Tämä viestiketju jatkuu täällä: POETRY pt. 2.

KeskusteluClub Read 2023

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Muokkaaja: joulukuu 19, 2022, 1:19 am

A poet’s work … to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it from going to sleep. ~Salman Rushdie

This is a topic to: post poems, discuss poetry books you are reading, read poetry together, whatever we want poetry-wise.

joulukuu 19, 2022, 1:41 am

Some poetry sites

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/ - lots of full text poems as well as a poem a day.

https://poets.org/ - Academy of American Poets - also have a daily poem.

https://www.loc.gov/programs/poetry-and-literature/poet-laureate/poet-laureate-p... - Library of Congress - Poetry 180

https://poetryarchive.org/ - An audio resource for poetry

https://www.theotherpages.org/poems/authors.html - an index of poets

joulukuu 19, 2022, 7:14 am

This looks great, Diane. I don't read a lot of poetry, it's not something I learned to enjoy beyond studying the Romantic Poets in college and Robert Frost. This year I'm going to try to read some by the Russians like Pushkin, Akhmatova, Mandelstam, and Joseph Brodsky as part of the Baltic Sea theme read.

joulukuu 19, 2022, 8:15 am

>3 labfs39: i’ve read poetry since I was little but I’ve always read what I want. I never studied poetry to college. I wa going to say I haven’t read any Ryssian poetry but that’s not true. I’ve read Yevtushenko a long time ago.

joulukuu 26, 2022, 10:14 am

I'll be here from time to time, sharing what I'm reading. I usually have one poetry volume ongoing at any time.

joulukuu 26, 2022, 12:16 pm

I'll pop in here from time to time, Diane. We recently redecorated our office in the house which meant restocking the bookshelves again. I came across an old copy of the Albatross Book of Verse and decided I'd like to work my way through it this year. It will be at snail speed, but will pop by with my musings every now and then.

joulukuu 28, 2022, 10:31 am

I'll be in from time to time, as well. I've never been huge into poetry, but I've always wanted to appreciate it more, and there's some that I really love. Also, I generally try writing poetry in April, so I often start reading more of it in the lead-up as well as during that month.

joulukuu 28, 2022, 3:32 pm

>2 dianeham: this is a great post by itself. Thanks!

We need a poem…

joulukuu 28, 2022, 4:22 pm

>8 dchaikin: glad you like it.

joulukuu 28, 2022, 4:24 pm

Here’s a poem

The Good Life

When some people talk about money
They speak as if it were a mysterious lover
Who went out to buy milk and never
Came back, and it makes me nostalgic
For the years I lived on coffee and bread,
Hungry all the time, walking to work on payday
Like a woman journeying for water
From a village without a well, then living
One or two nights like everyone else
On roast chicken and red wine.
—Tracy K. Smith

joulukuu 28, 2022, 4:54 pm

>10 dianeham: oh, terrific!

joulukuu 28, 2022, 9:57 pm

Aw, I love Tracy K. Smith. Diane, do you subscribe to the Slowdown? It's a podcast, but also an email, with a daily poem—Smith ran it for its first year, and Ada Limón took it over. She's going to have to pass it along now that she's poet laureate, but it's a nice assortment of poetry, and something good in my inbox every morning.

joulukuu 28, 2022, 10:18 pm

>12 lisapeet: thanks, I’ll look that up.

joulukuu 29, 2022, 8:20 am

>12 lisapeet: I'm so torn! It sounds like a great email to get, but I already get so many emails, I can't help but think it would just get lost among the rest and end up cluttering up my inbox even more. Definitely something to consider!

joulukuu 29, 2022, 2:09 pm


I counted till they danced so
Their slippers leaped the town –
And then I took a pencil
To note the rebels down –
And then they grew so jolly
I did resign the prig –
And ten of my once stately toes
Are marshalled for a jig!

joulukuu 30, 2022, 12:28 am

Joy Harjo

Remember the sky that you were born under,
know each of the star's stories.
Remember the moon, know who she is.
Remember the sun's birth at dawn, that is the
strongest point of time. Remember sundown
and the giving away to night.
Remember your birth, how your mother struggled
to give you form and breath. You are evidence of
her life, and her mother's, and hers.
Remember your father. He is your life, also.
Remember the earth whose skin you are:
red earth, black earth, yellow earth, white earth
brown earth, we are earth.
Remember the plants, trees, animal life who all have their
tribes, their families, their histories, too. Talk to them,
listen to them. They are alive poems.
Remember the wind. Remember her voice. She knows the
origin of this universe.
Remember you are all people and all people
are you.
Remember you are this universe and this
universe is you.
Remember all is in motion, is growing, is you.
Remember language comes from this.
Remember the dance language is, that life is.

"Remember." Copyright ©1983 by Joy Harjo from She Had Some Horses by Joy Harjo. Used by permission of W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.

joulukuu 30, 2022, 7:12 am

>16 dianeham: this reminds me of the Native American prayer in Braiding Sweetgrass. Although she doesn’t say remember. More than, thanks for.

joulukuu 30, 2022, 7:39 pm

After a Death
Tomas Tranströmer - 1931-2015

Once there was a shock
that left behind a long, shimmering comet tail.
It keeps us inside. It makes the TV pictures snowy.
It settles in cold drops on the telephone wires.

One can still go slowly on skis in the winter sun
through brush where a few leaves hang on.
They resemble pages torn from old telephone directories.
Names swallowed by the cold.

It is still beautiful to hear the heart beat
but often the shadow seems more real than the body.
The samurai looks insignificant
beside his armor of black dragon scales.

joulukuu 31, 2022, 7:42 am

>18 dianeham: He is one poet I've been wanting to explore. I should do it this year while we are exploring the Baltic in Reading Globally. I love the last stanza.

joulukuu 31, 2022, 2:49 pm

>19 labfs39: Good idea. I saw we have a new member from Sweden so I went and looked for something by Tranströmer.

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 31, 2022, 2:59 pm

>18 dianeham:
A bit about Tomas Tranströmer who won the Nobel Literature prize in 2022.

This is from his official page https://tomastranstromer.us/tomas-transtromer-biography/

Tomas Gösta Tranströmer (April 15, 1931 – March 26, 2015) was born in a Stockholm working-class neighborhood to Gösta Tranströmer, a journalist, and Helmy Westberg, a teacher. His parents divorced in 1934. He attended and graduated from Södra Latin High School and received degrees (BA in Psychology, MS in Psychology, and Ph.D. in Psychology) from Stockholm University in 1956. While attending university, he also studied history, literature, poetry, and the history of religion.

