A personal selection of posts from the Poetry Blogging Network and beyond. Although I tend to quote my favorite bits, please do click through and read the whole posts. You can also browse the blog digest archive or subscribe to its RSS feed in your favorite feed reader. This week: transitions and metamorphoses, realizations about why we write and for whom, and much more. Enjoy.
that momentJim Young [no title]
between summer and autumn
without a sound
I get up to let out the dogs and make coffee. I quietly appreciate my dear spouse who kneels on the kitchen floor trying to entice our 16-year-old dog to eat a few morsels of meat which my husband regularly buys and cooks for him. I look out the window, delighted to spot a great blue heron in the pond.
I try to stay in the moment, just watching this creature’s prehistoric-looking countenance and admirable patience as it waits to spear a fish, but here it comes again, my awareness of what we’re doing to this beautiful planet. Nearly half the world’s bird species are in decline due to degradation of their habitats as well as to climate change. In North America alone the bird population has dropped by nearly three billion birds, a decline of 29 perfect since 1970.
Okay, I’m going to stop with the reality overflow. I simply want to acknowledge this is how the day goes for many of us. We’re fully enmeshed in our ordinary lives — getting to work on time, stopping at the grocery store, making supper, keeping up with family and friends, trying to pay bills, hoping to get a better night’s rest than the night before. At the same time we carry the weight of guilt and anxiety over the state of the planet.
E.B. White, author of much beloved books such as Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little, as well as The Elements of Style co-author, once said, “I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve (or save) the world and a desire to enjoy (or savor) the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” I have to disagree with the late Mr. White. I don’t think we can save it without truly, wholeheartedly savoring it.
Savoring, for me, is about awe. It’s about seeing relationships between what is and sensing the expansiveness of what’s just beyond our rational minds. It’s about connection. It’s about what my friend John C. Robinson calls partnering with Creation.Laura Grace Weldon, Shifting To A Kinship Worldview
my mother is tired
of picking blueberries
meal moths fly
out of the pantry
I step out of the poolHan VanderHart, Notes in August
and my weight returns
Dear Oxfam Bookshop Customer,
I doubt I’ll ever know your name or face, but I do know that you visited the Oxfam Bookshop in Chichester at some point between Easter and August this year, pulled my book, The Knives of Villalejo, from the shelf in the Poetry section, and decided to buy it. I’m left to imagine you browsing, picking it up and flicking through the pages, perhaps pausing to skim-read a poem or two before taking the plunge, maybe wondered who Camilla might be (the person to whom I dedicated this copy of my book when it began its first stab at life).
I only discovered my collection had gone when I visited the shop last month, checked its old spot, and found it had vanished. It was no longer sitting in its slot under S for Stewart between other books that used to accompany it and are still left waiting to be chosen (see picture below!).
There’s a thrill to giving a book a new owner, another reader, and I hope you’ve enjoyed your copy. The unanswerable question now, of course, is whether you’ll keep it, go back to it or even let it go again in due course to another charity shop. For now though, I’d simply like to thank you for granting it a second chance.
All the best in a shared love of poetry,Matthew Stewart, A letter to an Oxfam Bookshop customer
We decide to do a “braided” reading or what I call a “living anthology” where one poet reads, the second follows, then the third and so on. It’s a great way to create energy in a reading and you can’t have a “set” playlist because you end up responding to what one poet read with one of your own poems. Which is what happened.
John read a poem and talked about his kid, which made me read a poem I wrote to my non-binary kid called “Love Poem Where Nature is Non-Binary & Uses They/Them Pronouns.” I was not planning on reading this poem tonight at all—it’s not in Dialogues with Rising Tides, so I had to pull it up on my phone from Dropbox.
During the reading, I saw one younger human really leaning in and after the reading, they came up to me and said, “You have a non-binary kid, I am a non-binary kid.” There are some humans that you run into that you see still move through the world with only love and connection, it’s as if all the things that could harm them have bounced off their love force-field. This person was that circle of love.
We talked for a bit, they shared their new name, and then they said, “I would like to hug you, may I?” As a mom, when a teenager/preteen asks for a hug, the answer is an absolute yes! (Though actually, I don’t think I’ve ever refused a hug to anyone.) I told them what I believed–that we have so much to learn from non-binary & trans humans who *know* who they are and who are brave enough to speak it and claim it.
