Welcome to the One Page Poetry Circle at St. Agnes Branch Library!

Find a poem! Show up! Read a poem! Discuss a poem!

We’re back for the eighth season of the One Page Poetry Circle where people gather to examine the works of established poets. Dialogue_0913While there’s no instructor and this is not a workshop for personal writing, once a month OPPC gives everyone a place to become teachers and learners to explore the form, content, language and meaning of poetry. Since the circle started, participants have selected and discussed 892 poems and have read countless others in pursuit of poetry that speaks to them.

Come to St. Agnes on Tuesday, September 13 to discuss Dialogue Poems, a subject that’s sure to provoke lively dialogues.

Dialogue poems can be between people, concepts, or between the aspects of a single person. They often present different voices looking at the same situation, each with a distinctive point of view.

Here is George Herbert’s “A Dialogue-Anthem”:

Alas, poor Death! Where is thy glory?
Where is thy famous force, thy ancient sting?

Alas, poor mortal, void of story!
Go spell and read how I have killed thy King.

Poor Death! And who was hurt thereby?
The curse being laid on Him makes thee accurst.

Let losers talk, yet thou shalt die
These arms shall crush thee.

Spare not, do thy worst.
I shall be one day better than before;
Thou so much worse, thou shalt be no more.

George Herbert, a cleric writing in the 1600s when the subject of body versus soul was popular, believed Christ could render death meaningless as once the body was dead, the soul could live eternally in Heaven. The poem resonates with biblical verses and evokes later poems that call on the same verses. The word “Anthem” indicates a rousing song identified with a particular group, such as Christians here, and a choral composition based on a biblical passage.

In W. H. Auden’s “O What Is That Sound,” two people exchange dialogue that builds from fear and reassurance to abandonment.

O what is that sound which so thrills the ear
Down in the valley drumming, drumming?
Only the scarlet soldiers, dear,
The soldiers coming.

O what is that light I see flashing so clear
Over the distance brightly, brightly?
Only the sun on their weapons, dear,
As they step lightly.

O what are they doing with all that gear
What are they doing this morning, this morning?
Only the usual manoeuvres, dear,
Or perhaps a warning.

O why have they left the road down there
Why are they suddenly wheeling, wheeling?
Perhaps a change in the orders, dear,
Why are you kneeling?

O haven’t they stopped for the doctor’s care
Haven’t they reined their horses, their horses?
Why, they are none of them wounded, dear,
None of these forces.

O is it the parson they want with white hair;
Is it the parson, is it, is it?
No, they are passing his gateway, dear,
Without a visit.

O it must be the farmer who lives so near
It must be the farmer so cunning, so cunning?
They have passed the farm already, dear,
And now they are running.

O where are you going? stay with me here!
Were the vows you swore me deceiving, deceiving?
No, I promised to love you, dear,
But I must be leaving.

O it’s broken the lock and splintered the door,
O it’s the gate where they’re turning, turning
Their feet are heavy on the floor
And their eyes are burning.

Twentieth century poet W. H. Auden, may be evoking a war-torn era when one culture’s relentless march destroyed another. Death is again close by as in Herbert’s poem, but in Auden’s poem death has a personal meaning: when death threatens the individual, it ruptures human bonds.

We look forward to seeing the poems you select for Dialogue Poems and to discussing them with you on September 13.

Bring a poem of a known poet. Bring a friend and widen the circle! Without your support the library may find other uses for the spacious room they’ve given us.

We hope you will blog with us here on these poems or others at onepagepoetrycircle.wordpress.com.

Fall Schedule
September 13, Dialogue Poems
October 4, A Poem for Your Pocket
November 1, Prose Poems
December 13, Endings

Abigail Burnham Bloom and
AnnaLee Wilson

The One Page Poetry Circle is sponsored by the New York Public Library and is open to all. St. Agnes Branch Library is handicap accessible.

 

 

The One Page Poetry Circle met on May 10th to discuss Poetry and Success and Failure.