In response to the conservative language and poetic forms of Swedish poets during his early years in the 1950s and ’60s, as a beginning writer Tranströmer decided to adopt a style and language more consistent with his personality and outlook. At the same time, his poems were sophisticated in a way Swedish poetry of the past had not been. Tranströmer wrote about the dualities of the inner and outer worlds we each carry with us in our journey through life. His poetry quietly revealed small moments in life when a window of dream and perception magically opens. Throughout his writing career Tranströmer has possessed an uncanny depth of perception, wisdom, and understanding of the world around him.

joulukuu 31, 2022, 3:01 pm

>16 dianeham:

"Joy Harjo is an American poet, musician, playwright, and author. She served as the 23rd United States Poet Laureate, the first Native American to hold that honor. She was also only the second Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to have served three terms. Wikipedia
Born: 1951 (age 71 years), Tulsa, OK"

joulukuu 31, 2022, 3:03 pm

>10 dianeham:

"Tracy K. Smith is an American poet and educator. She served as the 22nd Poet Laureate of the United States from 2017 to 2019. She has published four collections of poetry, winning the Pulitzer Prize for her 2011 volume Life on Mars. Her memoir, Ordinary Light, was published in 2015."

joulukuu 31, 2022, 3:13 pm

>15 dianeham:

Here’s something interesting about Emily Dickinson’s poetry:

Emily Dickinson died in Amherst in 1886. After her death her family members found her hand-sewn books, or “fascicles.” These fascicles contained nearly 1,800 poems. Though Mabel Loomis Todd and Higginson published the first selection of her poems in 1890, a complete volume did not appear until 1955. Edited by Thomas H. Johnson, the poems still bore the editorial hand of Todd and Higginson. It was not until R.W. Franklin’s version of Dickinson’s poems appeared in 1998 that her order, unusual punctuation and spelling choices were completely restored.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 1, 2:04 am

Viestin kirjoittaja on poistanut viestin.

joulukuu 31, 2022, 5:26 pm

I am reading The Penguin Poets C. Day Lewis - A selection by the author - here is one of them:

Is it far to go?

Is it far to go?
A step - no further.
Is it hard to go?
Ask the melting snow,
The eddying feather.

What can I take there?
Not a hank, not a hair.
What shall I leave behind?
Ask the hastening wind,
The fainting star.

Shall I be gone long?
For ever and a day.
To whom there belong?
Ask the stone to say,
Ask my song.

Who will say farewell?
The beating bell.
Will anyone miss me?
That I dare not tell -
Quick, Rose, and kiss me.

C Day-Lewis

joulukuu 31, 2022, 6:26 pm

>26 baswood: great, love that last line. Daniel Day-Lewis’s father, yes?

joulukuu 31, 2022, 6:59 pm

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 1, 12:07 pm

>12 lisapeet: Thanks for this! That podcast went on an extended hiatus, so I unsubscribed; now I'll add it back to the rotation. I also really enjoy the Poetry Unbound podcast.

tammikuu 1, 10:21 pm

We Lived Happily During the War by Ilya Kaminsky

And when they bombed other people’s houses, we

but not enough, we opposed them but not

enough. I was
in my bed, around my bed America

was falling: invisible house by invisible house by invisible house.

I took a chair outside and watched the sun.

In the sixth month
of a disastrous reign in the house of money

in the street of money in the city of money in the country of money,
our great country of money, we (forgive us)

lived happily during the war.

Ilya Kaminsky (1977- ) was born in Odessa, former Soviet Union, and arrived to the United States in 1993. He is the author of two poetry collections, Dancing in Odessa (2004) and Deaf Republic (2019).

tammikuu 2, 7:27 am

>30 dianeham: Wow. That one hits home.

tammikuu 3, 12:41 am

>21 dianeham: >22 dianeham: >23 dianeham: >24 dianeham: nice. Enjoyed these factoids.

And the poetry is terrific

tammikuu 3, 1:38 am

Feast Green and Stained by Paul Cunningham

I am wasted on thought-so’s and photo-ops

so-so’s and S-O-S cries and the lit flare

I burn I intuit I follow your light

look at the way you go into the tall grass

into it you light

you moth

look at your shirtless body behind the tall grass

look at me on my knees

a poem is a lot like a grass stain

I want to do what a grass stain does

About This Poem

“This poem is a queer ecology influenced by W.B. Yeats’ fascination with moths and Emily Dickinson’s pencil-stained leaves. If poets writing in the Anthropocene intend to survive, we must not ignore our remaining plants and root systems. We must accept them as our equals.”
—Paul Cunningham

tammikuu 3, 10:12 am

Thank you, thank you, thank you for starting this thread Diane! I don't regularly read poetry, so this thread will remind and inspire me.

tammikuu 3, 1:52 pm

>34 markon: Glad you like it, Ardene.

tammikuu 3, 5:17 pm

I have two volumes currently active alongside my other reading....

No Place Like Home: Poems Edited by Jane Holloway (Everyman's Library, 2022)

And the poetry contained in Pushcart Prize XLVII Best of the Small Presses (anthology, 2023 ed.) Contains poetry along with other writings

tammikuu 3, 6:05 pm

>36 avaland: Sound good

tammikuu 4, 7:22 am

On Friendship
by Hagit Grossman, translated from the Hebrew by Benjamin Balint

If a friend calls out to you late at night from beneath your window
Never send him on his way. And if you’ve sent him away and still
Insist on rigid rules, regain your composure after a moment
And run to the window and shout his name: “Come, Merhav!
Come back! I’ve got some corn cooking! Come eat something.”
And he’ll placidly retrace his steps and gladly accept
The key you toss down from your window,
Will come upstairs to the first floor and will be impressed
By the large pictures on the walls.
He’ll sit and wait for you to slip into a clean shirt and you’ll put on
The movie in the kid’s room and your baby daughter
Will rush to the kitchen and come back with a red pepper for him.
He’ll decline the warm corn and say he’s already had dinner.
In the meantime your husband will chat with him about Tai Chi
And pour him a glass of cold sweet pineapple juice.
You’ll return to the living room
And go out to the balcony and light a cigarette and sip
A cold beer. You don’t yet realize
That this is a sublime moment in your life.
One of the most sublime you’ll ever know.

"On Friendship" by Hagit Grossman, translated from the Hebrew by Benjamin Balint, from TREMBLING OF THE CITY copyright © 2016 Hagit Grossman. Used by permission of the poet.

tammikuu 4, 10:18 am

>38 dianeham: I love it. Wonderful. Thank you for sharing!

I hope to make reading poetry a regular habit again in 2023. Until a few years ago, I read a few poems a day, but then gave up when life became too stressful. I really miss this habit and hope to resume it. I think this thread will be a great incentive! I have also noted down a few of the authors already featured.

tammikuu 4, 4:43 pm

>39 MissBrangwen: so glad you like it.

tammikuu 4, 5:23 pm

>39 MissBrangwen: I hope you are able to take up some poetry again and share some of your favorites.

tammikuu 5, 1:26 am

The Event Horizon by Diane Hamilton

All leaves are this leaf,
All petals are this flower,
And abundance is a lie.
For all fruit is the same,
The trees are one, alone,
And the earth, a single flower.
“Unity” by Pablo Neruda

I am happy with one tree
One dog, one house, one husband
Abundance is a lie
Abundance is a swimming pool
And several houses
I went back to those early streets
They bred everything I am not
Any street can run red with blood
I think I am closer to nature
Hardly ever leaving the house

If we stop
Putting one foot in front of the other
Stop putting one word after the other
Stop the forward movement
And allow all moments, all words
To collapse into one
Then all thought
Sits on the horizon

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 5, 6:08 am

Thank you for another excellent poem to start the day

tammikuu 5, 12:57 pm

I've never read much poetry, but I was inspired by this thread to take off my shelves a book of poetry by Joseph Brodsky called Nativity Poems. Every year Brodsky tried to write a poem around Christmas/New Years. This edition is bilingual Russian/English, and the translators range from Brodsky himself to Derek Walcott and Seamus Heaney. So far I've read the first three poems. They are too long to quote in their entirety. Here is a snippet and what I took away from it:

Cold evening floats within your eyes
and snow is fluttering on the panes
of carriages; the wind is ice
and pale, it seals your reddened palms.
Evening lights like honey seep;
the scent of halvah's everywhere,
as Christmas Eve lifts up its sweet-
meats in the air.