This beautiful person’s mother was there, and she was crying. She said, “We weren’t supposed to be here, we dropped in to say hi to the owners then you read your poem and honored my child.” We all hugged and I realized immediately that was why I was there–that poem was for them.
This was exactly where I needed to be. Poetry readings have a magic to them that I’ve forgotten after 2 years of no in-person readings. And to think, when I was leaving the house today, I was thinking–this is a long drive for nothing.
Understand, we do not know who our poems will touch. Quality over quantity. For me, this was a moment that will always stay with me. Love your humans and support them. This child had a mother who supported their journey and their whole self. And I so appreciate those who honor their non-binary/trans children. I loved how supported this young non-binary human was. I wish all trans/non-binary folx had this love and support–they all should.Kelli Russell Agodon, Your Poems Do Matter & Why It’s Important To Read Your Poems in Public: A Memoir
The poems from The Small Door of Your Death are all written in what I might call a minimalist style. Because they dealt with the death of my son, I couldn’t bear to imagine ornate poems that pointed more to the skill of the poet than the subject of his death. The title comes from a line from an untitled poem [it comes down to this] about the moment of his death:
you choose the vein
in the back of a hand
this last intimacy
a puncture mark
the small door
of your death
I imagine, here, that small mark in his vein, as a kind of door to his death. I have thought a lot about this image and wanted to render it in cloth. I’ve made some thirty or so pieces that contained the door as a symbol, but none of them felt right. They were somehow too busy, too elaborate, too forced. I have cut up or discarded these pieces, so I can’t show them to you here.
But a few months ago, in a class with Claire Benn on working with earth minerals, I painted a piece of canvas with black ochre. I meant for it to serve as a background to another piece, so the edges were darker than the center: [photo]
But with the help of others in the workshop, I saw that there was something happening in the cloth that I hadn’t intended. There was the suggestion of a door. I decided this piece might work on its own with only minimal stitching. Here it is with one line of hand-stitching. Today I quilt it with black thread that mimics some of the lines–like veins–that are the result of wrinkles in the fabric. Then I’ll iron it and see where we are.Sheryl St. Germain, Minimalism and The Small Door of Your Death
I take out the seeds and pith, slice them into thin
half-moons; salt them generously like bodies
for a long keeping. I was taught to save
everything I can, though I might not know
to what earthly use I might put a bathtub
full of fermented cabbage, a jar of gelatinous
spores. I’ve kept the stumps of my daughters’ birth
cords, a few yellowed baby teeth; their impossibly
small first shoes and cotton camisoles, snippets
of hair, toenail clippings. What will happen to my own
body when I separate the withered from the green,Luisa A. Igloria, Preserve
the wrinkled from the supple, firm, or measured?
The two pictures of very different birds—the gigantic, dinosaur-esque pileated woodpecker with its bright head, and the tiny, fairy-like immature hummingbird—represent something about literature and book promotion that’s very true—it’s not always the biggest and brightest writer, flower, or bird that wins the evolutionary race—sometimes it’s the smallest, most camouflaged and flexible. My best assets as a writer now at 49 are different than they were at 32. My poems are different, my experience of the world, and my outlook. So, I guess it makes sense that I’m a little nervous this time around, sensing that my book—and my person—have been changed, that I’m a little less certain, less confident but quicker to shift gears and adapt. In most fairy tales and myths, the protagonist is often changed against his or her will be their journey—sometimes literally into birds or cats or white deer, sometimes by their actions, like Gretel’s quick dispatch of the witch that threatened her. No one comes out unscathed from their magical journeys, even if they disappear into the haze of a happy ending.Jeannine Hall Gailey, Visiting with Seattle Poets, Welcome September, and Planning for March/April Next Year and Thinking about Post-Covid Book Launches and Book Marketing (In an Uncertain World)
The last book this August is Swan Song, by Armen Davoudian (Bull City Press, 2020), which seems a perfect way to end this Sealey Challenge, with a sad, gentle, glorious burst of song at the end. And I read the whole bundle from Bull City Press, and its Frost Place Chapbook Competition. A fine gathering!
The poet grew up in Iran, and it was lovely to find that the title poem is a ghazal. Subtle yet tight rhyme ripples through the book. Ah, but the sad irony of the closing lines of “Persian Poetry”: “Yet I study English poetry / because Persian would have been too obvious.”
