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: rewilding the roof, a thread of wisdom, dreams, dead poets, quipu, AI, a golden age for poetry, and much more. Enjoy.
The pigeon’s toes as he carefullyDale Favier, Winter Afternoon
steps over his own feet: the cock
of his head at the swish of a car:
the night-echo of 4 p.m.
when the light has (mostly) drained from the sky
and rinsed away the day’s greed,
(the day’s greed for now) to make
room for the evening’s: oh
my dear friend I miss you:
With the return to greater freedom in 2022, my visits to the rooftop began to decrease. In the spring, I tidied the space again, but by summer, when restrictions lifted, it started to feel like an eccentricity. It was harder to explain why I was climbing out of a window to meet the sun in a few square metres of space, when there’s a huge park, long cycle rides and friends’ gardens nearby. When the restaurant next door became busy again, I began to feel conspicuous sitting above the chattering guests in the courtyard, with my underwear out on the drier. […]
I haven’t given the garden much thought in the past few months, but today, when the fresh young sun beckoned, I decided to go out, to tidy up and think about this year’s planting. Looking through the window, I stopped myself before opening it up wide, noticing a blackbird gathering flat-roof moss. It was so bright-eyed, so glossy, so busy collecting what it needs for its new nest and brood that it came to me, there and then, that I will let my garden grow by itself this year. I’ll leave the moss and the leaves and the twigs of last autumn for the birds, the brave ones who visit the town centre, and their young.
For everything, there is a season. A time to garden, and a time to refrain from gardening. The rooftop was loaned to me, for a while: an open secret. For the time that I needed it, I made of it a sanctuary.Liz Lefroy, I Rewild My Garden
It is good to remember how the other day I read something about everyone wanting out of their current life – and I thought: nah.
It is a reminder that things will settle again. Probably in the same old painful places, but settled, and the kind of thing you adjust for without too much effort.
I’ve rearranged the furniture in this little library. Put a vase of dried flowers on the little side table. They dried in the vase. 6 months – maybe more.
I can’t decide if they make me sad. Or if they just are. There is a story there that I won’t write.Ren Powell, What You Attend To
Heaped grey boulders mimic a colony of seals.
Not long before love winters in my heart.
I need to tell you how it feels
to be together, yet growing apart.
Your craggy face seems so much older
clouded in a bluish hue. I brace myself to start
as you place a hand on my shoulderFokkina McDonnell, Valentine’s Day
but all I can say is It’s getting colder.
I find less to be said and more silence in my seventh decade. Or maybe it’s just that my vision of my life is much clearer and inclines me more often to gratitude, as well as to grief. Life is indeed a puff of wind, and whether we return, as I believe we do, it’s not with the same life. Still, a thread of wisdom is being woven in each experience, strand by strand strengthening the long and longer view. I have glimpses of where I may have been and where I’m heading. I feel lucky in a way that’s hard to describe. Though, you know, that’s what poets do.Rachel Dacus, Lunar New Year Poetry 2023
I’ve been thinking about smallness, so it was fascinating to read, this weekend, Jeannine Hall Gailey’s dazzling new poetry collection, Flare, Corona, a book that explores parallel crises on many scales, from the microscopic to the telescopic. I plan to teach it so I snagged an advance review copy, but it’s now available for pre-order from BOA editions.
It’s moving to read poetry about events in Jeannine’s life that I followed in real time, especially her diagnosis with cancer (they gave her six months) then re-diagnosis with multiple sclerosis–but it’s moving in a different way to see how she frames these experiences in relation to bigger catastrophes, somehow finding inspiration in it all. A poem that covers some of this territory, “Under a Blood Moon, I Get My Brain Scanned,” connects astronomical phenomena with lesions and neurons. Elsewhere, poems link solar flares with a familiar coronavirus, ahem. This comparative or metaphorical move is in the book’s DNA: omens of doom for humanity are widespread, but apocalypse can also be internal and local, especially when your cells are turning against you. Like a lot of other powerful writing, Flare, Corona oscillates between lenses, attentive both to tiny details and the big emotional stakes of facing how precarious life can be.
I’ve been in a mood of midlife reconsideration, and that’s here, too–see “April in Middle Age”–but while I’m several years older than Jeannine, she came to this angle of vision through a sense of mortality that has more near and acute sources.Lesley Wheeler, Flares, small and celestial
Mice scurry in the dark. A lost gustRajani Radhakrishnan, Part 33
of wind sometimes wakes the
dust. An empty Pepsi bottle rolls between
benches. Life goes on while you wait.