—from Christmas Ballad (1961) translated by Glyn Maxwell

What strikes me most is the juxtaposition of opposites: pale-reddened, halvah-Christmas sweetmeats and the analogy of eyes/panes. Wind is frozen solid like ice, but light seeps.

Discussions about aging on Alison's thread, and a couple of poems about caregivers of the aged on Darryl's thread made this (last) stanza of another poem stand out in my mind:

And staring up where no cloud drifts
because your sock's devoid of gifts
you'll understand this thrift: it fits
your age; it's not a slight.
It is too late for some breakthrough,
or miracles, for Santa's crew.
And suddenly you'll realize that you
yourself are a gift outright.

—January 1965 translated by the author

Has anyone else read these poems?

tammikuu 6, 2:09 am

Here by Grace Paley

Here I am in the garden laughing
an old woman with heavy breasts
and a nicely mapped face

how did this happen
well that's who I wanted to be

at last a woman
in the old style sitting
stout thighs apart under
a big skirt grandchild sliding
on off my lap a pleasant
summer perspiration

that's my old man across the yard
he's talking to the meter reader
he's telling him the world's sad story
how electricity is oil or uranium
and so forth I tell my grandson
run over to your grandpa ask him
to sit beside me for a minute I
am suddenly exhausted by my desire
to kiss his sweet explaining lips.

tammikuu 6, 3:22 pm

Just caught up here. Lovely thread. Enjoying your daily entries, Diane. Grace Paley will hang around a bit. Maybe these all will.

tammikuu 6, 4:28 pm


>21 dianeham: I loved Airmail: the letters of Robert Bly and Tomas Transtromer, especially interesting for anyone interested in translation, as they translated each other's work, but also because of the friendship that blossomed.

tammikuu 7, 7:53 pm

Imperatives for Carrying On in the Aftermath By Natasha Trethewey

Do not hang your head or clench your fists
when even your friend, after hearing the story,
says: My mother would never put up with that.

Fight the urge to rattle off statistics: that,
more often, a woman who chooses to leave
is then murdered. The hundredth time

your father says, But she hated violence,
why would she marry a guy like that?—
don’t waste your breath explaining, again,

how abusers wait, are patient, that they
don’t beat you on the first date, sometimes
not even the first few years of a marriage.

Keep an impassive face whenever you hear
Stand by Your Man, and let go your rage
when you recall those words were advice

given your mother. Try to forget the first
trial, before she was dead, when the charge
was only attempted murder; don’t belabor

the thinking or the sentence that allowed
her ex-husband’s release a year later, or
the juror who said, It’s a domestic issue—

they should work it out themselves. Just
breathe when, after you read your poems
about grief, a woman asks: Do you think

your mother was weak for men? Learn
to ignore subtext. Imagine a thought-
cloud above your head, dark and heavy

with the words you cannot say; let silence
rain down. Remember you were told
by your famous professor, that you should

write about something else, unburden
yourself of the death of your mother and
just pour your heart out in the poems.

Ask yourself what’s in your heart, that
reliquary—blood locket and seed-bed—and
contend with what it means, the folk-saying

you learned from a Korean poet in Seoul:
that one does not bury the mother’s body
in the ground but in the chest, or—like you—

you carry her corpse on your back

tammikuu 8, 3:11 am

>47 Caroline_McElwee: welcome. That book sounds interesting.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 8, 4:48 am

The Guardian has a nice interview with the Scottish poet Don Paterson : https://www.theguardian.com/books/2023/jan/07/don-paterson-poetry-often-involves...

Poetry is unlike other art forms because you can’t really do it for a living. It seems more a helpless disposition. I always think poetry may be one corner of a larger syndrome. It often involves obsessive and addictive personalities – and mental illness. Most poets can’t drive a car and the ones who do drive shouldn’t.

tammikuu 8, 5:31 am

>50 thorold: are you familiar with his work?

tammikuu 8, 7:34 am

I’ve got a couple of his collections, but I haven’t read anything very recent.

tammikuu 8, 9:35 am

>48 dianeham: powerful

tammikuu 8, 9:37 am

I finished Nativity Poems by Joseph Brodsky. You can find my review here.

tammikuu 8, 10:11 am

>44 labfs39: Thanks for the Brodsky, a nice revisit for me. I have read him since my "Russian period" which was before LT.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 9, 11:11 am

OFFER (will send within the continental US)

Michael was pawing through the "still good" book area at the dump/transfer station and came home with 5 collections of poetry in very good or excellent condition. As I already have these, we thought we would offer them here in CR.

New and Selected Poems by Mary Oliver. Softcover, 1992, Beacon Press
Ballistics: Poems by Billy Collins. Hardcover, 2008, Random House
Sailing Alone Around the Room ; New and Selected Poems by Billy Collins, Hardcover, 2001
The Trouble with Poetry and Other Poems, hardcover, 2005, TWO copies Poet Laureate

Billy Collins was Poet Laureate from 2001-2003 https://poets.org/poet/billy-collins
Mary Oliver was much acclaimed poet, she died in 2009 https://poets.org/poet/mary-oliver

Both of these poets are very accessible and would be great for readers just beginning to explore poetry. Leave a message on my profile page or my thread here on CR if you are interested.

tammikuu 9, 5:09 pm

Sugar Cake by Peter Bushyeager

It all used to be farms
and my father part of it
barnyard rats and cats
later cigarettes to
breathe into

March thawing ice
groaned around the edges
but the farmhouse was
dry as that flaking bible
snatched from the attic
before the sale

Ancestors on the flyleaf
I carry their code as I
research them at night
in front of the computer screen
like a wistful milkmaid at dusk

In the morning vivid azaleas
Methodist churchyard
crazy cursive on the
old granite stones
the new ones flush to the ground
for easy mowing

We apologize at
the old man’s stone
pray he’ll bless our
weapons of survival then
drive through admired towns
to the chrome-quilted diner
where the sugar cake
made us even-tempered
not hectic and quarrelsome
with the calm of
a birthday well spent

tammikuu 9, 5:11 pm

>50 thorold: I really enjoyed Paterson's Reading Shakespeare's Sonnets: A New Commentary and of course you get to read some great sonnets.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 9, 5:19 pm

Amoretti - Edmund Spenser sonnet 6

Be nought dismayd that her unmoved mind
Doth still persist in her rebellious pride:
Such love, not lyke to lusts of baser kynd,
The harder wonne, the firmer will abide.
The durefull oake whose sap is not yet dride
Is long ere it conceive the kindling fyre;
But when it once doth burne, it doth divide
Great heat, and makes his flames to heaven aspire.
So hard it is to kindle new desire
In gentle brest, that shall endure for ever:
Deepe is the wound that dints the parts entire*
With chaste affects, that naught but death can sever.
Then thinke not long in taking litle paine
To knit the knot that ever shall remaine.

tammikuu 9, 9:01 pm

>60 baswood: I do love Spenser
>58 dianeham: good stuff by Bushyeager

tammikuu 9, 9:33 pm

>61 dchaikin: Bushyeager is one of my oldest friends - since the 70s.

tammikuu 9, 9:38 pm

>62 dianeham: that's cool. Please let him know some random virtual friend, but good virtual friend, enjoyed his poem.

tammikuu 9, 9:38 pm

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 10, 8:04 am

Leonardo by Charles Causley (1917-2003)

Leonardo, painter, taking
Morning air
On Market Street
Saw the wild birds in their cages
Silent in
The dust, the heat.