Swans drift through, or paddleboats in the shape of swans, as in “The Yellow Swan” and “Swan Boats.” I found the coincidence of blue in “Swan Boats”: “Time out of mind, this was our turquoise blue
mind out of time, watching white thoughts come, go
across a mirror which, unchanged by them,
itself was change and could reverse the down-
ward wish of light, the headlong wash of stone
skipped on its current.
Lovely language, lovely reversals there.
This morning I woke early, found a wishing star on the horizon in a dip of trees, and wished what I always wish. I hope it comes true.Kathleen Kirk, Swan Song
The stars move
at terrible speed
and we move with them,Tom Montag, THREE OLD MONK POEMS (299)
the old monk said.
[Pearl Pirie]: So Monty, what have you read lately that’s lit you up?
[Monty Reid]: There’s always something lighting me up. I really liked Jorie Graham’s breathless Runaway. I liked her early work, but after a while everything she wrote just became so routinely portentous its power faded. But Runaway, urgent with climate change and so many failures of meaning, is inspired work.
PP: (Let me interject: her opening poem about rainstorm is particularly apt at time of writing.)
MR: For the past few years I’ve been making a point of reading poets from non-anglo languages (mostly in translation) in part just to get away from our overwhelming self-regard. One of my recent favorites is Antonio Gamoneda’s Book of the Cold. A Spanish poet, who grew up in (and resisted) the Franco era, taught himself how to read by studying a book of his father’s poetry, worked in a bank for some 25 years and went on to win most of the literary prizes in the Spanish speaking world, his Book of the Cold has only recently been translated (by Katherine Hedeen and Victor Rodriguez Nunez). A chilly hell, full of remarkable imagery, it charts the instability of post-Franco Spain, and more broadly. A snowball earth, as opposed to an overheated one.Pearl Pirie, Checking In: With Monty Reid
I’ve also been dipping into Dionne Brand’s new Nomenclature, New and Collected Poems. I wasn’t familiar with some of her early work, so I’m grateful to have it all in a single volume. A particular pleasure to read the epigrams from 1983. And it’s intriguing to trace some of her language from the early books to the new incantatory long poem – ‘Nomenclature’.
When I started blogging — about three blogs ago now — and well, these were different times, but I had a rule for myself that I wouldn’t quote from anything that I hadn’t read in its entirety. This is a pretty sound practice in general, still though, right? I don’t stick to it one hundred percent, but I do like to sit and sift through my beloved books and then actually type out the quotations or poems. It’s a way of inhabiting, for one thing. Learning. I think the practice has also made me a better writer, having done this for so many years. People who do this more religiously call the practice, “copywork.” It hearkens back to the days of the commonplace book. In a volume I love, Index Cards, by Moyra Davey, she resolves herself to: “Refrain from quoting authors I’ve only read secondhand.”
And so that was a bit of a tangent, and maybe just a way of saying that there may be typos ahead, haha, but below you will find 4 poems that sort of fell into my hands as I perused some poetry from my home library this morning. Rather perfect for the first day of September. I hope you enjoy them! They’re about looking back at the huge and sudden summer, that land of green, and taking stock. It’s fitting also, to end up on the couch, or in my case the chaise longue, which is where I’m headed after writing this post, to just revel and remember and daydream a little about all that has happened and all that I loved.Shawna Lemay, 4 Poems About Summer’s End
there’s a sadness humming
in the skylight corners
a wind song looking
for a tune
it’s all melisma
my bluesDick Jones, nightwalking
for busted sleep
and burgled dreams
How long does it take to start any particular writing project? Does your writing initially come quickly, or is it a slow process? Do first drafts appear looking close to their final shape, or does your work come out of copious notes?
Poems’ processes vary for me. Of the poems in The Clearing, some tumbled out fully formed. “Ways to Describe a Death Inside Your Own Living Body” took maybe ten minutes to write. Maybe less. It was inside me and needed nothing more than a valve to land on the page. “Memento Mori: Bell Jar with Suspended Child” was a different story. It was originally about ten lines long – really just the opening image of an old Victorian glass dome with a landscape made out of a dead child’s hair. A year or so later, I revised it into a sonnet; then I realized the poem was resting in what it knew vs. striving for what it could discover – so I decided to try pushing it toward a long poem, sustaining it over many sections and pages. From start to finish, with several months-long breaks in between, that poem took probably three years as it found itself. Each poem requires its own line of inquiry and its own fresh methods, at least for me; and that’s something I love about poems – the constant reinvention. “Flight Theory” took several months, too. The long-line contrapuntal form required tiny syntactical articulations. But again, each poem teaches its writer so much about how to build a form unique to that poem’s utterance.rob mclennan, 12 or 20 (second series) questions with Allison Adair
It is Labor Day weekend. Summer’s drought has not ended, but the slower pace of the university summer schedule has. Crickets are creaking, the swallows have departed, afternoon shadows grow longer, and the students are back on campus. I am busy.