The stretch of universe you hold tight
between your fingers, starts to slip. You
think the rumble of thunder is an
incoming train. You think you imagined
the rain. You wake up in your own
bed, wet and shivering, still waiting,
a bottle of pepsi, warm and flat,
sitting on your table.
The other night in that delicious not-completely-asleep state called hypnagogia, I found myself walking up the long front steps of my childhood library. I felt happy anticipation as I carried a stack of books to return, knowing I could bring home a freshly enticing stack. I set the books on the returns side of the tall circulation desk, which was as high as my shoulders, so in this make-believe state I was a child again.
I asked the clerk at the desk what story I needed. (I never did this as a kid, I simply found my own books.) She silently lifted a finger and pointed me in the direction of my home away from home — the children’s section. I don’t remember, in real life, ever talking to the children’s librarian or even if there was one. But in my dream the children’s librarian indicated I should sit in one of the miniature chairs at a miniature table. She sat across from me. She wore a white blouse, tucked in, and half-glasses that slid partway down her nose. (Sorry for that stereotype. Or was it more archetype?)
I asked her what story I needed. She didn’t speak either. Instead she reached up to the crown of her head and unzipped. Inside her human costume she flickered through a series of curiously aware creatures, morphing right there in front of me into wildly colorful birds, softly furred mammals, mysterious deep sea beings, until everything settled into one living body. I could see she was showing me herself as a glossy gray seal with large inquisitive eyes. This seal being was beautifully and perfectly who she was, really.Laura Grace Weldon, What Story Do You Need Right Now?
10:30AM: Toddler woke up too early, so has a melt down at the library, and we scurry home for an early lunch, and to finish the rest of our schoolwork.Renee Emerson, how a poem gets written (by a homeschooling mom of five)
11:30AM: I set my oldest up to make some cookies for an event tomorrow, put on the math video lesson for my 2nd grader because she’s struggling with a concept, check my oldest two kids work (I hover around and help them as they need it, but they are fairly independent). The toddler and 5 year old also watch the math video and my toddler falls asleep.
12:30PM: Lunch for me, quiet rest time for the others (which means reading, playing quietly, or listening to audio books). I usually set a timer for an hour to keep us on track, and I work on teaching my online classes, writing, blogging, etc.
1:30PM: Piano practice! I get the toddler up from nap, everyone out the door and to our piano teacher’s house. We stay an hour while the oldest two take piano lessons, and I get some time with my 2nd grader and her reading practice while the two youngest play.
2:00PM: Reading practice is done, and the three youngest are playing. I read a few poems from an anthology, then finish writing a poem I’ve been working on this week. I usually write a line or two a day, and rearrange stanzas, edit, as I go along. Today the poem felt finished, so I’ll type it up tonight (I always draft by hand–it’s very messy).
Every February 11th for the past two decades at least, the same thing happens. At some point I suddenly realize that it’s the anniversary of Plath’s suicide, and every year, I am surprised that indeed another year has passed without her in the world that could have still had her in it had things worked out differently. Books that could have been written. Awards and accolades that could have been won (which she craved), More and better loves, more words, more paintings. Just more. While she may not have lived to be in her early 90s at this point, she would have had many more years in the world that would have loved and demanded her work.
Or I like to think it would have, but it’s also wrapped up in the complication that one of the reasons that Plath is so famous and so loved is that she did not live past 30. I always try to list the poets that were Plath’s contemporaries that had long careers–Mary Oliver, and Adrienne Rich. Or Linda Pastan, also born in 1932, for example, whose recent passing was mourned by a number of poets I know who appreciated her work greatly. They all did well. Went on to write more, love more, become mentors for younger poets, and thrive as teachers and writers. But outside of literary-specific world, they’re not quite the household name that Plath is among the normies. Part of it might have been the success of The Bell Jar, and her fame as a prose writer, but even that is complicated by her very famous death and the book’s related subject matter.