Took his purse from out his pocked
Never questioning
The fee,
Bore the cages to the green shade
Of a hill-top
Cypress tree.

'What you lost,' said Leonardo,
'I now give to you
Free as noon and night and morning,
As the sunshine,
As the rain.'

And he took them from their prisons,
Held them to
The air, the sky;
Pointed them to the bright heaven.
'Fly!' said Leonardo.

This has been one of my favorite poems since I was a little kid. It's included in a poetry book I've had since then, and which I am rereading this year: The Treasury of Poetry for Children. It's the first poem in the section titled "Sharing the Sunlight with the Free." I did my best to recreate the line formatting, because I think it's an important part of the poem, but the spaces went away when I hit post.

"Charles Causley (1917-2003) was born and brought up in Launceston, Cornwall and lived there for most of his life. When he was only seven his father died from wounds sustained during the First World War. This early loss and his own experience of service in the Second World War affected Causley deeply. His work fell outside the main poetic trends of the 20th century, drawing instead on native sources of inspiration: folk songs, hymns, and above all, ballads. His poetry was recognised by the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 1967 and a Cholmondeley Award in 1971. In addition to these public honours, the clarity and formality of his poetry has won Causley a popular readership, making him, in the words of Ted Hughes, one of the “best loved and most needed” poets of the last fifty years." - Poetryarchive.org

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 10, 8:42 am

Serberian-born, US poet Charles Simic has passed away.

He lived here in New Hampshire and I was able to hear him read his own work several times in the 90s. Here's a few of his poems as published in the New Yorker:


Muokkaaja: tammikuu 11, 11:03 am

>65 Julie_in_the_Library: I read a biography of Causley a year or two ago All Cornwall Thunders at my Door, though I've read less of his poetry really, and missed him as a kid, sadly. But I think I have heard this poem before, very nice.

>66 avaland: sorry to heard this, I have not read him aside from occasional poems here and there, but he is so often mentioned in reading others.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 11, 11:31 am

>66 avaland: Sorry to hear this. I own copies of two of Simic's early publised works, Dismantling the silence and Classic ballroom dances and loved them. Here is my favorite from the book with the same title.

Dismantling the Silence

Take down its ears first,
Carefully, so they don’t spill over.
With a sharp whistle, split its belly open.
If there are ashes in it, close your eyes
And blow them whichever way the wind is pointing.
If there’s water, sleeping water,
Bring the roots of a flower that hasn’t drunk for a month.

When you reach the bones,
And you haven’t got a dog with you,
And you haven’t gotten got a pine coffin,
And a cart pulled by oxen to make them rattle,
Slip them quickly under your skin.
Next time you hunch your shoulders,
You’ll feel them pressing against your own.

It is now pitch-dark.
Slowly and with patience
Search for its heart. You will need
To crawl far into the empty heavens
To hear it beat.

Charles Simic

tammikuu 11, 11:19 am

>65 Julie_in_the_Library: >67 tonikat: There's also Patrick Gale's lovely recent novel based on the lives of Causley and his mother, Mother's boy.

tammikuu 11, 12:47 pm

By Raymond Carver (1988)

No other word will do. For that’s what it was. Gravy.
Gravy these past ten years.
Alive, sober, working, loving and
being loved by a good woman. Eleven years
ago he was told he had six months to live
at the rate he was going. And he was going
nowhere but down. So he changed his ways
somehow. He quit drinking! And the rest?
After that it was all gravy, every minute
of it, up to and including when he was told about,
well, some things that were breaking down and
building up inside his head. “Don’t weep for me,”
he said to his friends. “I’m a lucky man.
I’ve had ten years longer than I or anyone
expected. Pure gravy. And don’t forget it.”

tammikuu 11, 1:28 pm

>67 tonikat: >68 markon: I never really thought about Charles Causley as a poet much until this week. I hadn't even realized he was the same person who wrote the forward to the poetry book until now. When I was a kid, I just focused on the poem itself, and that's what stuck with me. Thanks for the info!

tammikuu 11, 1:33 pm

>65 Julie_in_the_Library: Thats great isn't it

Charles Causely was one of the poets featured in the Penguin Modern Poets Collection published in the 1960's. Here is one from that selection

The Seasons in North Cornwall - Charles Causley

O Spring has set off her green fuses
Down by the Tamar today,
And careless, like tide-marks, the hedges,
Are bursting with almond and may.

Here lie I waiting for old summer,
A red face and straw-coloured hair has he:
I shall meet him on the road from Marazion
And the Mediterranean Sea.

September has flung a spray of rooks
On the sea-chart of the sky,
The tall shipmasts crack in the forest
And the banners of autumn fly.

My room is a bright glass cabin,
All Cornwall thunders at my door,
And the white ships of winter lie
In the sea-roads of the moor.

tammikuu 11, 1:34 pm

>70 Caroline_McElwee: You cannot have too much gravy Caroline, but you know, I prefer sauce.

tammikuu 11, 2:36 pm

>65 Julie_in_the_Library: >67 tonikat: Patrick Gale's novel Mother's Boy is a fine fictionalisation of Causley's life Julie and tonicat.

>73 baswood: I like both Bas, as long as they are vegetarian (ducking).

tammikuu 11, 2:42 pm

>70 Caroline_McElwee: I love this poem. I’m sober 43 years and I understand Gravy!

tammikuu 11, 9:08 pm

>72 baswood: Oh! I like this one a lot. But then my ancestors are from Cornwall.

tammikuu 12, 8:07 am

I thought this thread might be a good place to post any reviews on poetry books. Thus...

I’ve been chasing down new or newer anthologies of contemporary poetry in English and had forgotten I had picked up this anthology last February until a friend here on LT gave me a nudge. Somewhere in the summer or fall the book slid out of sight. Anywho…

The FORWARD Book of Poetry, 2022: The Best Poems from the Forward Prizes

The poems are declared the ‘best work taken from new collections and literary journals” in the UK & Ireland. The anthology showcases a wide and wonderful array of contemporary poetry all manner of subjects, some very ‘of the moment’. And I keep finding unexpected freshness and new insights in some I thought I had finished with (that’s the gift of poetry, isn’t it?!). Here are two excellent poems, reasonably short, for your reading pleasure.

The Readiness
Alan Gillis

It could happen at sunset
on a sloping lawn.
In a yawning estate
it could happen at dawn.

In a queue for your therapist,
in the public baths,
on a road through the forest
it could happen in a flash.

Under the harvest moon,
in the life, on the stairs,
in an encrypted chatroom:
it could happen anywhere

So make sure you’re up to speed
when, at sunset or dawn,
worms vex the seed,
crows shadow the corn.

