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, a journey from oneness to war zones, Parkinson’s, purity laws, reasons to live, living in the moment, being around other poets, UK National Poetry Day, The Frogmore Papers, Elizabeth Bishop, adventures with keyboards, temporary skin, counter-propaganda, a salty love letter, German Unity Day, patterns of breakage, haunted houses, a poet dispossessed by the Manhattan Project, wastelands, nighthawks, mentors, eggs and awakenings.
After the festival, the laundry.
After the festival, exhaustion
and punch-drunk laughter.
Collapsing into the armchair
and absently petting the cat.
After the festival, silence rings.
There’s so much to do — building
and repair, a new name for God,
making all our promises real.
But not today. Today, gratitudeRachel Barenblat, After the festival
for the washing machine, swirling
my Yom Kippur whites clean.
there is a thing about the universe i love and that is that i am an integral part of it i have come in contact with many great holy thinkers they all have one thing in common and that is the oneness of everything even the electric impulses of our thoughts are part of it and so there is no one who cannot be my friend no application to fill out boxes to check or gifts to leave at my feet some of the best gifts i have received were from artists philosophers religious teachers of all faiths and musicians playing just the right notes in just the right moment on September 24, 2022 the great sax player and composer Pharoah Sanders left his body and still he is with me right now… when i die i will go nowhere and remain with him and with you enjoy this poem
cloudsMichael Rehling, Haibun 214: journey into one
shape into faces
do you see mine…
Under the falling leavesMagda Kapa, Say
I touch your footprints,
when hearing the news,
I hear your sighs
and when others speak,
I know what you’re saying.
I suppose, this morning, as I see a photo of children lighting candles in a shelter in Dnipro and another of people lying dead in a road somewhere in the middle of this latest war zone, what follows is, in its tiny way, a personal manifesto.
For me at least, writing is not an escape route, it’s a method of confronting the chaos.
I’m not about to tell anyone else what to do or criticise them for seeing things differently. This is about my own sense of responsibility and nothing more.
I have always seen writing as primarily a political act. Yes, of course, there must be light amongst the shade, of course there must be a time to do something just plain daft or laugh with the general absurdities of how we cope with living alongside each other, but even this is in the context of a response to the general madness of the world. If I seek peace in some poems, it is a quest, an act of running towards not an act of running away.Bob Mee, THE PRIMARY JOB OF A POET IS TO CONFRONT THE CHAOS
When a friend tells me
about her father, his Parkinson’s,
his dementia, his shuffling feet,
we are no longer
two separate women
two separate men
but a small congregation
of daughters and fathers.
Daughters whose hearts ache
for the dads who were rocks
and heroes. Fathers who worry
over losses they cannot name.
What can we do but listenLynne Rees, Poem ~ Daughters, Fathers
to each other and say, thank you.
Remember when our little hands
felt safe inside our dads’? The warmth.
6 – Do you have any theoretical concerns behind your writing? What kinds of questions are you trying to answer with your work? What do you even think the current questions are?
Prevailing concerns I have are: What do we hear in the silence? And how do the words live off the page?
Some of the questions I worked to answer in Qorbanot were: What does it mean to “offer”? How do I translate the ancient practice of sacrificial offering into my life in the 21st century? How can a poem be an offering, or a book an altar upon which I place what I have to give? What does it mean to write one’s own sacred texts? What is it about giving up something that makes it a meaningful act of worship? Why the obsession with purity laws in Judaism, and how has this affected the way we relate to animal bodies and our own bodies? How do we reconcile these ancient, fleshly, violent rituals with Judaism and, more broadly, Western religion today? Do humans have an inherent tendency toward violence? Can we find parallels to sacrifice in recent history, such as war, politics or environmental issues?
The main question currently occupying my writer’s mind is: How can we find more language around suicide to better express its nuances, complexities, and diverse motivations? I’ve also been contemplating the relationship between depression and anger. And I’ve been grappling with how to share my story in a way that serves as a resource for others and, at the same time, protects my own vulnerability.