Monopoly_JailCardsAbigail opened our discussion with her thoughts that success and failure were inherently linked, and that within each there were aspects of the other. For something to fail there must first be an attempt, which is a show of success, and often a success can feel like a failure. Later AnnaLee pointed out that many poems that begin by speaking of success, end up on a note of failure and vice versa.

Abigail read J. K. Stephen’s “After the Golden Wedding (Three Soliloquies)” a sardonic look at a marriage that appears perfect from the outside; however, the husband is oblivious to the feelings of his wife who thinks, “when beneath the turf you’re sleeping,/And I’m sitting here in black,/Engaged as they’ll suppose, in weeping,/I shall not wish to have you back.”

Roger read “Success and Failure” by the People’s Poet, Edgar Albert Guest, in which the narrator believes that an individual makes his own fate as failure is not undeserved and success is not just luck, “Most men, themselves, have shaped the things/they are.”

Hazel read two short poems by Leigh Hunt, “Rondeau” and “Abou Ben Adhem.” In both poems a man’s state of mind is successfully changed by an event. Here is “Rondeau” in its entirety:

Jenny kissed me when we met,
Jumping from the chair she sat in;
Time, you thief, who love to get
Sweets into your list, put that in:
Say I’m weary, say I’m sad,
Say that health and wealth have missed me,
Say I’m growing old, but add,
Jenny kissed me.

Gail read Richard Foerster’s “The Failure of Similes” on the impossibility of words and images to describe reality, “ In one image of the camps, the snow sifts down/like lime … or should it be the other way around?”

Delta read Noel Duffy’s “On Light & Carbon,” on the success of received wisdom versus scientific facts, “‘Where did it come from,/the world?’ I asked./‘It was born of God’s/Mercy and Love,’ the priest said./I trusted him.”

Rollene read “Child on Top of a Greenhouse” by Theodore Roethke, which describes the perception of a child in a precarious situation, “A line of elms plunging and tossing like horses,/And everyone, everyone pointing up and shouting!”

Phil also read two poems: Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “Ozymandias” and Horace Smith’s “Ozymandias.” The poems were created in a contest between the two men as to who could write a better poem on a statue with the inscription, “King of Kings Ozymandias am I. If any want to know how great I am and where I lie, let him outdo me in my work.” Both poems show Ozymandias’ belief in his own greatness and a later perspective on his success.

Karen read Patrick Kavanagh’s “In Memory of My Mother,” in which the narrator remembers the golden moments of contact with his mother, “I do not think of you lying in the wet clay/Of a Monaghan graveyard, I see/You walking down a lane among the poplars.”

AnnaLee closed the circle with “Failing and Flying” by Jack Gilbert which concludes with the triumph of failure, “I believe Icarus was not failing as he fell,/but just coming to the end of his triumph.”

Larry uploaded two poems to our blog, “The Writer’s Wife” by Lucien Stryk and “Success is counted sweetest” by Emily Dickinson.

Have a wonderful summer and we will see you in the fall. And remember to blog with us here at onepagepoetrycircle.wordpress.com. Don’t be shy.

Abigail Burnham Bloom and
AnnaLee Wilson

The One Page Poetry Circle is sponsored by the New York Public Library and is open to all. St. Agnes Branch Library is handicap accessible.

Come to St. Agnes on Tuesday, May 10 to discuss Poetry and Failure and Success.

Date: Tuesday, May 10
Time: 5:30 – 6:30 pm
Place: St. Agnes Branch Library, 444 Amsterdam Avenue (near 81st Street), 3rd Floor
Theme: Poetry and Failure and Success

OPPC_Poster_May10In the lyrics of a famous Bob Dylan song, “there’s no success like failure and that failure’s no success at all,” we contemplate the attraction between the two words. Do some fail and through failure make a name for themselves, as Philip Schultz writes of his father in the beginning lines of “Failure”?:

To pay for my father’s funeral
I borrowed money from people
he already owed money to.
One called him a nobody.
No, I said, he was a failure.
You can’t remember
a nobody’s name, that’s why
they’re called nobodies.
Failures are unforgettable.
(read Schultz’s entire poem http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2007/12/05)