I’ve no doubt we’d still be reading Plath if she’d lived, though I suspect the sad girl cult, of which I am a member, sometimes wouldn’t have made her a patron goddess (along with Taylor Swift and Tori Amos…lol..). Because I learned everything I knew of the lit world from reading Plath’s work and journals and letters when I was 19, she is still something at the heart of my own writing, even as my poems have changed and developed over more than two decades. It took me a little longer to fully appreciate the craft and skill of Ariel, which I grew to become enamored with (so much so that I wrote centos drawn from it with honey machine.) What happens on the other side of depression when you climb out of it and dust yourself off? Would her work have been as furious and full of blood if she’d calmly reached middle age? We’ll never know.Kristy Bowen, feathery turnings
I believe I’ve read every book about Elizabeth Bishop’s life and work. At this point I know the narrative of her life as if it were my own: the death of her father, followed by her mother’s being sent to a psychiatric hospital (never to return), Bishop’s dislocation between sets of grandparents, her meeting Marianne Moore just after college, a trip to Brazil and intense allergic reaction to the fruit of a cashew. Her lifelong alcoholism; her many lovers — including the assistant secretary in the English department at the University of Washington—with whom Bishop moved to San Francisco with….and then disastrously to Brazil…but that’s another story.
Somewhere, in all that reading I came across this little known fact: Elizabeth Bishop always kept a compass in her pocket. (If you know where I read this please, let me know!) I found this fact revelatory. Bishop wrote about her love of binoculars and this seemed to offer a sense of continuity in the image I had formed of her: birdwatcher, traveler, watercolorist — and brilliant poet. I had tried writing about her before but this “little-known fact” somehow was the portal I needed.
If you are a poet, and if you love Bishop, there’s a good chance you are one; I offer this suggestion: find an obscure fact about a poet you admire and see if the object can open a doorway into a new poem for you.Susan Rich, Elizabeth Bishop: A Couple of Facts and Some Fabulousness
The skeleton wasn’t in the closet. It was hanging in my father’s study. A human skeleton. There was also a shelf of fetuses suspended in liquid. Animal fetuses, though I thought they were human and that one was my elder brother, if he’d been born. I knew my mother had had a miscarriage before me. My father was a medical student and then a doctor. This wasn’t some macabre hobby. It was professional.
But I didn’t find these things strange or macabre. They seemed natural. Just part of my dad’s work, part—or parts—of all us. It was the equivalent of listening to music and then seeing the instruments. Or listening to language and knowing it was made up of letters. Bodies as signs in the language of living. […]
Remember those anatomy illustrations in the encyclopedia made of layers of transparent pages? Turn a page, and the skin disappears. Turn another and the nerves are gone. Then arteries and veins. The heart. Lungs. Other organs. The last page was the bones alone. More naked than naked. It ain’t no sin to take off your skin and dance around in your bones. Then like playing a movie backwards, you could reclothe the body in itself, gift wrapping the self in its own skin. Then finally, close the encyclopedia and clothe the body, front and back, in encyclopedia pages. The book was a bed or a coffin for the naked body.Gary Barwin, MEAT AND BONES
When I was working on You Could Make This Place Beautiful, and even before I began writing it in earnest, I read a wide variety of memoirs and essay collections. The genre I tend to read most often is (surprise!) poetry, but as I wrapped my head around this project and what it might look and feel like, I immersed myself in prose. As a poet, I’d been writing primarily along the left side of the page, so it was time to get comfortable with the righthand margin. So much page to explore! A vast frontier!
In all seriousness, it was a challenge for me, leaving my comfort zone and committing to a long, extended form. I’m a whittler as a poet; my poems tend to shrink as I revise, not grow. So as I thought about how to sustain and structure the book, I looked to poets’ memoirs as models. I wanted to see how other writers whose “home genre” was poetry contended with so much real estate.
The other big challenge was one of perspective and point of view—and, let’s face it, vulnerability. In poems, we have a speaker who is not to be mistaken for the poet. Even if I write, “I walked my dog” in a poem, the reader is not to assume that the “I” is me, Maggie Smith, the poet, or even that the dog is Phoebe, my incredibly cute and incredibly lazy Boston terrier. No, there’s at least some artistic distance between speaker and poet, even when we know that the experiences and details are semi-autobiographical.Maggie Smith, A Pep Talk
For want of a clearLuisa A. Igloria, Carry
enough opening in the sky, a comet
remains a green-tailed rumor. What could
you do about the whale that washed up
one day, its hump a dark, ridged thumbprint on
the sable beach? A humpback’s song spans
seven octaves, nearly the entire range
of a piano—You dream of how it carries
in the air: one bloom, one signature like prayer.
This morning, while walking the elderly dog, I ran into a village friend, let’s call him Nial, though that isn’t his real name. Nial is in his 70s, maybe even older, and is wonderfully stoic and opinionated. He walks six miles a day with his collie dog while listening to audio books. We often stop and talk about the state of the country. There is usually swearing. Since he found out I’m a writer, and working on a big project, he usually starts any conversation with ‘how many words today?’ He’s like my writer’s Jiminy Cricket; my external conscience, reminding me to sit down and just write.