7 – What do you see the current role of the writer being in larger culture? Do they even have one? What do you think the role of the writer should be?
I don’t think the writer has one role. There are so many different kinds of writers with different roles they can take on. A writer can serve as a lighthouse illuminating the moment in which we are living. The writer can be a dreamer, a prophet. The writer can be a court jester. The writer can offer medicine. And some writers have a role for themselves alone, to which the rest of the world is not privy.rob mclennan, 12 or 20 (second series) questions with Alisha Kaplan
I’m at a Claire Benn surface design workshop at the Crow Timber Barn in Ohio. This first week we are in ‘free fall,’ which means we are to have no intentions but simply follow the guidelines Claire gives us. The idea is to explore our tools and media and work in a kind of “call and response” way. We respond to whatever mark we make on the canvas. We are working with acrylic, a medium I have rarely used, so that we can work quickly and not worry about batching.
We were asked to pick three images or a piece of writing that resonated with us. We then spent time journaling words and phrases that the image or writing evoked in us. We were provided with a 10 foot by about 3 foot scroll of muslin that had been pre-primed with a 1-1 solution of liquid gel medium and water. We were asked to pick a six-color palette plus black and white.
I started with an image of a banana flower, an angel’s trumpet, and a poem, “Reasons to Live: the Color Red.”Sheryl St. Germain, Acrylic, Acrylic and more Acrylic
Of turmeric and ginger and the deep-tinted
hearts of beet, the tight-curled fists of iris— I want
to know how they can trust so completely in that
idea of return, even as animals turn fields into stubble
and bees begin their clustered pulsing to give their heat
to the hive. Here, where we feed each other to keep alive,
I am wary and always watching for any sign you might slip
away without me into that room soundproofed with loam, un-Luisa A. Igloria, Perennate
windowed: for how would I break its walls without breaking?
When you’re helpless in a hospital bed, scanned, hooked up to monitors, not allowed to get up without assistance, you might be locked into a scary emotional place. I was. To escape my fear, I decided to move outward, and use my curiosity and writer brain. I began to observe people and activities instead of worrying about myself. What would a writer do? I interviewed people, asking each nurse and technician to tell me their story. How did they come to be in this field, to work in this hospital, and where did they come from? People are endlessly full of stories. Many of my nurses were from other parts of the world. Some were seasoned nurses, some brand-new. One night nurse was worried she wasn’t appreciated. She asked if I could nominate her for a nursing award. I did. We talked about books and reading, other hospitals and healthcare. […]
My writerly adventure included asking everyone who came to my room if they read fiction. That started a whole new conversation. Almost every one of them was a reader. My day nurse turned out to be a big reader! We compared notes about helping aging parents through illnesses. She gave me ideas for a sequel to The Invisibles when she told me how she and her siblings rotate taking in and caring for their mom.Rachel Dacus, A Writerly Adventure in the Hospital
Another Monday after an uneventful weekend. The days slide by in a gray wash lately. I can’t seem to get enough sleep. When I walk Leonard, sometimes my head is full of words that disappear before I reach home. I suppose it makes no difference really. I thought the thoughts, which in some ways is no different than writing them. It is just a question of time really until anything will disappear. Or become so warped by translations of language and culture that it isn’t what it was anyway. It makes the entire idea of authorship immediate, and maybe irrelevant except for that tiny shove of influence that a bit of dust has on the air current in a closed room.
Again it comes back to living in the moment – the moment containing the past and future, morphing continuously. There is a phrase at the edge of my memory about… and I’ve lost it.
It’s odd how sometimes these things will circle back and enter my consciousness more defined. In a sunbeam.
Saturday the sky held a rainbow the entire time we drove into town. My sense of direction is so poor that I couldn’t be sure if it were moving, or if we were winding over the landscape. I should look at maps more often.Ren Powell, Not Regret
The Skagit Poetry Festival was this weekend and it was really fun to sort of dip my toe back into social literary events again. I got to see a lot of old friends, picked up some books, stopped by some of my favorite places – Roozengaarde Flower Farm and Museum of Northwest Art in La Conner, WA. And we had terrible air in Woodinville, so fleeing to La Conner for better air was a good bet. I’m looking forward to tonight’s reading and will have more pictures next week, I swear.
