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Friday, April 27, 2012

Poetry Around the Web: Broach, Minor, Stallings/River Styx, Dougherty, Weil, and Rich Tributes at VIDA

Ronda Broach has an amazing concrete poem up at Rattle today. I am always looking for strong samples of concrete poetry to show my students, and Ronda's will definitely go into my files. I love how she uses line breaks so well (toe-/hold!), and gosh, she's got an ear for assonance and slant rhyme ("suggestive trajectories"). She had me with the first line ("I envy them / their silent lines ..."). Oy, such a fine poem. I also love that she ends with a question she does not answer. The poem is magic from start to finish, mysteriously matchig form with content from syllable to syllable and line break to line break. How did she pull it off?  I will be studying this poem for a long time trying to figure it out, though I doubt I ever will (which, I reckon, is the issue with all resonant and ineffable--and lasting--poems). Congratulations, Ronda!

Found poems are another type of poem I ask my students to try to write. Annie Dillard has an entire book of them (Mornings Like This: Found Poems). Thanks to Maureen Doallas for posting today's Experiment Station Blog poem by Britton Minor, Lunar Installation.

The wonderful poet A.E. Stallings is judging the River Styx 2012 International Poetry Contest! More information is available here. Deadline is May 31. Up to three poems (14 pages total); all poems considered for publication. $20 reading fee. I just ordered a copy of her translation of Lucretius' The Nature of Things, just out from Penguin. Can't wait to dive in.

Sean Thomas Dougherty's "I am Scared of the Seam in the Air" is featured at H__NGM__N. Does anyone write with more longing, more elegiacally? Gorgeous, courageous poem. Congrats, Sean!

Joe Weil asks What Do I Mean When I Call Myself a Catholic?  A lovely piece. Thanks for reminding me why I am enthralled with the saints, with cathedrals, and with my Catholic roots.

"21 Love Poems to Adrienne Rich" continues for three more days at the VIDA website, but you can access all the entries at their website. My day was April 22.

So much else to keep me away from grading papers, but will stop here as students beckon.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

In the Spirit of National Poetry Month


I have not been writing a poem a day this month, but every day this month I have either started a new poem, worked on editing my manuscript, worked on an essay about Adrienne Rich, or conducted research for as-yet unwritten poems. Yesterday I began this poem below in my car on the way to chaperoning a field trip with my son's class at Tiger Mountain.


Why I’d Like to Meet My Maker

Because he will tell me whether Keebaek’s telling the truth
about his absence (suicidal friend, cat with an abscess, missed bus);

because we can have ourselves a chat about gravity, that lusty pull
coalescing particles into stars, planets, us. Maybe I’m nosey, overly

forward, but I will be wanting answers about not only about Apollo 11
and Roswell but unspeakable evil. As for the yellow-spotted millipede,

I will commend him on peristaltic motion, on somites and diplosomites,
on the spraying of death-deterring hydrocyanic acid. Because he can share 

his thoughts on cruelty, on the abuses of power. While he is nodding 
you’re welcomes, providing me with sensible answers, I will be thanking him 

for chartreuse and sienna, for salmon-berry blossoms and yeast, 
the rising warmth of cinnamon rolls, the rising trill of a purple finch.



I hope you are finding time to write a poem a day during the month of April, or, like me, fitting it in when you can. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

"21 Love Poems to Adrienne Rich" at the VIDA Website

I have been eagerly reading the tributes and obituaries since the passing of Adrienne Rich on March 27, 2012. I never met Adrienne Rich in person, but I, like so many contemporary American poets, owe a great debt to her vision and her works.

Here's just a taste of what is out there on the web to help us all appreciate a pioneering feminist and exquisitely exacting craftswoman:

Adrienne Rich, Influential Feminist Poet, Dies at 82 (The New York Times)

Memories and Thoughts on Adrienne Rich (Cathy Park Hong)

Adrienne Rich, feminist poet who wrote of politics and lesbian identity, dies at 82 (Washington Post)

In Tribute to Adrienne Rich (Honor Moore)

Adrienne Rich's News in Verse (Katha Pollitt)

And starting today, the VIDA Women in Literary Arts website is  publishing, a day at a time, a tribute essay written by a female American poet. Appropriately titled "21 Love Poems to Adrienne Rich," the feature will run through April 30.  Today's essay is by Adrienne Su and is titled "What's in a Name." I can hardly wait to read all of them!