On the flip side of the question is the 1914 poem “To a Friend Whose Work Has Come to Nothing,” by William Butler Yeats:

Now all the truth is out,
Be secret and take defeat
From any brazen throat,
For how can you compete,
Being honor bred, with one
Who were it proved he lies
Were neither shamed in his own
Nor in his neighbors’ eyes;
Bred to a harder thing
Than Triumph, turn away
And like a laughing string
Whereon mad fingers play
Amid a place of stone,
Be secret and exult,
Because of all things known
That is most difficult.

Yeats doesn’t advise his friend to buck up after a failure, but to do the thing “most difficult”: accept, and by doing so, succeed as a human being.

Can anyone be labeled a success when the person is living and could fail in the future? What is success anyway? Robert William Service begins the old favorite “Success” with the words:

You ask me what I call Success –
It is, I wonder, Happiness?
It is not wealth, it is not fame,
Nor rank, nor power nor honoured name.
It is not triumph in the Arts –
Best-selling books or leading parts.
It is not plaudits of the crowd,
The flame of flags, processions proud.
The panegyrics of the Press
are but the mirage of Success.
You may have all of them, my friend,
Yet be a failure in the end.

What do these or other poems say to you about success and failure?

—Abigail and AnnaLee

The One Page Poetry Circle met on April 12th to read and discuss Poetry and Identity.

Abigail began with Robert Browning’s dramatic monologue, “Porphyria’s Lover,” in which the speaker reveals himself to be a murderer: “That moment she was mine, mine, fair,/Perfectly pure and good: I found/A thing to do, and all her hair/In one long yellow string I wound/Three times her little throat around.”

Roger read Alyssa Murray’s “A Mix of Many Things,” describing herself and encouraging the reader to look at her or himself, “Reflecting on uniqueness, I hand the mirror to you,/to celebrate the many things that make you unique too.”

Lorraine read “My 1979” by Stephen Burt wherein the young narrator considers the difficulties of gender identification for the young, “I was Mr. Spock being raised by Dr. Spock./I was told I was free,/but only free to be me.”

Ralda read Wislawa Szyborska’s “Life While You Wait,” which imagines the entire world as a stage: “Performance without rehearsal./Body without alterations./Head without premeditation.”

Gail read “Who Am I?” by Carl Sandburg, a riddle poem describing Truth: “I know the passionate seizure of beauty/And the marvelous rebellion of man at all signs reading ‘Keep Off.’”

Karen read Campbell McGrath’s “Frida Kahlo: Self-Portrait Pierced by a Silver Rail,” one of his portraits of celebrated people, which ends, “My skirts and dresses my plaits and tresses/My pains my distresses my lisping s’s/My shyness my eyelessness my bloody messes.”

Eileen read from Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself” describing the essential American experience, “I am of old and young, of the foolish as much as the wise;/Regardless of others, ever regardful of others,/maternal as well as paternal, a child as well as a man.”

Carolyn read from Robert Pinsky’s “Essay on Psychiatrists,” in which a “Catholic woman of twenty-seven with five children/And a first-rate body–pointed her finger/At the back of one certain man and asked me,/”Is that guy a psychiatrist?” and by god he was!” The narrator cannot pinpoint what behavior led to her identification of his profession.

Azure read Charles Simic’s “The White Room,” an evocative poem with rich metaphors: “Summer came. Each tree/On my street had its own/Scheherazade. My nights/Were a part of their wild/Storytelling.”

AnnaLee read Adrienne Rich’s “Diving into the Wreck,” which ends with what seems like a typo, but is intended: “We are, I am, you are/by cowardice or courage/the one who find our way/back to this scene/carrying a knife, a camera/a book of myths/in which/our names do not appear.”

Phil read Ryokan’s “Two Poems for My Friend Bōsai,” describing the Spartan existence of a Zen master, “Go as deep as you can into life,/And you will be able to let go of even blossoms.”