Meanwhile, three sets of friends have had their elderly, beloved canine companions die. Dry leaves fall from the tulip poplars. Each week, my mother seems to lose a few more words from her lexicon. The jays scream every day at 4 pm.
I have been feeling a bit run dry myself. Like a small stream that needs a thunderstorm or, better still, a few good wet days to replenish it. As in: not writing. Yet I have found Charles Simic’s 1994 The Unemployed Fortune-Teller: Essays and Memoirs quite inspiring, if “inspiring” in this case means nourishment for the mind and heart without actively producing anything in terms of output. The book is part of the University of Michigan’s wonderful, decades-long series Poets on Poetry.
Simic writes, “A poem is an invitation to a voyage.”
Oh, let me never get so busy I cannot go on such voyages!Ann E. Michael, Run dry
Words as soft as silence. They
might have laughed. I didn’t tell them it was also
how I imagined love. Because a cloud wasn’t a
wrapper that hung empty after all the rain hadRajani Radhakrishnan, Part 11
fallen. The cloud was the entire rain. I put things
like that in my notebook between poems.
What do you find most difficult about writing poetry?
The greatest challenge with poetry for me is writing it. I get distracted by my daily life. Cooking, cleaning, interacting with people, keeping up with the news, and all that we do to manage our lives. I need nuggets of inspiration and quiet time to spark poems. The pandemic has helped keep me inside and in touch with my deep self. I think my monastic existence enabled me to write my poetry book, Three Penny-Memories: A Poetic Memoir, which is forth-coming from IEF (Experiments in Fiction) this fall.
Moreover, once I write a poem, I do a great deal of revising, wordsmithing, and refining of format. You might say that I communicate with the poem. I don’t consider myself prolific as I need time to remaster first drafts. I go for quality, not quantity.
Another challenge I face is digging in deep for the truth. Sometimes I feel blocked by my topic as I can’t face the truth or fear offending someone. When I was writing Three-Penny Memories: A Poetic Memoir, I grappled with the taboo notion that I might not love the woman my mother was becoming due to Alzheimer’s. I was her caregiver. I realized she couldn’t live with me as I had a full-time job. My husband was at home teaching music lessons daily and it would have been unfair to him to make him responsible for her. And we had stairs she couldn’t manage. All through out my care and oversight, I felt incompetent. Maybe this is how she felt raising seven children. Maybe she had to love me regardless. I wanted to share my heartfelt journey with her into her end of days. This required examining our relationship honestly. I tend to be codependent, so my fears of displeasing people blocked me. Once I let go of those fears, I realized how powerful poetry based on authentic truth is.Thomas Whyte, Barbara Leonhard : part three
under the swing
I love the simplicity and tenderness of the scene, the way what’s left behind is enough for us to construct a whole backstory. No wonder it’s the editor’s choice – if you follow the above link you can read her comment in full, and it says much more than I could so I’ll leave it at that, except to say that the issue is packed full of superb poems and I feel very humble to have my haiku alongside them.Julie Mellor, The Heron’s Nest
The past month was full! We crammed in as much last-minute summer break fun as we could (and I’m still a bit sore from two nights of all-you-can-play laser tag) while also trying to prepare for the new semester. Last week was full of meetings, and this week we all started school again!
The end of July and the month of August still found me immersed in poetry though. Highlights include a week in Asheville at the Glen Workshop, where I took the lyric essay workshop with Molly McCully Brown and had so much fun with writer friends. It was especially fun to be there when Agape Editions announced that they’ll be publishing my second full-length poetry collection, Hereverent, in Spring 2023!Katie Manning, Glen Workshop, La Playa Books, SDUT Festival of Books
Of course, I tried to figure out the why of my temptation to call her done. I think she is, for all intensive purposes. It is September almost, a time which I imagined I’d be starting new. (and actually I have in bits and pieces I am excited to move to if this is it.) But not at the expense of Persephone and the sirens I have spent three months with now, sometimes moving fast, sometimes not moving fast at all. If I call it done, it’s still going to require a bit of reordering, line edits, and just proofing my shitty typing to be anything like ready to show anyone. I have been sending some of the early, already edited pieces out for publication and snagged an acceptance for September, so they will likely start filtering into the world.