Beached Whale
Victoria Kennefick

At first I thought that enormous lump of red-brown on the sand
was the trunk of some ancient, washed-up tree.

It was only when I mounted the object,
digging my small hands into something far too pliable,
that is really hit me, the stall smell of a thousand low tides

and the mute open mouths of the many onlookers
with their hysterical dogs, the seagulls circling like squalling clouds,
my mother’s curlew scream as she ran towards me, disjointed.

Aside the whale like this,
looking at my mother move through dimensions,
planes of distance,

I thought of boutique dressing rooms brimming
with clothes and tension, like gas expanding. And of two little girls
watching their mother cry as her reflection distorted in a
fluorescent mirror.

The weight of her past made flesh on her hips,
the scars of our arrivals barely heeled after all this time,
my blind hands all over the body.

Grasping, desperate to hold something real,
not knowing what that was.

tammikuu 12, 8:14 am

>72 baswood: I like that! I've never been to Cornwall, but I love the imagery.

>77 avaland: I think posting poetry book reviews here is a great idea. When I finish my reread of Treasury of Poetry for Children, I'll post a copy of my review here, too.

tammikuu 12, 8:39 am

>78 Julie_in_the_Library: I look forward to it!

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 13, 3:52 pm

No Place Like Home: Poems (Everyman's Library Pocket Poets Series)
edited by Jane Holloway

This small volume of 280 pages, offers a feast of poetry — eight to ten poems from all eras in each of the twenty chapters around the theme of "home". From Derek Walcott to John Donne, Carol Ann Duffy to Marina Tsvetaeva, Wendell Berry to Thomas Hardy, Eavan Boland to Basho.
It's an enjoyable collection in a small size that might fit in a purse, briefcase, pocket or tucked into a gift basket.

STAY HOME / Wendell Berry (1934 - )

I will wait here in the fields
to see how well the rain
brings on the grass/
In the labor of the fields
longer than a man's life
I am home. Don't come with me.
You stay home too.

I will be standing in the woods
where the old trees
move only with the wind
and then with gravity.
In the stillness of the trees
I am home. Don't come with me.
You stay home too.

tammikuu 14, 3:18 am

won’t you celebrate with me

won’t you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
born in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
i made it up
here on this bridge between
starshine and clay,
my one hand holding tight
my other hand; come celebrate
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed.

Lucille Clifton, "won't you celebrate with me" from Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton. Copyright © 1991 by Lucille Clifton. Reprinted with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc., on behalf of BOA Editions, Ltd., boaeditions.org.

tammikuu 14, 11:53 pm

These are so nice... what a good thread.

I was just sent an Everyman's anthology by a dear friend to celebrate a promotion: Books and Libraries. Here's the first:

The House Was Quiet and the World Was Calm—Wallace Stevens

The house was quiet and the world was calm.
The reader became the book; and summer night

Was like the conscious being of the book.
The house was quiet and the world was calm.

The words were spoken as if there was no book,
Except that the reader leaned above the page,

Wanted to lean, wanted much most to be
The scholar to whom his book is true, to whom

The summer night is like a perfection of thought.
The house was quiet because it had to be.

The quiet was part of the meaning, part of the mind:
The access of perfection to the page.

And the world was calm. The truth in a calm world,
In which there is no other meaning, itself

Is calm, itself is summer and night, itself
Is the reader leaning late and reading there.

tammikuu 15, 6:50 am

>82 lisapeet: love that, I've been discovering him recently.

tammikuu 15, 9:49 am

>82 lisapeet: sets a mood. I imagine I could read that regularly before I sit down to read.

tammikuu 15, 10:19 am

I read it out loud and it was really nice that way. My cat appreciated it, anyway.

tammikuu 15, 10:32 am

The best cats really appreciate poetry 🙂

tammikuu 15, 10:32 am

They do if they know what's good for 'em.

tammikuu 15, 1:17 pm

tammikuu 15, 2:01 pm

tammikuu 15, 2:10 pm

From the Paris Review: Charles Simic

Charles Simic

Children’s fingerprints
On a frozen window
Of a small schoolhouse.
An empire, I read somewhere,
Maintains itself through
The cruelty of its prisons.

From issue no. 212 (Spring 2015)

Scribbled in the Dark
Charles Simic

Sat up
Like a firecracker
In bed,

By the thought
Of my death.

From issue no. 209 (Summer 2014)

About Myself
Charles Simic

I’m the uncrowned king of the insomniacs
Who still fights his ghosts with a sword,
A student of ceilings and closed doors
Making bets two plus two is not always four

From issue no. 206 (Fall 2013)

tammikuu 15, 4:04 pm

oh, that first one. Good stuff, Diane.

tammikuu 16, 12:49 pm

Allen Ginsberg

Now that I've wasted
five years in Manhattan
life decaying
talent a blank

talking disconnected
patient and mental
sliderule and number
machine on a desk

autographed triplicate
synopsis and taxes
obedient prompt
poorly paid

stayed on the market
youth of my twenties
fainted in offices
wept on typewriters

deceived multitudes
in vast conspiracies
deodorant battleships
serious business industry

every six weeks whoever
drank my blood bank
innocent evil now
part of my system

five years unhappy labor
22 to 27 working
not a dime in the bank
to show for it anyway

dawn breaks it's only the sun
the East smokes O my bedroom
I am damned to Hell what
alarmclock is ringing

New York, 1953

tammikuu 16, 2:52 pm

>92 dchaikin: like that.

tammikuu 16, 3:58 pm

>82 lisapeet: Oh, I love that!

tammikuu 17, 4:01 am

>92 dchaikin: You can really feel his pain.

tammikuu 19, 4:21 am

This was written after reading The Soldier by Rupert Brooke:


Blame the mosquito that poisoned the blood
Of the poet en route to the Dardanelles
And gained him prematurely the brotherhood
Of all those others who subsequently fell -
Before he could inspect with a more jaundiced view
What lay piteously ahead for his retinue.

Could his words have retained their romantic flow
Amid the mortars and shells that scarred land
And howitzers with human flesh did sow?
Would it have steadied his patriotic hand
To have the reality of slaughter full revealed
On that corner of that foreign field?

PC; December 22

tammikuu 19, 8:49 am

>96 PaulCranswick: Lovely, Paul, and so true. An entire generation would come to this sad realization in the years after Brooke's death.

tammikuu 19, 11:00 am

tammikuu 19, 1:52 pm

>97 labfs39: & >98 avaland: Thank you Lisa & Lois.

tammikuu 20, 11:38 am

The Ring by Fleur Adcock

Then in the end she didn't marry him
and go to Guyana; the politics of the thing
had to be considered, and her daughter,
too English by now. But she found the ring,

her mourned and glittering hoop of diamonds,
not lost in a drain after all
but wrenched and twisted into a painful oblong
jammed between the divan-bed and the wall

tammikuu 20, 5:00 pm

>100 baswood: Oh, I liked that, Barry. I had to look the poet up....

tammikuu 20, 5:06 pm

>100 baswood: Nice! Fleur Adcock is one of those poets I keep forgetting about. Good to be reminded to read her from time to time.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 20, 7:52 pm

>100 baswood: Thanks for that, Barry. I have her Poems 1960-2000 on the shelves and need to pay it some attention soon.
I am currently re-reading from an anthology I have had for 46 years (I won it in a school writing prize) and which I dip into with regularity - The Albermarle Book of Modern Verse published in 1961 so judge for yourself how modern that is!