Larry added to the discussion by posting three poems concerned with identity on our blog. Read them in blog comments, here at onepagepoetrycircle.wordpress.com where you can also post your own comments and favorites.

We look forward to seeing the poems you select for Poetry and Failure and Success and to discussing them with you on May 10.

Spring Schedule:
May 10: Poetry and Failure and Success

Bring a poem of a known poet. Bring a friend. Show up! And widen the circle. Your attendance will help make our next meeting a perfect success!

Abigail Burnham Bloom and AnnaLee Wilson

The One Page Poetry Circle is sponsored by the New York Public Library and is open to all. St. Agnes Branch Library is handicap accessible.

Welcome to the One Page Poetry Circle
at St. Agnes Branch Library!

Date: Tuesday, April 12
Time: 5:30 – 6:30 pm
Place: St. Agnes Branch Library, 444 Amsterdam Ave (81st St.), 3rd Fl
Theme: Poetry and Identity

Find a poem! Show up! Read a poem! Discuss a poem!

Masquerade_MardisGrasWe’re back for the eighth season of the One Page Poetry Circle where people gather to examine the works of established poets. While there’s no instructor and this is not a workshop for personal writing, once a month OPPC gives everyone a place to become teachers and learners to explore the form, content, language and meaning of poetry. Since the circle started, participants have selected and discussed 879 poems and have read countless others in pursuit of poetry that speaks to them.

Come to St. Agnes on Tuesday, April 12 to discuss Poetry and Identity, a subject that’s sure to provoke lively discussions. The question of who we are is basic to existence. Do we define ourselves in relation to others? John Clare, during his 22 years in Northampton’s General Lunatic Asylum, begins his poem “I Am!” with these words: “I am—yet what I am none cares or knows;/My friends forsake me like a memory lost.” And who are the others? When Alice in Wonderland cannot answer the caterpillar’s question of who she is, she asks him, “Who are you?”

Edward Lear describes himself as others see him,

How pleasant to know Mr. Lear,
Who has written such volumes of stuff!
Some think him ill-tempered and queer,
But a few think him pleasant enough.

As Alice learned, identity is not fixed and rigid, but can change. Langston Hughes, in “Theme for English B,” states the facts of himself but wonders if that defines him, “It’s not easy to know what is true for you or me/at twenty-two, my age. But I guess I’m what/I feel and see and hear.” And in Auden’s poem “In Memory of W.B. Yeats,” identity evolves from the living to the dead and beyond to a sort of resurrection:

But for him it was his last afternoon as himself,
An afternoon of nurses and rumours;
The provinces of his body revolted,
The squares of his mind were empty,
Silence invaded the suburbs,
The current of his feeling failed; he became his admirers.

Now he is scattered among a hundred cities
And wholly given over to unfamiliar affections;
To find his happiness in another kind of wood
And be punished under a foreign code of conscience.
The words of a dead man
Are modified in the guts of the living.

…Post your thoughts here on Poetry and Identity. And join the circle if you can on April 12. See the particulars, above.

 

 

The One Page Poetry Circle met on On March 8 to discuss Poetry and Science.

Abigail began the evening with May Kendall’s, “The Lay of the Trilobite,” in which the trilobite lectures the believer in the providential nature of natural selection on Victorian society until the man declares: “I wish that Evolution could/Have stopped a little quicker;/For oh, it was a happy plight,/Of liberty and ease,/To be a simple Trilobite/In the Silurian seas!”

Roger read Christina Rossetti’s lovely celebration of nature, “Who Has Seen the Wind?”: Who has seen the wind?/Neither I nor you:/But when the leaves hang trembling,/The wind is passing through.”

Lorraine read Jan Owen’s “First Love” which depicts the scene during a lesson on Archimedes in Physics class when the narrator fell for a man pictured in a book, “I got six overdues,/suspension of borrowing rights/and a D in Physics./But had by heart what Archimedes proves.”