Of course, nothing says I can’t set it aside and maybe return, but I never really do. I have a strange relationship with work in which I will write like mad and then shut it away for months and months to come back to it fresh, so by the time I circle back around, it will feel done whether it was or not. I will have already moved on to some new nonsense, no doubt….Kristy Bowen, endings and other uncertainties
This morning, I looked at the date on my computer: September 1. We all have different seasonal markers, and one of mine is September 1 as the date when many literary journals open for submissions after a summer hiatus.
In the past, long ago in the past, before online submissions, I would have had a stack of submissions ready to be mailed on September 1. I had a plan and a purpose, and I needed publications. I had a vision of a better teaching job or maybe a life of a freelance writer who got grants and speaking engagements and great tax deductions.
My submitting life is complicated now. I am astonished at how expensive submitting fees have gotten to be. I have problems with a $3 fee, and now many of them are $4 or higher. Several stamps, paper, and printer ink cost far less in terms of money. I was one of those people who used to send out poems/stories again and again, on the same paper, so my submission costs were even cheaper.
That said, I do prefer online submissions. I just don’t want to pay so much money for such a slim chance of my creative work being accepted.Kristin Berkey-Abbott, September Submission Strategies
My new poetry book is out!
Very grateful to the essential rob mclennan for this first review of my new book. If a book is published in a forest and it isn’t reviewed, is it even there? rob makes sure so many books are there, are heard.
He quotes the poem Brainsnail from a suite of Lucretius “translations”in its entirety. These translations are more transcreations, reimagings rehabitating some aspect of the original. Haroldo de Campos spoke about giving the poem a blood transfusion. There’s an interesting article on Cannibal Translation here.
I only knew the term transcreation from its use by contemporary poets, but here’s a longer history.
My technique/process often involves using Google translate (moving the poem through many different languages), sometimes N+7 (I use the automated Spoonbill N+7 which gives 14 versions, each one more distant from the original.) I almost always then revise the poem freely. The idea for me is that these initial transformational processes generate material for me to consider, material outside the greater limitations of my immediate imagination, but that then enable me to listen carefully and open up another part of my imagination, listening for interesting or engaging moments, resonances, possibilities in the generated text. Something of the source material inheres (certainly formal aspects, but other things too, and I am aware of my source and its context–this has an influence on my revision and writing, too.) There’s a frisson between the original and my version, inviting the reader to consider the connections or relation to the source. Also imagine the process and what it might mean. How did we get here from there? In what way does these new version retain aspects of the old, in what way is it diametrically opposed or divurgent?
I like the portmanteau “Brainsnail.” In what way is a brain like a snail? It can be slow. It leaves a trail. Something in the coils of both. Maybe brain is to snail as a translated poem is to its original. Or is it the snail of the translator moving through the brain of the original?Gary Barwin, The Most Charming Creatures — New Book! — and a note on the Brainsnail of Translation.
I appeared in Australia last Friday. Having reduced my university teaching hours so that I have more time for creativity, I said ‘Yes’ when invited to read my poetry at 9am here, 6pm there, on screens in and around Castlemaine, near to Melbourne. I appeared in Australia last Friday at Ross Donlon’s online event, marking my first poetry touchdown Down Under.
My preparation for this reading was admirably early. I refer you to my geography project, compiled in LIV26 (when I was twelve and there was no national curriculum). Given a free hand by Miss Smith, I made the most of having cousins in Western Australia. These cousins, never having met me (not then, not now) posted samples of Australia over to London (postcards, tourist brochures, leaves, pressed flowers, merino sheep’s wool). I included them in my Australia project. […]
I’d also liaised with my friend Darren Mason in the matter of making sure I was ready for this important debut. During the first 2020 lockdown, I wrote a poem about my bicycle and the freedom she gave me in those first strange days, which Darren went on to animate beautifully. The advantage of the reading being online was that I was able to share it with my audience 10,577 miles away. See the film here: Shrewsbury, Friday Morning 27th March 2020Liz Lefroy, I Appear In Australia
Our tomatoes are going bananas. We can’t keep up with them. I don’t know the things I need to know to preserve them, and we can’t eat all of them before they rot. (If you know me in real life, let me know if you’d like some.)