The poets are ordered alphabetically and this is ANEMONES FOR MISS AUSTEN by Bernard Bergonzi

Indeed a sweet and knowing lady,
quietly scribbling away her time;
the geographer of a gentle clime
where only the lanes were shady,
the poor kept decently out of sight,
and the neat old-fashioned carriages
manoeuvred the county marriages,
where the curates came off worst, as well they might.

The cool, young heroines got their men,
and in due time were suitably wed.
None of the details escaped her pen.
And yet, somehow she never quite said,
a word about what happened then,
how they managed with breakfast or bed.

I must confess that I have some interest in this particular one as the poet was a professor of Modern English at my University Warwick when I was there. I do remember him and remember distinctly my excitement of taking lectures by someone featured all but briefly in my favourite book.

tammikuu 20, 8:45 pm

Kuala Lumpur will be quiet these few days and I have three days of holidays coming up.
Since we will usher in the Year of the Rabbit; I penned this throwaway limerick for the occasion:

The Year of the Rabbit
a limerick with fur

It's not fair, it's not funny,
It isn't even on the money
That the Chinese call in a new year
And celebrate with rice wine and beer
While no one spares a thought for the bunny.

tammikuu 20, 9:56 pm

>104 PaulCranswick: a honey of a poem.

tammikuu 20, 10:10 pm

>104 PaulCranswick: cute. Now Vietnamese need a limerick on the cat (which replaces the Chinese rabbit on the Vietnamese calendar)

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 22, 8:49 pm

>106 dchaikin: Tricky off the hoof, Dan.

Now tell me why is it that
The rabbit is replaced by the cat
In Uncle Ho's Vietnam?
Or is it a sham
Devised by an Indochinese bureaucrat?

tammikuu 21, 8:32 am

>106 dchaikin:, >107 PaulCranswick: You asked for it, Dan!

tammikuu 21, 8:56 am

>108 labfs39: and I love it 😂

>107 PaulCranswick: great stuff “off the hoof” (or paw) Paul

tammikuu 21, 10:42 am

>108 labfs39: & >109 dchaikin:

Thanks guys. Just keeping my eye in. Actually typed straight onto the thread with one or two little tweaks along the way!

tammikuu 21, 10:22 pm

tammikuu 22, 4:02 am

>111 dianeham: Nice, I’d forgotten that one. It’s from his first poetry collection, Die Vorzüge der Windhühner (1956). You can find the original (and a Spanish translation!) on this blog: https://trianarts.com/gunter-grass-inundacion/

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 22, 5:48 am

>112 thorold: thank you. I was looking for "In the Egg" but couldn’t find it.

ETA; I love "We shall miss the curtain at first"

tammikuu 22, 11:32 am

>96 PaulCranswick: A fine poem Paul.

>100 baswood: It's a while since I read her Barry. Must pull my volume from the shelves.

>111 dianeham: I'm not sure I knew Gunter Grass wrote poetry Dianne.

tammikuu 22, 11:36 am

I love Kei Millers 'The Law Concerning Mermaids', here he is reading it:


tammikuu 22, 2:20 pm

>115 Caroline_McElwee: never heard of him. He’s fantastic.

tammikuu 22, 2:32 pm

Ode to Chinese Superstitions, Haircuts, and Being a Girl


Chinese superstition tells me it’s bad luck
to get a haircut when I’m sick, and my hair
gets cut twice a year, because I let it grow,
tying it into a ponytail, exposing my forehead,
looking like I’m the protagonist of an anime,
which makes me think about my last name,
Chan, also known as the  Japanese honorific
for someone endearing. Chan, like a friend

or someone childlike. I’ve been told I sound
like a child when I pick up the phone, or maybe
it’s my pure joy to hear from the ones I love.
And yes, voices are sexier than faces, so dial me,
honey, let’s get a little wild tonight, as I pour
a glass of  bourbon and picture myself in anime—
cartoon Chan starring in a slice-of-life show
about a girl group trying to make it, and you bet

I’d be the rambunctious one, the tomboy-
rabble-rouser-ringleader on the drums—
the  trouble  with the exposed forehead, also
known in East Asian culture as a symbol
of  aggression, because an exposed forehead
puts everything out there—you’re telling
the world you’re ready for a takedown,
and according to my father, good Chinese

girls never show their foreheads, and I know
he wishes I were born in the Year of  the Rabbit,
like my mother, the perfect woman with flawless
skin who never causes trouble with the boys, but
no, I’m the Year of the Snake, and I always bring
the party, cause the trouble, or as my lover says,
I’m sarcastic wit personified, and it’s boundless,
because I am Dorothy—pop embodied in a gingham

skirt with a puppy and a picnic basket
filled with prosciutto and gouda and Prosecco,
but really, what is my fate? And my mother
tells me the family fortune teller got me all
wrong, because there’s no way in hell
I’d end up being a housewife with three
children and a breadwinner of a husband.
But of course, the fortune teller got my brother’s

fate right. It’s moments like this when I wonder
if I even matter because I’m a girl and not a boy.
It’s moments like this when I think about my fate,
or how Chinese superstition tells me not to cut or wash
my hair on Lunar New Year, so all my good fortune
won’t be snipped away. But really, what is fate?
I tie my hair back and put on a short skirt, ready
to take over the world—forehead forever exposed

Dorothy Chan is the author of Revenge of the Asian Woman (Diode Editions, 2019) and Attack of the Fifty-Foot Centerfold (Spork Press, 2018). She is an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire.

tammikuu 22, 5:28 pm

>117 dianeham: I was entertained.

tammikuu 22, 8:48 pm

>117 dianeham: I like that one and it is on the money too. I have so many Chinese Malaysian friends and they are almost all of them extremely superstitious. One of them is never buy shoes for your loved ones as it means you want them to walk away from you.

>114 Caroline_McElwee: Thanks Caroline. I was quite pleased with it and I am normally my harshest critic.

>115 Caroline_McElwee: Kei Miller is the next Caribbean poet/writer to look out for, I think, now Derek Walcott and Kamau Brathwaite are no longer with us.

tammikuu 23, 7:36 am

Harold Norse

Picasso flies into a rage at Braque,
screaming, You have stolen my jaws!
bastard, give back my browns!
my noses! my guitars!

Braque, puffing his pipe,
continues painting in silence.
Aha! yells Picasso. Roast duck!
I smell roast duck!
Aren't you even inviting me for lunch?

Wordlessly, Braque puffs and paints.

You know, says Picasso, more amiably,
that's a pretty good job you're doing there, Georges.
Tell me, isn't that duck finished yet?

Voracious, Picasso is ready to devour the duck, the canvas,
        the other guests.
But Braque only squints at his painting,
adding a dash of color here and there.

Disgruntled, Picasso slaps his mistress, boils his secretary
        in oils, casts a withering look at the art dealer
        trembling in a corner and

biting the air
with 4 huge rows of teeth
blinking malevolently
3 eyes

tammikuu 23, 8:05 am

tammikuu 23, 8:09 am

>120 dchaikin: Hilarious.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 23, 8:12 am

To Be a Jew in the Twentieth Century by Muriel Rukeyser, 1944

To be a Jew in the twentieth century
Is to be offered a gift. If you refuse,
Wishing to be invisible, you choose
Death of the spirit, the stone insanity.
Accepting, take full life. Full agonies:
Your evening deep in labyrinthine blood
Of those who resist, fail, and resist; and God
Reduced to a hostage among hostages.

