hot car ride.
Pumped our own gas. In Heaven two days,

still the custom shirtlessness offends.  Like it’s the g-d
French Rivera. (You say it yours.  We’ll say it the right way.)
Nor do we au revoir. We eat without speaking, hunched over

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Maxime Kumin – The Presence

Something went crabwise
across the snow this morning.
Something went hard and slow
over our hayfield.

Read rest of poem 


Dean Rader – America, I do not call your name without hope

America, I do not call your name without hope
not even when you lay your knife
against my throat or lace my hands
behind my back, the cuffs connecting

Read rest of poem 

“Make America great again” Golden Shovel poems

imgresMary Schmich, a columnist from the Chicago Tribune, took inspiration from Terrance Hayes’ new “Golden Shovel” poetry form & asked her Facebook followers to create poems using the words “Make America great again.” She admits that “None of these verses will wind up in an anthology of the world’s greatest poems, but they remind us that in politics and poetry, words are what you make of them.”

Take the ‘Make America great again’ poetry challenge – Mary Schmich – Chicago Tribune – 3/10/17

“Here’s how the form works: Pick a line from a poem. Then write your own poem, using one word of the borrowed line as the last word of each line of yours. Keep the words in order.

“It’s time we make

This place we call America

Not just great

But good again.

“See how it works? Read the last word of each line and you get ‘Make America great again.’

” It’s not always easy to feel sympathy for an artist with a trust fund and whose family have their own graveyard. “


Robert Lowell at 100: why his poetry has never been more relevantLowell’s confessional work of the 1960s marked a sea change in American letters – then he fell out of favour. But on the eve of his centenary, his work offers an urgent political message in a time of Trump – Max Liu – The Guardian – 3/1/17

“Today, Bishop’s popularity is soaring while Lowell’s has waned. Seamus Heaney once attributed this to Lowell’s background and the “orchestral crash” of his verse: “Lowell was a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant male, a Eurocentric, egotistical sublime, writing as if he intended to be heard in a high wind.” It’s not always easy to feel sympathy for an artist with a trust fund and whose family have their own graveyard. But Lowell knew he was privileged, and the beauty and specificity with which he describes his world creates space for the reader to reflect on their own experience. His writing may even have subtle political messages for our times; the poet Claudia Rankine, who cites Life Studies as an influence on her groundbreaking 2015 work Citizen: An American Lyric, sees in Lowell’s book “a struggle with … the construction of whiteness”.

“…Lowell was consistently at odds with the US government, serving jail time as a conscientious objector during the second world war, rejecting an invitation to the White House in 1965 to protest Lyndon Johnson’s foreign policy, speaking at the March on the Pentagon in 1967.”

If 2017 was a poem, what would you call it?

Read more: 34 Poets Of Color Summarize 2017 In Verse – Priscilla Frank Huffington Post – 2/28/17

Dailies 2/21/17: secrets, an Open House, a photo of a Nativity, & post-Trump depression



New Year – Joanna Klink

We woke to the darkness before our eyes,
unable to take the measure of the loss.
Who are they. What are we. What have we
abandoned to arrive with such violence at this hour.

Read rest of poem



After the Open House – Marilyn Nelson

I saw again, at last night’s open house,
that families are like jigsaw puzzles
of the self-portraits children draw at school.
The more pieces you see, the more you understand.

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VIII – from “Twelve Songs” – W.H. Auden

At last the secret is out, as it always must come in the end,
The delicious story is ripe to tell to the intimate friend;
Over the tea-cups and in the square the tongue has its desire;
Still waters run deep, my dear, there’s never smoke without fire.

Read rest of poem 


Nativity  – Mike White


I am the one
who took the photo,

the one
who on a frigid moonless night

Read rest of poem 


a video for President Trump


‘We see you’: Black poets challenge Trump

17 February 2017 – BBC News – Charity Blackwell, Drew Anderson, 2Deep the Poetess and Slli’m Williams – Video by Charlotte Pamment

“We boiled down the lies in another pan till they disappeared. / We washed that pan.”


(poetry diary 181 -2/17/17.) Watching re-caps of yesterday’s press conference and having a nice, gentle fantasy about feeding the President & his administration serum of the sort that Nye writes about.  A calming poem. 

Truth Serum
Naomi Shihab Nye 
We made it from the ground-up corn in the old back pasture.
Pinched a scent of night jasmine billowing off the fence,
popped it right in.
That frog song wanting nothing but echo?
We used that.

“If artists everywhere were to give themselves over to agitprop, something essential would be lost.”


-Gwendolyn Brooks

“At the other extreme are those who believe that, in a time of crisis, the ordinary rituals of making art must cease. [In VARIATIONS: AFTER NOVEMBER 8 –
MUSIC IN MOMENTS OF CRISIS, Lucy] Caplan notes that some of her friends have been quoting Gwendolyn Brooks’s 1949 poem ‘First Fight. Then Fiddle’:

. . . Carry hate
In front of you and harmony behind.
Be deaf to music and to beauty blind.
Win war. Rise bloody, maybe not too late
For having first to civilize a space
Wherein to play your violin with grace.

These are invigorating words, although Caplan pinpoints an inherent paradox: Brooks’s poem is ‘art sending the message that it is not yet time for art.’ If artists everywhere were to give themselves over to agitprop, something essential would be lost. To create a space of refuge, to enjoy a period of respite, is not necessarily an act of acquiescence.

-Alex Ross, MAKING ART IN A TIME OF RAGEThe New Yorker – 2/8/17

Weeklies mid Feb 2017: a runaway bobcat returns to the National Zoo, coming out to one’s mother re: being transgender, Promotion, a response to “alternative facts,” & the way everybody was naughty today





That’s the reason, my dear captain, for my strange melancholia.
—Federico García Lorca

After eight years, she’s lost all memory
of wildness—knowing only the occasional sparrow-flutter
in her water trough.

Read rest of poem 


Lost Body – Jordan Rice 


Today they are talking on the radio about
how to remember your infant, and not leave them

in car seats for swelter to unspeak them

Read rest of poem 



JUST SO YOU’LL KNOW – John Ashbery

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