Today, no words. All this week, actually, no words. I don’t tell him, but I’m feeling a bit lost right now, a bit vulnerable. I’m still getting up to sit at my desk for the writing hour, still feeling my heart lift when I see a flock of jackdaws cross the orange-streaked sky, still placing my fingers on the keys. But not working on the book. I’m a bit washed out and need to reset my brain after spending January catching up on funding applications, catching up on the magazine, judging poetry competitions. I feel like I might never write again. I also had a few big rejections for poetry lately, work I thought was secure and homed, and now I’m sucked into a pit of imposter syndrome and feeling like I don’t really belong. Belonging, and that sense of not belonging is a big theme in my work. The big project is also sort of about not belonging. I’m finding it unusually difficult this week to lay my heart out on the slab.
I tell Nial that I’m still getting up but that funding applications have taken precedence. Without funding I don’t have the opportunity to spend chunks of time on writing. “I don’t understand it” he says, “I do in a way, because I’d like to write, but I’m no good at it. But I don’t understand why you do it.” Nial doesn’t read well, or write well, he’s got no formal education and left school at fourteen. One of the things we have in common is our working class background. He is fiercely intelligent and driven, and held very high positions in his work, has made huge differences in the charity sector too, he’s a man who sees what needs doing, and does it. He has done exceptionally well for himself. “Why do it, if you can’t make a decent living off it?” I pause for a minute then tell him it’s art, it’s a compulsion. “Ah, like an obsession” “yes, something like that”. Yes, something like that.Wendy Pratt, Putting Your Heart into it
Had the opportunity to share one of Paul Hlava Ceballos’ poems at a reading this week. The poem, “Coronary Angiogram,”* is a fascinating prose poem whose turns of phrase move between two different languages of the heart: the medical and the personal.
There’s also a nod to history and craft in the second stanza:
“At a museum in Quito I saw knots tied along lines of hand-woven silk. Beautiful and multi-colored the Quipus hung, perhaps the coded names of Inkas killed by Spanish, perhaps an art form, or both,”
This image of actual knots and weaving mirrors the weaving of languages that drive the poem. The most stunning moment for me, however, is how the speaker leaves us witnessing another kind of crafted piece, a stanza composed of vertical lines and asterisks.
At first, I was unsure what these represented. The typography here does resemble Quipus in a way, the notes and the threads. Upon listening to the poem at the link (highly encouraged), there’s an additional gift: the sound of windchimes.José Angel Araguz, dispatch 021023
This Federal Trinity has its counterpart in the foundational trinity of Roger Williams, his early mentor Edward Coke and George Berkeley as the forces of law, generosity and idealism that lay behind the foundation of Rhode Island, the Ocean State (another recurring phrase throughout the book), although for me Berkeley, as a slave owner, makes a somewhat uncomfortable hero. Williams was granted the charter for that foundation from Charles II, whose birthday is the Restoration Day of the title, and, as it happens, that date, May 29, is also Rhode Island Statehood Day.
In addition, the famous Royal Oak episode from that king’s story lends into multiple oak/acorn references in the poem, and these in turn inform, by way of a kind of visual pun, the acorn/mandorla/almond iconography that clusters around Gould’s vision of love as well as chiming with a number of oak-built ships, such as the Constitution, that recur and are echoed in William’s use of canoes. The shape is a twinned catenary, the arc of history bending towards justice. These strands, and many others, all help shape a timescape in which, say, Penelope, Williams, Lincoln, JFK and Henry coexist in a timeless time as composite selves: ‘You, my beloved, are a plurality of yourself.’Billy Mills, Continental Shelf: Shorter Poems 1968-2020 and Restoration Day by Henry Gould: a Review
This is a timely collection as women’s rights are being rolled back and not just in America. Jane Rosenberg LaForge has created an empathetic collection that explores and questions attitudes towards women’s roles and the lack of control and autonomy women are granted even over their own bodies. Readers are left to speculate whether the aunt never became a teacher because she could no longer stand to be around children or because her chronic conditions, the consequence of not being able to access proper healthcare, prevented her. Either way, a life that had purpose became one without. And the consequences reached far beyond one woman.Emma Lee, “My Aunt’s Abortion” Jane Rosenberg LaForge (BlazeVOX) – book review
Produced as a triptych of fragment-accumulations—“: sunup :,” “: day :” and “: dusk :”—San Francisco poet and editor Sarah Heady’s [see her ’12 or 20 questions’ interview here] latest poetry collection is the full-length Comfort (New York NY: Spuyten Duyvil, 2022), a collage/response work that plays off the language of a New England journal produced for farm housewives. As she writes to open her “NOTES” at the back of the collection:
Comfort magazine was published in Augusta, Maine between 1888 and 1942. Its tagline was “The Key to Happiness and Success in Over a Million Farm Homes.” Aimed at rural housewives, it began as a thinly-veiled vehicle for selling Oxien, a cure-all snake oil, with subscribers receiving discounts and bonus gifts for signing up their female friends—perhaps an early multi-level marketing scheme. At the same time, it provided a valuable source of virtual companionship for women who led isolated lives all across the United States. Much of the found language in this book comes from issues of Comfort published in the 1910s and 1920s.