The gift is torment. Not alone the still
Torture, isolation; or torture of the flesh.
That may come also. But the accepting wish,
The whole and fertile spirit as guarantee
For every human freedom, suffering to be free,
Daring to live for the impossible.

*edited to add pub year

tammikuu 23, 8:12 am

>123 Julie_in_the_Library: This came up in one of the sessions I attended at Limmud Boston yesterday. I'm not sure that I like it, per se, but it's definitely interesting, and led to some good discussion.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 23, 8:47 am

>123 Julie_in_the_Library: >124 Julie_in_the_Library: Thought provoking Julie. I read David Baddiel's Jews Don't Count last year (not poetry), and will reread as I put it on my RL book group list and it was selected for next month. I might take this along to.

tammikuu 23, 9:14 am

>123 Julie_in_the_Library: >124 Julie_in_the_Library: yes, a little uncomfortable and maybe imperfect, but definitely thought-provoking.

tammikuu 24, 2:27 am


Elaine Feinstein’s translation of one of Marina Tsvetaeva’s love poems addressed to Sophia Parnok in 1914. Hot stuff!

tammikuu 24, 2:38 am

>127 thorold: Excellent

tammikuu 24, 2:20 pm

In today’s Slowdown email:

by Danusha Laméris

The optometrist says my eyes
are getting better each year.
Soon he’ll have to lower my prescription.
What’s next? The light step I had at six?
All the gray hairs back to brown?
Skin taut as a drum?

My improved eyes and I
walked around town and celebrated.

We took in the letters
of the marquee, the individual leaves
filling out the branches of the sycamore,
an early moon.

So much goes downhill: our joints
wearing out with every mile,
the delicate folds of the eardrum
exhausted from years of listening.

I’m grateful for small victories.

The way the heart still beats time
in the cathedral of the ribs.

And the mind, watching its parade of thoughts
enter and leave, begins to see them
for what they are: jugglers, fire swallowers, acrobats
tossing their batons in the air.

tammikuu 26, 1:08 am


with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water thanking it
standing by the windows looking out
in our directions

back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you

over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks we are saying thank you
in the faces of the officials and the rich
and of all who will never change
we go on saying thank you thank you

with the animals dying around us
taking our feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
thank you we are saying and waving
dark though it is

tammikuu 26, 1:09 am

Dark though it is indeed.

tammikuu 26, 1:11 am

>130 dianeham: phew 😳

tammikuu 26, 1:15 am

>132 dchaikin: and it’s not even the hour of the wolf yet.

tammikuu 26, 1:11 pm

>130 dianeham: Years since I read Merwin.

tammikuu 26, 1:40 pm

Chinese Female Kung-Fu Superheroes

are real. They jump from roof-top
to roof-top, do a backward flip
down to the concrete floor and land
perfectly on two feet.

The metal of swords clang,
the body moves with the precision
of a praying mantis striking
its prey.

Their dresses are colorful, long
and lacy, billow and flair
with each turn and twist.

Jewelry in the hair dangles and sparkles.

Chinese female kung-fu superheroes
are smart, fight bad guys, do good deeds,
and risk their lives.
They appear when least expected.

Chinese female kung-fu superheroes
never give up. They travel often alone
by foot through mountains. They work hard
training to master various martial arts forms.

They do not care about Barbies,
those plastic dolls of only one hair color
that just looked pretty in the 80's. They aren't
impressed; they do not want a boring life.

Chinese female kung-fu superheroes venture out
and save cities against villains. They steal into the night
in their black ninja-like suits, soundlessly through a house
to recover a magical sword and to release a prisoner,
knowing exactly where to press with their two fingertips
to freeze the guards and to accomplish their mission

tammikuu 26, 4:56 pm

If I Only Knew by Mahriyya Al-Aghlabiya, 9th century Tunisia

O, if I only knew how
to express my pain!
After spending so many nights
fasting and sleepless
following my beloved's exile
from home and
from the loved ones.
O brother!
My love is such
that it can but
drive me mad.
As the earth eats away
the dead, so
does sorrow eat loving women away.

tammikuu 26, 5:42 pm

Enjoying the poems on this thread

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 27, 5:16 pm

A few lines from Joseph Brodsky’s “A footnote to weather forecasts”

The future is a panacea
against anything prone to repetition.
And in the sky there are scattered, like a bachelor's
clothes, clouds, turned inside out
or pressed. It smells of conifer…

ETA: review of the collection this came from in my thread here: https://www.librarything.com/topic/346921#8050991

tammikuu 27, 8:15 am

>137 baswood: Enjoying the poems on this thread Seconded. Thanks for sharing, everyone!

tammikuu 28, 2:23 pm

Pound and Brodsky in Venice

I don’t even dig Pound. But in a sunk cemetery in a sinking city
poets stick together. Brodsky is buried two feet away and for him

I leave an MTA card and a wild daisy, mutter about the metaphors
of transit, tell him how last night, with my feet dangling off the shoreline,

I watched a boat bob an emerald wave. I’m less afraid. Less of a coward
than I was a year ago. Now, I am a checklist of risk. When I speak,

the words will not stop falling and this is what I ask before
every decision or task: Am I mechanism of gratification or need?

Am I more than what I feed? Indeed, are we not all an only child
with no sibling to blame? At Ezra’s flat grave, covered in leaves,

I snap up a single shell curled on the slab. There have been no visitors
for a long while so I spray for bugs and the poisoned mist carries

over the dead. It is improper and a little funny and I say to myself,
“Stop spraying shit all over the poets.” Even this fascist one.

The truth is I’d clear any grave. I want to redeem. To save.
That’s my thing. My uselessness. A grim reaper too late. A retired priest.

Above, gulls chat and the cattle stars graze the sky. And at my eyeline,
insects stumble downwards, graceless, like unpardoned angels.

A Note from the Editor
Today is the anniversary of Joseph Brodsky's death.

tammikuu 29, 1:49 am

>140 dianeham: I like that one.

tammikuu 29, 1:58 am

>141 FlorenceArt: i’m glad.

tammikuu 30, 9:35 am

The Charm of 5:30 by David Berman

It’s too nice a day to read a novel set in England.

We’re within inches of the perfect distance from the sun,
the sky is blueberries and cream,
and the wind is as warm as air from a tire.
Even the headstones in the graveyard
seem to stand up and say “Hello! My name is...”

It’s enough to be sitting here on my porch,
thinking about Kermit Roosevelt,
following the course of an ant,
or walking out into the yard with a cordless phone
to find out she is going to be there tonight.

On a day like today, what looks like bad news in the distance
turns out to be something on my contact, carports and
white courtesy phones are spontaneously reappreciated
and random “okay”s ring through the backyards.

This morning I discovered the red tints in cola
when I held a glass of it up to the light
and found an expensive flashlight in the pocket of a winter coat
I was packing away for summer.

It all reminds me of that moment when you take off your
sunglasses after a long drive and realize it’s earlier
and lighter out than you had accounted for.

