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 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.

Read rest of poem 


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

The results of the NY Times Donald Trump Poetry Contest are in


To Reject Trump the Perverse, Poets Wage a Battle in Verse – Nicholas Kristof  – New York Times – 2/9/17

Kristof writes that he did try to seek “out pro-Trump poems, but poets seem to be disproportionately aghast at his presidency.”

“I held this contest partly because we’ve all heard so much commentary about Trump, and I figured that verse might offer a new lens through which to see our president. It also struck me that there are fears that Trump will slash budgets for the humanities and the arts, including the National Endowment for the Arts. So it seemed appropriate to applaud the artists fighting the perverse with verse — and in that spirit, I’ll give the last word to Susan McLean, a poet and English professor at Southwest Minnesota State University:

“Trump seethes at what the writers say.
He’ll pull the plug on the N.E.A.
The joke’s on him. Art doesn’t pay.
We write our satires anyway.”

And when he cried


(poetry diary 164)

“my person would be diminished from a lack of access to these sort of voices.”


Amal Al-Jubouri, translated by Rebecca Gayle Howell and Husam Qaisi. Iraq.

Read poems from the 7 countries affected by Trump’s immigration ban – Elizabeth Flock – PBS Newshour – 1/30/2017

“On Monday, Tehran-born poet Kaveh Akbar began tweeting out poetry written by poets from the seven countries — Iran, Libya, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, and Syria — impacted by President Donald Trump’s executive order that temporarily bans immigrants from those countries.”

We Lived Happily


(poetry diary 163) There’s so much going on now–it’s tempting to stop paying attention to the news for the sake of psychological self-preservation. But:

We Lived Happily During the War
Ilya Kaminsky
And when they bombed other people’s houses, we
but not enough, we opposed them but not
enough. I was
in my bed, around my bed America

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