The initial structure of the collection, as she notes as well, was influenced by Philadelphia poet Pattie McCarthy, specifically her marybones (Berkeley CA: Apogee Press, 2013) [see my review of such here]. To open her “ACKNOWLEDGMENTS,” Heady notes that: “Comfort would not exist without the work of Pattie McCarthy. I am indebted especially to her book Marybones, which directly inspired the form of this book’s prose blocks. Thank you for showing me new ways to work with found language and the historical record.” On her part, Heady collages elements from the archive and found language to weave together a boundless expansion of fragments and accumulations, pinpoints and sweeps of prose lyric. As with McCarthy, Heady writes around the marketing directed towards historical women, offering insight into the possibilities of the realities of their labour and lives, and the ways that they were depicted through this particular journal. The poems in Comfort articulate that divide through collage and collision of found and archival material, propelled through language and a staccato of disconnect that thread their way across the length and breadth of her book-length canvas. There is something interesting in how her exploration through a borrowed structure opens her lyric, allowing for the spaces between and amid her lyric to be as populated and powerful as the words she sets down. Blending concrete description and scattered collage, she writes of rural women and the weather; she writes of recipes and the wish for a new stove, all stretched taut across each distance like a drum.rob mclennan, Sarah Heady, Comfort
It is marvelous how [Marguerite] Duras conjures up a poetic intensity from very simple situations. The paraphrasable plot is laughably simple, but the patterning of language and incident is masterly. There are intensifiers deployed—a limited time and place, the intoxication of alcohol, the murder of one’s lover, music, a storm—but all woven in so naturally that they seem to come from within the characters, rather than without. The man and the girl would find their way to the park bench one afternoon because they are who they are. The method is to bypass psychology to aim straight for the formal, and intense, emotion.Jee Leong Koh, Four Novels by Marguerite Duras
I’m convinced that when we look back upon the current decade we will come to realise that it has been a golden age for poetry when a succession of impressively talented new poets were discovered by the editors of small poetry presses. Add to that list the name, Katy Mahon, a poet from Northern Ireland, who made her debut in 2022 with a pamphlet, Some Indescribable Cord (Dreich). You only have to read the first poem in this small collection to be impressed. […]
Mahon acknowledges that it took her some time to realise that it is writing rather than music that provides the creative fulfilment she sought. In Shaping Words she describes herself as a sort of gardener of words: ‘I pluck them out// like seeds from a fattened grape/ and plant them on paper/ with blue-black ink, and watch// as they grow ripe, changing form/ against the darkening night.’ The image is a powerful one: it implies that writing is life-enhancing, sustaining, and fulfilling, but perhaps above all, it provides a sense of self-sufficiency, a means of cutting the chord and of emerging from ‘semi-darkness.’ Mahon came late to writing, but here is one reader that is delighted she has found her true vocation. Like a musical chord, her vibrant poems have a lasting resonance that continues to reverberate long after you have read them.Nigel Kent, Review of ‘Some Indefinable Cord’ by Katy Mahon
How important is music to your poetry?
Very. I’ve loved and been involved with music almost all my life, from elementary school choir to musical theatre to singing contemporary music to singing in my present church choir for more than twenty years. The rigour of baroque music thrills me, as do the more raw rhythms of western Medieval music. But I also love the music of my own time. The three songwriters that have likely influenced me most as a poet are Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, and Bruce Cockburn. All are musical geniuses and their lyrics can be immortally beautiful. Paul Simon in particular is brilliant at making poetry out of the patter of everyday speech.