You know what I’m talking about,
and that’s the kind of fellowship that’s taking place in town, out in
the public spaces. You won’t overhear anyone using the words
“dramaturgy” or “state inspection” today. We’re too busy getting along.

It occurs to me that the laws are in the regions and the regions are
in the laws, and it feels good to say this, something that I’m almost
sure is true, outside under the sun.

Then to say it again, around friends, in the resonant voice of a
nineteenth-century senator, just for a lark.

There’s a shy looking fellow on the courthouse steps, holding up
a placard that says “But, I kinda liked Clinton.” His head turns slowly
as a beautiful girl walks by, holding a refrigerated bottle up against
her flushed cheek.

She smiles at me and I allow myself to imagine her walking into
town to buy lotion at a brick pharmacy.
When she gets home she’ll apply it with great lingering care
before moving into her parlor to play 78 records and drink gin-and-tonics
beside her homemade altar to James Madison.

In a town of this size, it’s certainly possible that I’ll be invited over
one night.

In fact I’ll bet you something.

Somewhere in the future I am remembering today. I’ll bet you
I’m remembering how I walked into the park at five thirty,
my favorite time of day, and how I found two cold pitchers
of just poured beer, sitting there on the bench.

I am remembering how my friend Chip showed up
with a catcher’s mask hanging from his belt and how I said

great to see you, sit down, have a beer, how are you,
and how he turned to me with the sunset reflecting off his
contacts and said, wonderful, how are you.

tammikuu 30, 11:49 am

We studied Carol Ann Duffy in my highschool IB English class and this poem stuck with me:

In Your Mind - Carol Ann Duffy

The other country, is it anticipated or half-remembered?
Its language is muffled by the rain which falls all afternoon
one autumn in England, and in your mind
you put aside your work and head for the airport
with a credit card and a warm coat you will leave
on the plane. The past fades like newsprint in the sun.
You know people there. Their faces are photographs
on the wrong side of your eyes. A beautiful boy
in the bar on the harbour serves you a drink - what? -
asks you if men could possibly land on the moon.
A moon drawn like an orange drawn by a child. No.
Never. You watch it peel itself into the sea.

Sleep. The rasp of carpentry wakes you. On the wall,
a painting lost for thirty years renders the room yours.
Of course. You go to your job, right at the old hotel, left,
then left again. You love your job. Apt sounds
mark the passing of the hours. Seagulls. Bells. A flute
practicing scales. You swap a coin for a fish on the way home.

Then suddenly you are lost but not lost, dawdling
on the blue bridge, watching six swans vanish
under your feet. The certainty of a place turns on the lights
all over town, turns up the scent on the air. For a moment
you are there, in the other country, knowing its name.
And then a desk. A newspaper. A window. English rain.

tammikuu 31, 2:01 am

>144 liz4444: I do like Carol Ann Duffy - one of a number of extremely good Scottish lady poets.

This is another Kathleen Jamie who is well worth looking up.

O whence the leaves
scuttering down Easter Road,
sycamore and rowan
desperate as refugees,
crowding against the wheels of street-side dumpsters
– common leaves
with two-three crisp packets, like gaudy imposters
fleeing by outside the corner-shop
convenient for milk and pornography…

see the leaves hurry, Shy but Dirty –
past the Chinese nail-bar,
Mr Greg’s Tatoos –
they’re here, look:
blown into your stair
with the pizza delivery leaflets…
O whither the leaves?

tammikuu 31, 5:38 am

tammikuu 31, 8:43 am

There was a nice post by George Szirtes on Facebook today, commenting on the way non-specialised bookshops in the UK sell hardly any poetry books. He’s a very established poet, with a stack of books published, but both the big bookshop in Norwich and the independent community bookshop in the village where he lives have tiny poetry sections and don’t stock any of his poetry books, although they do have quite a few of his prose translations on sale. There’s simply no demand for poetry apart from children’s books and study texts. I don’t think it’s much different here in the Netherlands.
Obviously we are all reading living poets on the web or buying books direct from the publishers.

>144 liz4444: We studied Carol Ann Duffy in my highschool IB English class

Eek! That makes me feel old…

tammikuu 31, 10:33 pm

Give Me Your Hand
Gabriela Mistral - 1889-1957
(translated by Ursula K. Le Guin)

Give me your hand and give me your love,
give me your hand and dance with me.
A single flower, and nothing more,
a single flower is all we'll be.

Keeping time in the dance together,
singing the tune together with me,
grass in the wind, and nothing more,
grass in the wind is all we'll be.

I'm called Hope and you're called Rose:
but losing our names we'll both go free,
a dance on the hills, and nothing more,
a dance on the hills is all we'll be.

helmikuu 1, 7:05 am

>144 liz4444: I adore Carol Ann Duffy! ...So much so that after buying several single volumes I sprung for her very large compendium.

helmikuu 1, 10:53 am

>145 PaulCranswick: this is really nice!!
>147 thorold: Hahha, she was a really good teacher. I'm pretty sure it was an individual approved choice, not standard curriculum, if that makes it better.
>149 avaland: Carol Ann Duffy and Ocean Vuong were my first introductions to poetry that I really enjoyed and paid attention to (aside from reading Shel Silverstein's children's books) and I'd like to read more poetry as a goal for this year :)

helmikuu 1, 11:05 am

>147 thorold: London does a little better, the London Review of Books Bookshop (Independent) has a large poetry section, as does the Waterstones in Piccadilly. Their more local stores probably have more than many bookshops, but don't carry the volume the flagship store does Mark.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 1, 1:31 pm

Best of Australian Poems 2022, editors Jeanine Leane and Judith Beveridge

This is the 2nd annual anthology of Australian poetry from its national poetry organization. One hundred poems were chosen by the editors out of the 4,000 poems submitted. The organization hoped the selections here would “reflect the year that has been in a cartography of poetry that speaks to some of the hopes concerns, fears, critiques and aspirations across the many different diasporas of peoples…”

This is an excellent anthology with poetry around all manner of topics. The poetry has a certain amount of seriousness as one would expect from a national organization. Speaking as an outsider only, I think they succeed in their objective. Out of the one hundred poems chosen and published, about two-thirds of the works were two or more pages*. Some of the poetry was creatively formatted for a visual effect. There were many wonderful poems, and at least a few I thought a bit obtuse (another day, another reading and it might be different).

(*Here I admit that generally, these days, I enjoy shorter poetry)

last swim before space flight / Rory Green

you'll just swap one form of floating for another
they said, you're still weightless. do they know
how heavy the ocean feels? how the harvest
moon can sow a net of light, billowing, aureate,
ensnare a season before it can even arrive...
how space smells rotten and sulfuric
nothing like the briny sweetness of a coastal swell,
the way it wraps around and dizzies you,
pulls you magnetic to its rumbling source. do
they not know the moon's shimmer of spume over water
is a mere echo a soft tug on something more unknowable
and forgiving than the limping void of space?
how can they ignore the protozoic shell whispers
of ancestors who found this rock and chose to stay,
what it means to be joined to this vital. amniotic thing, to
wallow as every perfect earthly being has before you.
you know what they don't---that the weight of it
is the point, how it feels like launching
without ever leaving the ground.

helmikuu 1, 1:52 pm


What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

toukokuu 7, 11:40 am

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Tämä viestiketju jatkuu täällä: POETRY pt. 2.