It was wonderful and therapeutic to be outside without worrying about asthma or burning eyes, especially with all the flowers. It was also wonderful and therapeutic to be around writers and book again, in a somewhat-almost normal setting. Some friends I hadn’t seen in over a year at least. And just being around poets gives you a feeling of…not being so alone in being a poet.Jeannine Hall Gailey, Skagit Poetry Festival and a Trip to La Conner, A Visit with my Brother and Bathing Hummingbirds, and Socializing Again While Trying to Dodge the Smoke
David and I have just returned from a wonderfully sunny day on the beach at Aldeburgh, where we joined other members of Suffolk Poetry Society (SPS) for the traditional National Poetry Day reading at the South Lookout, thanks to our Patron and host, Caroline Wiseman, and to members of the SPS committee who had organised the event.
We took the #NationalPoetryDay theme of the environment, which gave rise to a variety of largely serious poems on subjects as diverse as the ocean (and the devastation caused by plastic, oil slicks and pollution), a field where there had once been hedges with birds, and a beach with fossils. While acknowledging the gravitas of the Climate Crisis, we appreciated the occasional moments of wry humour which added to the sense of light and shade.
I read ‘Puffin’s Assembly’* from my poetry collection, Driftwood by Starlight, published last year by The Seventh Quarry Press (and available here for £6.99/$10).
The chip shop was still open at the end of the readings, and proved more than some of us could resist!Caroline Gill, National Poetry Day 2022 on Aldeburgh Beach
Last week I was in Lewes for the launch of The Frogmore Papers‘ 100th issue, an amazing feat, and under the editorship of Jeremy Page the whole time. We heard readings from some of the contributors and from co-founder Andre Evans on how it all began in a cafe in Folkestone. It’s a lovely story, and having heard it a few times it’s now taken on almost mythic status, up there with Aeneas crossing the Mediterranean to found the city of Rome, or Phil Knight making rubber outsoles on his mum’s waffle machine for the first Nike trainers. Anyway, having read the edition from cover to cover I can confirm it’s a fine book – and let’s face it, some of our ‘little magazines’ coming in at 90 pages or more deserve to be called books. On that subject, I can also recommend Prole 33 which recently arrived, weighing in at 140 pages (although about half of it is short stories.)
The Lewes event was also the launch of Clare Best‘s new collection, End of Season (Fine di Stagione), published by the Frogmore Press, in which the poems are presented in both English and Italian. It was lovely to hear both Clare and Jeremy reading the poems in both languages – very evocative. I’m enjoying the book especially as it is about a beautiful place on Lake Maggiore called Cannero where Nick and I stayed for a week back in 2019 (on Clare’s recommendation).Robin Houghton, National Poetry Day (week of)
The Frogmore Papers is one of my favourite poetry magazines. In fact, it’s accompanied me pretty much throughout my poetic life. Looking back through my records before writing this blog post, I noticed I first had a poem in its pages in Issue 57 back in 2001. That was followed by another in Issue 68 (2006), a third in Issue 76 (2010) and two more in Issue 81 (2013).
Jeremy Page, as well as being the journal’s founder and long-time editor, is also an excellent poet, so it’s a privilege whenever he chooses my work for publication. As a consequence, I’m especially pleased to have a further two poems in the brand-new commemorative 100th issue alongside the likes of Simon Armitage.Matthew Stewart, The Frogmore Papers’ 100th Issue
Having savoured Colm Tóibín’s book On Elizabeth Bishop, I then re-read words on Bishop by another great Irish writer, Eavan Boland: the chapter ‘Elizabeth Bishop: an unromantic American’ in her wonderful book A Journey with Two Maps (Carcanet, 2011), available here.