Phil read the biologist and poet Joanna Tilsley’s beautifully illustrated “Natural Geodesic” describing the eyes of the bee, “Oh to be/a Honey Bee,/And see The World/in bright 5-D.”

Gail read “Ego” by Denise Duhamel wherein a schoolgirl attempts to understand the solar system based on a classroom depiction with fruit and a flashlight, “I just couldn’t grasp it-/this whole citrus universe, these bumpy planets revolving so slowly/no one could even see themselves moving.”

AnnaLee read an excerpt from John Donne’s “An Anatomy of the World” which was written shortly after Galileo published the evidence that Copernicus was right, the earth was not the center of the universe: “The sun is lost, and th’ earth, and no man’s wit/Can well direct him where to look for it.”

We had extra time so that Gigi read her poem “Splattered” which was based on a true account of a woman killed by a drunk driver.

AnnaLee, Phil and Lorraine each read a second poem to add to the diversity of approaches to the theme of science. We had poems by scientists, poems of childhood and adult responses to science, scoffers and close scientific observations. Larry contributed to the discussion by blogging online about Emily Dickinson’s scientific orientation and Howard Nemerov’s “Einstein & Freud & Jack”: “When Einstein wrote to ask him what he thought/Science might do for world peace, Freud wrote back:/Not much. And took the occasion to point out/That science too begins and ends in myth.”

We look forward to seeing the poems you select for Poetry and Identity and to discussing them with you on April 12.

Bring a poem of a known poet. Bring a friend. Show up! And widen the circle! Without your support the library may find other uses for the spacious room they’ve given us.

We hope you will blog with us here at onepagepoetrycircle.wordpress.com.

We look forward to seeing you at our upcoming circle on April 12, for a discussion on poems that deal with Identity.

Spring Schedule: 
April 12: Poetry and Identity
May 10: Poetry and Failure and Success

Abigail Burnham Bloom and
AnnaLee Wilson

The One Page Poetry Circle is sponsored by the New York Public Library and is open to all. St. Agnes Branch Library is handicap accessible.

Welcome to the One Page Poetry Circle at St. Agnes Branch Library!

Date: Tuesday, March 8
Time: 5:30 – 6:30 pm
Place: St. Agnes Branch Library, 444 Amsterdam Ave. (near 81st St.), 3rd Fl.
Theme: Poetry and Science

Find a poem! Read a poem! Show up! Discuss a poem!

We’re back for the eighth season of the One Page Poetry Circle where people gather to examine the works of established poets. While there’s no instructor and this is not a workshop for personal writing, once a month OPPC gives everyone a place to become teachers and learners to explore the form, content, language and meaning of poetry. Since the circle started, participants have selected and discussed 866 poems and have read countless others in pursuit of poetry that speaks to them.

Science_MicroscopeNext Meeting March 8!
Come to St. Agnes on Tuesday, March 8 to discuss Poetry and Science, a subject that’s sure to provoke lively discussions.

On the surface poets and scientists seem like oil and water. “Perhaps the arts and the sciences have never slept together without one eye kept warily open,” says poet Albert Goldbarth. This may be true, but there are many intimate connections.

A Victorian engineer, William J.M. Rankine, wrote about the limits of science in “The Mathematician in Love”:

Said he-“If the wandering course of the moon 
“By Algebra can be predicted,
“The female affections must yield to it soon”-
But the lady ran off with a dashing dragoon,
And left him amazed and afflicted.

At the start of “Being Accomplished” the poet Pattiann Rogers shows how science and poets watch, observe, record, and even admit to influencing what they observe. In this way an observation may become a poem:

Balancing on her haunches, the mouse can accomplish 
Certain things with her hands. She can pull the hull 
From a barley seed in paperlike pieces the size of threads. 
She can turn and turn a crumb to create smaller motes 
The size of her mouth. She can burrow in sand and grasp 
One single crystal grain in both of her hands. 
A quarter of a dried pea can fill her palm.

