Monday, May 4, 2015

Dark Day

"Defender Argo, expired September 1911, processed 2014," by Alison Rossiter

Dark Day

Dark afternoon in late spring you are
a reprieve A whole week of sunlight
and gentle air and baby lamb clouds
and we could use a good storm Every
night darkness feels like confirmation
of winding-down-ness but it isn’t that
simple If night had a message it might
be that we stagger toward sleep alone
to drift away from the self A buoy
being carried by water I close my
knowledge of the world for tonight
How little I know of the coming truth

[Image above by Alison Rossiter]

Friday, May 1, 2015

Recent Earworm: "Don't Leave Me Hanging," by Great Lake Swimmers

Here's one from the new Great Lake Swimmers album...I've been enjoying listening to it this week. Happy Friday, everyone!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

A List Is a Prayer for Control

from "Sleepy Town," by Lili des Bellons

A List Is a Prayer for Control

that humans are accounted for
that today you assemble your selves
and their abilities
that you will respond with appropriate
kindness to every voice pawing at you
that you will not fail
that the world will not become as large
as it is so you cannot hold any of its pieces
that you will not let who you were in the morning
be forgotten
that these few valuable hours enjoy full
and happy lives before expiring
that it will become night only gradually
that the body is a working vehicle
that the beings in your home continue to be
that scribbling over a word means you predicted
the future
that the curled up energy in almost born plants
is rooting for you

[Image above by Lili des Bellons]

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

On Poems that List/Take Inventory/Catalog

from the lovely Moonrise Kingdom, a love letter to letters and lists!

I’ve been thinking a lot about list poems lately. These poems might be explicit lists (and perhaps their title addresses this) of things, actions, or people. But I’m also including in this definition poems that want to gather, to present some kind of collection. These poems might read as an inventory, or a recipe, or instructions.

This Saturday, I’m so excited to lead a workshop on this topic at the Columbus State Writers Conference. I’ll share some list-ish poems with the writers in my workshop, and then we’ll write our own versions. Fun, right?

The pieces I’m considering using (although I won’t use all of them):
-“What the Gravedigger Needs,” Rachel Loden
-“Full of Knives,” Zachary Schomburg
-“Poem Without an End,” by Yehuda Amichai (translated by Chana Bloch)
-“The Car,” by Raymond Carver
-"How to Make a Crab Cake,” January Gill O’Neil
-“Inventory,” Gunter Eich (translated by Joshua Mehigan)
-“Stamp Collecting,” Kathy Song
-“Nine Days,” Suzanne LaFetra (not a poem, but an excellent piece!)
-Google Poetics

So now I ask you, oh readerly and writerly friends—do you have any favorite list poems or pieces to share/recommend?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

"it was a dream," by Lucille Clifton

"The Fire Within," Ysabel LeMay

it was a dream
by Lucille Clifton

in which my greater self
rose up before me
accusing me of my life
with her extra finger
whirling in a gyre of rage
at what my days had come to.
i pleaded with her, could i do,
oh what could i have done?
and she twisted her wild hair
and sparked her wild eyes
and screamed as long as
i could hear her
This.  This.  This.

[Image above by Ysabel LeMay]
Poem via

I just love this poem, but it also scares the pants off of me (as well it should!). Lucille Clifton is such a master--not just of poetry, but of inner awareness and the ability to speak what seems true, but is not always said. This poem is indeed terrifying (oh, the unreached and impossible potential of our own greatness and power), but somehow it's also reassuring: we will all feel this "This" at some point, and hopefully, it will fade, like the dream that brought it to us. 

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