The focus of that book is on Boland’s own poetic journey and how women poets helped her shape her ideas about how she could relate in poems her own experience as a woman, wife, and mother; therefore, her thoughts on Bishop are somewhat subsumed to that purpose. Nonetheless, Boland’s discussion of Bishop’s ‘tone’, as distinct from her ‘voice’, is illuminating. As is her dissection of ‘At the Fishhouses’, from Cold Spring (1955), available to read here: rightly, she notes that, in amongst Bishop’s usual litany of precise visual perceptions, there lurks a “superb meditation on water as an emblem of tragic knowledge”, interrupted by the lighthearted, cameo appearance of a seal: ‘He was curious about me. He was interested in music; / like me a believer in total immersion, / so I used to sing him Baptist hymns’.
While Tóibín highlights Bishop’s paradoxical observation, ‘as if the water were a transmutation of fire’, Boland’s commentary stops short of addressing the last 19 lines of the poem, in which Bishop’s description of the sea reaches a tidal crescendo, culminating in the poem’s brilliant, six-line final sentence:
It is like what we imagine knowledge to be:
dark, salt, clear, moving, utterly free,
drawn from the cold hard mouth
of the world, derived from the rocky breasts
forever, flowing and drawn, and since
our knowledge is historical, flowing, and flown.
If a poet took lines like these to a workshop nowadays, the response would no doubt be that the poet should axe at least half the adjectives.Matthew Paul, On (Eavan Boland and Colm Tóibín, again, on) Elizabeth Bishop
Yesterday I went to a harvest festival event on campus–it was primarily for those of us living here, and I did have a chance to meet and talk to some students I had only seen from a distance, plus there was lunch. Over a never-ending bowl of kale harvest salad, I answered questions, like why I chose a Methodist seminary over a Lutheran one.
I answered that this seminary is one of few that has a track in Theology and the Arts, and one student asked what kind of art I do. I said, “I’m a poet, and I do visual arts and fiber arts.”
She asked, “What kind of poems do you write?”
I tried to keep my answer simple, but I fumbled a bit at first. “Well, I don’t write formal poems. I’m not concerned about iambs.” Then I shifted: “I want to write a poem about an autumn leaf that will make you look at autumn leaves in a new way, that you’ll think about this new way of looking at a leaf any time in the future that you see one.”
And then I asked questions about them, the way I have been trained to do. But I continued to think about my answer. The mean voice in my brain broke in periodically to remind me of how long it’s been since I’ve written a poem and how dare I even think of myself as a poet.
This morning, I resolved to finish a draft I started in the last week. I have been continuing to work with abandoned lines, and last week, I wrote a few lines to go with one that I took from my master list. And this morning, that draft is gone. I had a computer issue earlier this week where the computer stopped saving my written work–at least, I think that’s what happened. I had done a Save As for several documents, and those got saved as the earlier document. This morning, I discovered the empty page instead of the rough draft of my poem.Kristin Berkey-Abbott, Self-Definitions: the Poet Edition
The shift to a screen, a keyboard remains a critical transition. On screen, or on a phone, typed lines acquire an inertial resistance to being changed. On screen, I find my eye starts to narrow down to look at the poem’s physical shape and appearance on a would-be page. Such aspects are important in the long run, but they can prematurely cool the fluidity of the molten drafting process if they dominate too early. Beware the linearity of the screen!