In these opening lines of “My Proteins” from the New Yorker, September 16, 2013, the poet Jane Hirshfield uses the language of science to explore the boundaries of the self. The poem opens with an itch—perhaps the itch to know:

They have discovered, they say, 
The protein of itch— 
Natriuretic polypeptide b— 
And that it travels its own distinct pathway 
Inside my spine. 
As do pain, pleasure, and heat. 
A body it seems is a highway, 
A cloverleaf crossing 
Well built, well traversed.

Recap of February Meeting
On February 9 we met to discuss Poetry from Afar, an attempt to look at poetry outside the usual tradition. With such an interesting subject, we were disappointed at the turnout. We wondered if the snow alert issued for New York City, kept everyone close to home!

Abigail began the evening by discussing her own reservations about translations from a different language into English. Many poets, like Edward Fitzgerald, work with a literal translation of a poem from another culture and then “translate” that into their own poetry, fitting the ideas to their own philosophy and era. This was the course taken by Fitzgerald with the poetry of Omar Khayyám. Edward Said complained that such efforts flatten out the significant differences among diverse peoples and cultures, while they project a vision of their own attributes onto another culture. On the other hand, Salman Rushdie believes that although something is lost in translation, something is also gained as with Fitzgerald’s Rubáiyát. Fitzgerald’s familiar seventh stanza reads:

Come, fill the Cup, and in the Fire of Spring 
The Winter Garment of Repentance fling: 
The Bird of Time has but a little way 
To fly–and Lo! the Bird is on the Wing.

Roger read a translation of Boris Pasternak’s “Definition of Poetry.” Pasternak finds poetry everywhere in the universe:

It’s a whistle that howls in the veins, 
It’s the crackle of ice under pressure, 
It’s the leaf-chilling night in the rain, 
It’s two nightingales dueling together.

Hazel read “Eating Alone” by Li-Young Lee, a Chinese-American poet who writes in English but with a Chinese flavor:

It was my father I saw this morning
waving to me from the trees. I almost
called to him, until I came close enough
to see the shovel, leaning where I had
left it, in the flickering, deep green shade.

Phil read a translated poem by the Polish author Wislawa Szymborska, “The End and the Beginning,” which describes the process through which memory disappears. In an area where once corpses lay, the scene shifts:

In the grass that has overgrown
causes and effects,
someone must be stretched out
blade of grass in his mouth
gazing at the clouds.

AnnaLee read a poem by Kawame Dawes, who was born in Ghana, raised in Jamaica, and who writes in English about everyday life. “Coffee Break” tells of two men filling up balloons when one leaves to get coffee and what happens when he forgets to ask the other how he wants it:

… when I came out
to ask him, he was gone,
just like that, in the time
it took me to think,
cow’s milk or condensed;
the balloons sat lightly
on his still lap.

We look forward to seeing what connection between Poetry and Science you discover and to discussing them with you on March 8.

Bring a poem of a known poet. Bring a friend. Show up! And widen the circle! Without your support the library may find other uses for the spacious room they’ve given us.

We hope you will blog with us at onepagepoetrycircle.wordpress.com.

Spring Schedule: 
March 8: Poetry and Science 
April 12: Poetry and Identity
May 10: Poetry and Failure and Success

Abigail Burnham Bloom and  AnnaLee Wilson

The One Page Poetry Circle is sponsored by the New York Public Library and is open to all. St. Agnes Branch Library is handicap accessible.

 

 

 

Welcome to the One Page Poetry Circle at St. Agnes Branch Library!

Date: Tuesday, February 9
Time: 5:30 – 6:30 pm
Place: St. Agnes Branch Library, 444 Amsterdam Avenue (near 81st Street), 3rd Floor
Theme: Poetry from Afar

OPPC_Poster_Feb09Find a poem! Read a poem! Discuss a poem!
We’re back for the eighth season of the One Page Poetry Circle where people gather to examine the works of established poets. While there’s no instructor and this is not a workshop for personal writing, once a month OPPC gives everyone a place to become teachers and learners to explore the form, content, language and meaning of poetry. Since the circle started, participants have selected and discussed 860 poems and have read countless others in pursuit of poetry that speaks to them.