Music lives in the body and in a poem in much the same way. It integrates us in a way nothing else seems to be able to.Diane Tucker : part five (Thomas Whyte)
Let’s face it, writing can be hard. There will always be people who do not want to do the work of writing from the soul, brain, heart, emotion, experience, dread, you-name-it. Painting is hard, too. But people who don’t want to practice and experiment with visual art can use paint by numbers, clip art, or AI. There will always be a few folks who learn to play an instrument for the joy of it and for the challenge of continually learning new approaches to the process of music making; the rest of us can be audiences, if we like. People who write because they can’t not write? They won’t use bots unless they want to experiment with them: make perverse use of the programs, play with them to see what the human’s skills can do in concert with algorithms, bits, bytes, and data. I know artists who are already collaging with AI-generated art to create new, human-mediated visuals.
I recognize the fear factor here, but I don’t buy into it because I am so curious about what will happen next. I’m interested to see how changes will occur, which changes will make a difference and which ones will just vanish, and whether pedagogy will develop toward, away from, or parallel to AI developments in numerous spheres–to name just three of numerous possibilities. Change is exciting, but it’s also hard. I can’t say I am as excited about adapting my fall semester syllabus to reflect whatever the university decides to do in light of ChatGPT, but since I’ll have to adapt to a new “learning management system” anyway, I may as well accept that “a change is gonna come.”Ann E. Michael, Automatic writing
marram grassesJim Young [no title]
the blown anonymity
of shifting dunes
It’s almost Valentine’s Day, which this year will fall on a snowy Tuesday. I am ready for spring, not more snow! Glenn got me some beautiful tulips and put together a little tableau with my new book. Wine, tulips, a good book—what more could I ask for on a winter’s day?
Speaking of which, I got an advanced copy of Rachel Zucker’s The Poetics of Wrongness, which is a series of essay/lectures about things that are wrong—for instance, even the idea of a lecture! It’s thought-provoking and enjoyable reading, especially if you’ve read some of Zucker’s other prose (or follow her podcast).Jeannine Hall Gailey, Where I’ll Be at AWP, Almost Valentine’s, the Poetics of Wrongness, and Flare Corona Makes Its Way into the World – and a First Review
The week before my reading, I went to a Saturday afternoon fundraiser for Ukraine at Doncaster Ukrainian Centre Club, at which Ian, Sarah Wimbush (the organiser) and Joe Williams were the featured poets among an open mic session of most of the Read to Write regulars and other poets from further afield, beautifully MC’d by Mick Jenkinson. I’d recently read Sarah’s marvellous Bloodaxe collection, Shelling Peas with My Grandmother in the Gorgiolands, available here, having previously enjoyed and admired her pamphlet Bloodlines, so hearing her read from it was a delight. The whole afternoon was a pleasure. As ever with open mics, you never know quite what you’re going to get, but in this instance, the overall standard was refreshingly high.
Despite practising beforehand, I felt a bit ‘ring-rusty’ when I read at Balby, but the group were so warm and lovely that any nerves I had soon vanished. The questions were good ones and kept me firmly on my toes – they’re a very knowledgeable group. Up and down the UK, local groups are the lifeblood of poetry, especially for those who are just starting out, and might not have read or written poetry since they were at school. In this case, the group impressively encompasses writers at different points on their poetry journey. I hope to get along regularly to the group’s sessions once I have a bit more time, which I hope to have later this year.Matthew Paul, On a reading for Read to Write
Last night, I attended the baptism of a newly born tear.
Its parents were joy and sorrow.
I press my ear to the clock, but cannot hear into the past or future, only the moment’s tickings.
All things magical, all things mournful.
If we are fortunate, everything comes to us in equal measure.Rich Ferguson, Newtonian
Rubble, rumble, toil, trouble. All week long, a poem wrestled with me, and I within it. It held me tightly in its grip, everything onomapoetic with rubble. Emotions far outweighed thought: I grabbed at words, poor human with a pen, hoping something might eventually be interpretable.
Early Thursday morning, it released me. It hatched me like a clean and happy chick. You know the feeling, lying there dazzled and wondrous at nothing at all.
In this post-ness, there is no big vision. The nuzzling of two green things inside a streak of sun: a chlorophyllic fingered leaf lays its consolation on a celery green couch. Estranged family. The live plant remembers that the cloth, the weave, flax, linen, may have been an ancestor. The roll of a warmbody in bed on a cool morning. The squeal of a trumpet in a big band. The bend of a head. Tenderness in the gesture, an open field of peace.Jill Pearlman, Rubble, Rumble, Toil, Trouble