But once it’s there, now I’m thinking ‘economy’. A linguistic cosmetic surgeon, I cut off verbal flab, repetition, redundancy. Crossing out is my most familiar activity. The American poet, Louise Gluck, says that a writer’s only real exercise of will “is negative: we have toward what we write the power of veto”. One of the keys to this is reading aloud. I go the whole hog: standing as if to deliver to an audience. Loud. And. Clear. This helps me listen to rhythm and line breaks. Actually, for any writer of poetry, prose, essays for your course, reading aloud highlights stumbling blocks of all kinds. My sense of the ebb and flow of a poem is always clarified because I distract myself in the physical act of standing and speaking. I experience my words more objectively, more as my potential reader would. Try it. It’s a revelation!Martyn Crucefix, ‘How I Write’ – a second brief Royal Literary Fund talk
How much waste
do you want to
to get a good one
the old monk askedTom Montag, THREE OLD MONK POEMS (328)
I have wonderful news! My new poetry collection “Temporary Skin” (my first one in English!) was accepted for publication by Glass Lyre Press. I couldn’t be happier and more excited about working with the Glass Lyre team. I love the authors they publish, the high quality of their books, their amazing covers! I know my manuscript is in good hands. I wish my mom were here to see this miracle in progress. She would have given me tips on how to deal with this overwhelming joy swirling inside me, making my fingertips tingle. I’m going to have a book, y’all!Romana Iorga, Her Dark Materials
Karlo Sevilla of Quezon City, Philippines is the author of the full-length poetry book Metro Manila Mammal (Soma Publishing, 2018) and the smaller collections You (Origami Poems Project, 2017) and Outsourced! . . . (Revolt Magazine, 2021). In 2018, his work was recognized among that year’s Best of Kitaab, won runner-up in the Submittable-Centric Poetry Contest, and placed third in Tanggol Wika’s DALITEXT poetry contest. In 2021, his poem made it to the shortlist of the annual Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition. His poems appear in Philippines Graphic, Philippines Free Press, DIAGRAM, Protean, Better Than Starbucks, and elsewhere. He is currently a student in the Associate in Arts program of the University of the Philippines Open University.
What are you working on?
I have just submitted almost 70 of my previously published poems (in several literary magazines and other platforms) for a website that will be put up exclusively for them. The website is a side project of a group of undergraduate university students who major in Multimedia Arts. It will serve as accompaniment to their final thesis: a short animated film inspired by my other poems. In short, both their final thesis and its side project are all about my poetry. These students are risking their college graduation by choosing my poetry as main source material for their thesis, haha! Seriously, I’m grateful to these young people for reaching out to me from out of the blue with their emailed proposal, and now they’re halfway done with their short film.
At first, I was ambivalent because I have long considered gathering my poems in a manuscript again for consideration for print publication as my second full-length poetry collection. But I ultimately favored this student project and have a third of my previously published poems freely accessible in one website. I opted for the latter because I feel the urgency to make available online more texts that heighten awareness of human rights violations and social injustices in the Philippines that remain unresolved from the infamous Marcos dictatorship to the likewise murderous Duterte administration. Under our current president who happens to be the son and namesake of the late dictator, the administration has been lying and denying that such atrocities happened during his father’s reign. Worse, the son claims that the years under his father’s iron rule that was also marked by economic crisis was the Golden Age of our country.
The poems I selected are invariably political propaganda pieces – on “different levels.” Collectively, they are a small voice/counter-propaganda, among others that give the lie to the government’s false narratives. (I’m also glad for this project because it gives me the chance to share my poems again, with needed revisions in some of them.)Thomas Whyte, Karlo Sevilla : part one
Rakhshan Rizwan was originally from Pakistan and has lived in Germany and the Netherlands before moving to the USA. The poems explore what it’s like not to belong, to be politely received but not fully welcomed and the imprint Europe has had on the writer. […]
Rizwan deploys humour rather than ranting or complaining. She doesn’t name racism, but it’s clear that’s the source of the disconnections. “Europe Love Me Back” is a salty love letter, not entirely unrequited, but from a lover who didn’t feel seen. From a lover who felt they made all the right connections, sent the right signals, searched for commonalities, links, threads but attempted to hook-up with someone who only saw differences, reasons not to continue the affair.Emma Lee, “Europe, Love Me Back” Rakhshan Rizwan (The Emma Press) – book review
Monday was German Unity Day, and it was also the day the Berlin Lit launched their first issue with poems for a range of poets, some who are new to me, and some I recognise like Alice Miller, and John Glenday. And me with my poem, The Long Game. My thanks to Matthew McDonald for accepting it. Having recently read and loved John Glenday’s Selected Poems, it feels quite surreal to be in the same place as him, but I’ll absolutely take it.