On February 9 we will have our first get-together of 2016 with Poetry from Afar. Most of the poetry we discuss stems from Great Britain or the United States, so this will be an attempt to look at poetry outside of the usual tradition.

AnnaLee’s first search for Poetry from Afar seemed as if she wasn’t leaving home at all. Poems may have hailed from Romania before WW2, but their English translations were too familiar. After pushing further East, she came upon a contemporary Tibetan poem entitled Zur ze yi ge (“Cynical Letter”) written in 1983. The author, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, who fled Tibet for India, then Scotland, then Colorado and finally Nova Scotia, gives insight into Tibetan Buddhism through irony and a mixing of ancient symbols with modern traditions.

The laughing poet 
Has run out of breath and died. 
The religious spin circles, in accordance with religion;                       
If they had not practiced their religion, they could not spin.
The sinner cannot spin according to religion;
He spins according to not knowing how to spin.
The yogis spin by practicing yoga;
If they don’t have cakras to spin, they are not yogis.
Chögyam is spinning, watching the spinning/samsara;
If there is no samsara/spinning, there is no Chögyam.

—Translated from Tibetan by the author.

In another way of thinking Abigail found that Poetry from Afar may come to the poet from a distant state of mind and may evoke a distant place. Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote as the subtitle of “Kubla Khan,” “Or, a vision in a dream. A Fragment.” The poem begins with an evocative description of an imaginary kingdom:

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan 
A stately pleasure-dome decree: 
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran 
Through caverns measureless to man 
     Down to a sunless sea. 
So twice five miles of fertile ground 
With walls and towers were girdled round; 
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills, 
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree; 
And here were forests ancient as the hills, 
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

Although some forms of Poetry from Afar are familiar to us, like haiku, there is a world of poetry for us to explore!

We look forward to seeing what Poems from Afar you discover and to discussing them with you on February 9.

Bring a poem of a known poet. Bring a friend. And widen the circle! We hope you will blog with us at onepagepoetrycircle.wordpress.com.

Spring Schedule:
February 9: Poetry from Afar
March 8: Poetry and Science
April 12: Poetry and Identity
May 10: Poetry and Failure and Success

Abigail Burnham Bloom and
AnnaLee Wilson

The One Page Poetry Circle is sponsored by the New York Public Library and is open to all. St. Agnes Branch Library is handicap accessible.

The One Page Poetry Circle completed its fall season on December 8 with Poetry and Marriage. For a peek at our spring season, see below.OPPC_KeyArt_Dec08

Abigail opened the circle by reading Robert Browning’s “Two in the Campagna” in which the narrator and his love enjoy Rome’s countryside and wrestle with the difficulty of mortal love, “Infinite passion, and the pain/Of finite hearts that yearn.”

Roger read the most famous marriage poem in Western culture, Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 116,” which opens with words taken from the wedding ceremony. “Let me not to the marriage of true minds/admit impediments.” The poem starts with the timelessness of love and ends with Shakespeare staking his reputation on it: “If this be error and upon me proved,/I never writ, nor no man ever loved.”


Hazel
read the beautiful words of America’s first published woman poet, Anne Bradstreet. “To My Dear and Loving Husband” evokes the strong and specific quality of love in her marriage that she hopes will survive the grave, “Then while we live, in love let’s so persever,/That when we live no more, we may live ever.”

Ralda read Wang Chien’s (768-830) “The New Wife” which is below in its entirety (and would work well for February’s topic):

One the third day she went down to the kitchen, 
Washed her hands, prepared the broth. 
Still unaware of her new mother’s likings, 
She asks his sister to taste.

Gail read couplets from “Locksley Hall” by Alfred Lord Tennyson, wherein the narrator expresses his contempt for his love’s husband, “He will hold thee, when his passion shall have spent its novel force,/Something better than his dog, a little dearer than his horse.”