They are SO good. So much more flavor than grocery-store tomatoes, even the ones at the produce stand that sells local goods. Last night we had a dinner of tomatoes with basil and balsamic vinegar, accompanied by ciabatta and fresh mozzarella.
This week was the first in our almost new-normal. Cane had his back-to-school inservice days, and for the first time in 32 years, it was not back-to-school inservice week for me. I am doing a small curriculum development job for his school (the one I taught in last year), so I did go to some meetings, but it was nothing compared to how this week has felt for me in the last 3 decades.
It felt amazing. Freeing. Calm. Busy in a good way.Rita Ott Ramstad, Overabundance
I like to buy second hand books, sometimes to feel the years that are worn into the pages – foxing, old coffee or blood stains, a fold, maybe even a tear – and sometimes to wonder about the inscriptions. The poet John Robinson once wrote about spending 10p on a copy of Samuel Butler’s The Way Of All Flesh from the cheap boxes on trestle tables outside a shop, taking it on holiday to Greece, and opening it to find the inscription ‘John Major, London 1959’. It may or may not have been the John Major but the poem was lit by the possibility contained in that joyous moment.
I thought of this as, in a Stratford-upon-Avon coffee shop, I looked at a poetry book I’d bought a while back in a sprawling second-hand shop in Los Angeles, not far from Skid Row or Desolation Row or whatever this week social commentators called the hard streets where people slept and held together their lives in bags or shopping trolleys. The book was called Down At The Santa Fe Depot, sub-titled 20 Fresno Poets. It was published in Fresno, California, in 1970.
Before I began reading, I looked at the biographical sketches. I do enjoy these. One poet revealed he had been stuck in Fresno for 24 years. I understood that. I’d been to Fresno for a week and it felt like six months. Another one declared he had been raised in western Pennsylvania and had gone to various schools. […]
I settled down with another large coffee and began reading the work of poets who were writing in 1970 when they were young and had something to say. I read it from first page to last.
And so – of course, I did – I googled one of them, Roberta Spear, whose poems seemed honest and kind, and discovered she had died of leukaemia in Fresno in 2003 – the year, incidentally, that I was there, and who was considered important enough to have an obituary in the Washington Post. She also had a website that described her as mother, wife, poet, dancer, friend.
I was sorry she had died. I would have liked to have told her that I enjoyed her poems.Bob Mee, A BOOK HAS A HISTORY… Alternatively, Googling in a Coffee House in Stratford-upon-Avon
Some days, those strange headlines rush and tumble into our lives, shatter our personal alphabet, then leave us to pick up the pieces of broken lives and languages.
I remember days when we used to read poetry to one another on the front porch of my aorta. How every line would beat a distinct pulse of love.
I can still hear it now.
It’s a comforting feeling,
like how I know my daughter‘s old baby cradle won’t wake up one day to realize it’s a nest of grenades.Rich Ferguson, Read My Lips
Summer can be poetry without the words. A sweet peach cuts through time and puts you right in the everlasting camp of the gods. A tomato is a love apple, pomme d’amour. The spume of the sea drenches with spent force and effervescence. This is real, just as drought is real and dog days are real that swelter through any and all summer months.
I always want to keep my finger on the pulse of this life force in reality, this apprehension of elemental life. Along comes so-called “real life” with its go-go energy, rage of politics and urgency of injustice. Poetic receptivity feels quavery in the shadow of this, so I reframe the question: What should poetic attention be attentive to?
I ask a poet what to do. “so little joy — sister of the gods— in our poems Ryszard,” Zbigniew Herbert writes in “To Ryszard Krynicki — A Letter.” “too few glimmering twilights mirrors wreaths ecstasies.” Both poets lived through World War II and Communist takeover of Poland.
A line earlier in the poem says: “we came too easily to believe beauty does not save.” The poet later asks: “what forces of the spirit do we need/ blindly beating despair against despair/to ignite a spark a word of atonement/that the dancing circle might last on the soft grass…”
He calls it a riddle and so do I. Though beauty is wide and inclusive. Reality is inclusive. Imagination is not the fairy tale version, but an existential feature of survival.Jill Pearlman, Saving Joy
when did our poems cease writing the seaGrant Hackett [no title]