It’s always nice to be in on the ground floor of these things (as it was with TFP…NB just realised today that I have to choose between shortening The Friday Poem or The Frogmore Papers to TFP), especially with a poem that has had a very long gestation period.
I started it when the article that inspired it was published in 2013, so to be here 9 years later with a published poem feels like dedication has been needed (much like the game that inspired it). I should have tried to work in the line about “burning magnesium in a pumpkin”.
I shared the poem with the three mates that I dedicated it to and one replied, “That’s nice, mate. I don’t get it, but that’s poetry”. Or words to that effect, the language he chose was different. It certainly helps keep your feet on the ground.Mat Riches, Impossible Germany
Things break in predictable ways. The shard, the
jagged edge and the dust cloud follow a rule, a
pattern, a story. The way day breaks over and
over again without complaint, the way a promise
is broken without a sigh, without ceremony,Rajani Radhakrishnan, Part 16
the way silence breaks without a word, without
a sob. The way we broke without ever being
As I was putting the final touches on AUTOMAGIC last night, it is so fraught with ghosts…the fortune tellers in the strange victorian futurist landscape of the ordinary planet poems. The haunted sisters in unusual creatures. The Eleanor series and the more violent, sinister underpinnings of the bird artist and the HH Holmes stuff. More than any other recent book, this is a predominantly fictional, narrative world without much involvement from me. And at that, like GIRL SHOW, one set entirely in the past. I, as a speaker, as a character, am absent from this book. But then again, not absent at all. It seemed fitting last night to be rounding things out as the wind howled and heavy, cold drops of rain hit the windows. I am running the space heater daily until they turn on the radiators, which management has dutifully promised this weekend. In this weather, I am sleeping well–too well–a dead-to-the-world slumber that makes my arms ache from remaining too much in the same position wound amidst my pillows (I am a side and stomach sleeper–never my back) I also have the same chronological impairment every change in seasons brings, never quite understanding internally what time it is–the light being so different from summer.Kristy Bowen, poetry as haunted house
before the house sale was agreed
buyers demanded the ghosts be removed
so contractors were appointed
the workers arrived to divest the property
loading reluctant spectres into sealed skips
driving them away to wherever unwanted memories languish
that ambushing taste on the tonguePaul Tobin, A FACE HALF GLIMPSED
a face half glimpsed in the crowd
the 4am telephone that rings and rings and rings
My article on the early poetry of Peggy Pond Church is coming out soon. She was a central figure in the Santa Fe and Taos arts scene from the 1920s on, appearing in Alice Corbin Henderson’s influential modernist anthology The Turquoise Trail (1928), and the experience of reading her poetry is, as they say, something else. My essay concentrates on Church’s first two collections, Foretaste (1933) and Familiar Journey (1936). Though I touch on her third collection, Ultimatum for Man (1946), toward the end of the essay, it comes in as kind of a coda to the wild stuff that is happening in her first two.
But there’s plenty more that could be said about Ultimatum, much of which veers into the sociopolitical and, given its subject matter, remains relevant today (I’m thinking here of the prospect of nuclear war that a power-mad despot is currently threatening Ukraine with, but there’s wider application of course, e.g. to issues of climate change and environmental degradation, beyond the fact of the stunning experience of reading Church’s poetry as an aesthetic undertaking). Without duplicating what I’ve written in my forthcoming article, I will say that there I analyze poems in her first two collections through the lens of what Timothy Morton has termed “dark ecology” (with a nod to the scholar Sarah Daw, who has analyzed Church’s letters and diaries in this manner before me). Far from whatever stereotypes we may have about “nature poetry,” I argue that Church’s poetry of the 1930s is much closer to what we would think of today as ecocritical and material-feminist.