Eileen read Wilferd Arlan Peterson’s “The Art of a Good Marriage” which gives trite but good advice to the newlywed, “It is not only marrying the right partner, it is being the right partner./It is discovering what marriage can be, at its best.”

AnnaLee closed the circle with Deborah Landau’s “The Wedding Party ” describing the hectic scene and not always polite, but often hilarious, voices at the wedding celebration, “This part we’ll remember. Dull and easy./Before the spawning and apathy./Before the dementia nurse/and waiting for mama to die.”

Thank you, Larry, for posting poems about marriage on our blog. Read them there and make your own comments or make a post yourself at onepagepoetrycircle.wordpress.com.

Though winter hasn’t yet shown its face, we are already looking forward to seeing you February 9, for our first program of 2016: Poetry from Afar. Most of the poems we discuss stem from Great Britain or the United States, so this will be an opportunity to look outside our usual tradition. What poems from afar will you discover? There’s a world of poetry for us to explore!

In the meantime, Happy Holidays to All! And remember to blog with us at onepagepoetrycircle.wordpress.com.

Spring Schedule:

February 9: Poetry from Afar
March 8: Poetry and Science
April 12: Poetry and Identity
May 10: Poetry and Failure and Success

Abigail Burnham Bloom and AnnaLee Wilson

The One Page Poetry Circle is sponsored by the New York Public Library and is open to all. St. Agnes Branch Library is handicap accessible.

Welcome to the One Page Poetry Circle at St. Agnes Branch Library!

Date: Tuesday, December 8
Time: 5:30 – 6:30 pm
Place: St. Agnes Branch Library, 444 Amsterdam Ave (near 81 St), 3rd Fl
Theme: Poetry and Marriage

We’re back for the eighth season of the One Page Poetry Circle where people gather to examine the works of established poets. While there’s no instructor and this is not a workshop for personal writing, once a month OPPC gives everyone a place to become teachers and learners to explore the form, content, language and meaning of poetry. Since the circle started, participants have selected and discussed 853 poems and have read countless others in pursuit of poetry that speaks to them.

OPPC_Poster_Dec08_revOn December 8 we will be talking about poetry that deals with some aspect of marriage. Although couples often seek the perfect love poem for their wedding, the cracks and crevices in a marriage can inspire the best poetry. Here C.D. Wright toasts the everyday pleasures of married life in the start of a poem where the title leads right into the first line: “Everything Good between Men and Women”:

has been written in mud and butter 
and barbecue sauce. The walls and 
the floors used to be gorgeous. 
The socks off-white and a near match. 
The quince with fire blight 
but we get two pints of jelly 
in the end.

Marriage often begins with love, devotion and commitment but too frequently ends with rancor and misery. Why does the hoped for happily-ever-after become a ball and chain? John Dryden wrote long ago in “Marriage a-la-Mode”:

Why should a foolish marriage vow, 
Which long ago was made, 
Oblige us to each now 
When passion is decay’d?

Dryden’s contemplation of the end of marriage embraces calm logic. In “Bitch” Carolyn Kizer assigns a separate identity to her strong feelings about her ex:

Now, when he and I meet, after all these years, 
I say to the bitch inside me, don’t start growling. 
He isn’t a trespasser anymore, 
Just an old acquaintance tipping his hat. 
My voice says, “Nice to see you,” 
As the bitch starts to bark hysterically.

There were so many poems about marriage that it was hard to narrow it down. Click the speech balloon in the left column of this post and send us your comments and poems on the subject.

Our next One Page Poetry Circle on Poetry and Marriage will be the last in 2015, but 2016 will find us back again.

Fall Schedule:
December 8: Poetry and Marriage

Spring Schedule: 
February 9: Poetry from Afar
March 8: Poetry and Science
April 12: Poetry and Identity
May 10: Poetry and Failure and Success

Abigail Burnham Bloom and AnnaLee Wilson

The One Page Poetry Circle is sponsored by the New York Public Library and is open to all. St. Agnes Branch Library is handicap accessible.

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