During the Second World War, until early 1943, Church lived at the Los Alamos school (in New Mexico) where her husband was the principal; they were dispossessed of their home to make way for the Manhattan Project, which commandeered the site in order to build the atomic bomb. Church reacted with scathing poems in Ultimatum for Man, such as the collection’s title poem, along with “The Nuclear Physicists,” “Epitaph for Man,” “Newsreel: Dead Enemy,” “For a Son in High School A.D. 1940,” “Lines Written after a Political Argument,” “Comment on a Troubled Era,” and “Jeremiad” (from the latter: “This fury called man, / this fungus / gnawing the polished and hemispheric surface / of our bright earth…”). In the introduction to Church’s New and Selected Poems (1976), T. M. Pearce characterizes Ultimatum as a “turn for Mrs. Church, a turn not away from the landscape line, but an adjustment to a new point of view in which the poet sees individuals as units in a social group” (iii), while Shelley Armitage writes in the introduction to Bones Incandescent: The Pajarito Journals of Peggy Pond Church (2001), “Whereas the lyrical Foretaste and Familiar Journey address a woman’s attempt to balance relationships, her own creative and independent personality, and her desire to develop spiritual bonds with nature, Ultimatum for Man sharply links the personal and creative quests to the meaning of the atomic age, war, and human responsibility” (6). The furor and anger with which Church imbues many of these poems is striking, and she does so in ways that are not merely jeremiadic, but as powerful poems that now more than ever should be revisited.Michael S. Begnal, On Peggy Pond Church’s Ultimatum for Man (1946)
I take the Waste Land as a day-to-day thing. When a dismal, cold slate gray rain falls from a slate gray sky, when it looks like wartime London, need we say more — T.S. Eliot’s 1922 poem, celebrating its centennial, rules. A wasteland is a wasteland is a wasteland. The prophetic voice of the poem sets the stage, as it is dramatic, for the habitation of our current dark times.
Then the tail of the hurricane clears the way for a gleam of sun to make shoot through treetops of an elm treetops — oh fickle reader, I put catastrophe further back on the horizon, leave the charred landscape for another day.
As things change, there is one thing I know — the poem of the Wasteland, a gorgeous collage of urban, literary and mythical remixings — has many voices, many ways to see the flux. Etymologically, the word Catastrophe, in ancient Greek, fuses “down, against” and “I turn” to signify “I overturn.”
The current conversation about environment, the Anthropocene & impending disaster is different ways to turn our vision. For me, it is the project of expanding and broadening the ways of beauty. Poetry with its poking and prodding stick probably says it better, making forays into territories that were once forbidding but where with imagination and stillness we now can go. Into wastelands as rich wild places, places of possible regeneration. Or fascination, empty spaces that make poets from divergent times contemporaneous.Jill Pearlman, The Waste Land is a Wasteland is a wasteland
Within this darkness—the white space between all the barely uttered emotions.
Here, you’ll discover a plague of grace, the duende of blackbirds transforming midnight’s ash into song.
Nighthawks murmuring a million and one names for a moon that offers itself as a loving mirror.
So beautiful every soul that wanders these desperate evening streets.Rich Ferguson, Night’s White Space
Three mentors–none of them “famous,” all of them crucial to my development as a poet: they took my work, and my person, seriously. They listened critically and spoke to me encouragingly and listened. I think that’s what makes a person mentor material.
In later years, there have certainly been others who have been guides, coaches, teachers, mentors, friends-in-poetry…some of them better-known than Ariel, David, or Chris. But these three, all of whom are no longer walking about on the earthly plane, gave me so much more than I ever thanked them for. Which is why I’m doing so now.Ann E. Michael, Poetry mentor: Chris Peditto
it’s a poem
it’s a poemGary Barwin, POEM ABOUT EGGS
Truly, there is nothing quite like the sharp, earthy scent of the tomato plants when I go out in the morning to pick some for our breakfast. […]
I’m not saying anything new here, even to myself. But I’m knowing something in a different way–the way we know things from living them rather than from reading about them.Rita Ott Ramstad, Traffic Jam
when do the dead break into light
when did our poems cease writing the sea
how many abandoned awakeningsGrant Hackett [no title]
sleep inside a seed
speedingJim Young [no title]
up a one way street
a sparrow hawk