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

Date: Tuesday, April 18
Time: 5:30 – 6:30 pm
Place: St. Agnes Branch Library, 444 Amsterdam Ave.
3rd Fl.
Theme:
Poetry and Silence

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

April’s theme is Poetry and Silence. Feel free to interpret the theme in a way that has meaning for you. We hope you will find a poem you haven’t read before or see an old friend in a new light. Can’t locate a poem you like? Look through a poetry book at the library or check out Poetry Foundation or poets.org.

Silence would seem inimical to poetry, but it is as important as words. Poems use silence, the cessation of words, to create meaning. “Silence” is the last word that Hamlet speaks (Shakespeare’s Hamlet 5.2). The moment contains irony in that the last thing Hamlet says means “nothing” but follows much mental and physical turmoil. Sadly, his voice will be silenced forever—or at least until we read the play again.

The potent poison quite o’ercrows my spirit.
I cannot live to hear the news from England.
But I do prophesy the election lights
On Fortinbras. He has my dying voice.
So tell him, with th’ occurrents, more and less,
Which have solicited. The rest is silence.

In Yvor Winters’ “Before Disaster,” the rhyming couplets tick-tock, lull, increase speed, and then halt, creating a silence where readers can reflect before moving on.

Evening traffic homeward burns,
Swift and even on the turns,
Drifting weight in triple rows,
Fixed relation and repose.
This one edges out and by,
Inch by inch with steady eye.
But should error be increased,
Mass and moment are released;
Matter loosens, flooding blind,
Levels driver to its kind….
Ranks of nations thus descend,
Watchful to a story end.
By a moment’s calm beguiled,
I have got a wife and child.

Simon and Garfunkel’s song, “The Sound of Silence” begins by evoking a mood:

Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence

What other forms of silence have you found in poetry?

We’d love to blog with you here at onepagepoetrycircle.wordpress.com about Poetry and Silence or any other subject that pertains to poetry.

~Abigail Burnham Bloom and AnnaLee Wilson 

We met on March 7th to discuss Poetry and Anaphora, which is the repetition of initial words or phrases. AnnaLee reminded us that many poems also use epistrophe, the repetition of a final word or phrase, and symploce, the repetition of both initial and final words and phrases. Whew! We were delighted by the quality and variety of poems we discussed.

Abigail began by reading Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” which has all of the different forms of repetition, “Honour the charge they made!/Honour the Light Brigade,/Noble six hundred!”

Roger read from Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Bells,” which reveals a lifetime through the ringing of different bells, “Hear the sledges with the bells–/Silver bells!/What a world of merriment their melody foretells!” This poem has been beautifully set to music by Phil Ochs — click on his name and listen!

Hazel read “I Dream I’m the Death of Orpheus” by Adrienne Rich, a poem that pays tribute to the great 1950 film by Jean Cocteau, “I am a woman in the prime of life, with certain powers/and those powers severely limited/by authorities whose faces I rarely see.”

Gail read “The Delight Song of Tsoai-talee” by a Native American writer, N. Scott Momaday, “I stand in good relation to all that is beautiful/I stand in good relation to the daughter of Tsen-tainte/You see, I am alive, I am alive.”

Yasin read “On Living” by the exiled Turkish writer Hazim Hikmet, “Life’s no joke/you must live it in earnest/like a squirrel, for example,/expecting nothing outside of your life or beyond.”

Linda read two poems by Emily Dickinson, including the following in its entirety. The current exhibition of Dickinson at the Morgan Library takes its title from this poem:

I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – too?
Then there’s a pair of us!
Don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know!

How dreary – to be – Somebody!
How public – like a Frog –
To tell one’s name – the livelong June –
To an admiring Bog!

Terry read the frightening words of a fourteen year-old girl as written in “Hanging Fire” by Audre Lorde, “I have nothing to wear tomorrow/will I live long enough/to grow up/and momma’s in the bedroom/with the door closed.”

Mindy read the inspirational words of Maya Angelou in “Still I Rise,” Leaving behind nights of terror and fear/I rise/Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear/I rise/Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,/I am the dream and the hope of the slave./I rise/I rise/I rise.”

AnnaLee closed the circle by reading from “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S. Eliot, “Let us go then, you and I,/When the evening is spread out against the sky/Like a patient etherized upon a table./Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,/The muttering retreats…”

Elisabeth was not able to attend, but thought of “Tender Buttons” by Gertrude Stein, a prose poem: “A TIME TO EAT./A pleasant simple habitual and tyrannical and authorised and educated and resumed and articulate separation. This is not tardy.” It is hard to know what to say of it, but it is fascinating, and has the repetition of the word “and” like our poster for last month.

We look forward to seeing the works you select for Poetry and Silence and to discussing them with you on April 18the. 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.

Please blog with us at onepagepoetrycircle.wordpress.com.

Spring 2017 Schedule
April 18, Poetry and Silence
May 9, Poetry and Theft

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!

shakespeare_and-3We’re back for the ninth season of the One Page Poetry Circle where people gather to examine the works of established poets. Since the circle started, participants have selected and discussed 963 poems and have read countless others in pursuit of poetry that speaks to them. (Bring a poem with you on March 7, and help us break through to 1000).

Anaphora, the theme for our next program, is the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginnings of successive lines of poetry that can create emphasis, suggest connections, or mount up meanings. The repetition generates a pattern that resonates with the listener, producing a musical quality, memorable and seductive.

We take a broad approach to our themes. Whether a poem is literally about the theme, uses the theme in its title, or has even a remote connection to the theme, feel free to interpret and bring a poem that has meaning for you. For the theme of anaphora you might go beyond the repetition of the initial words to enjoy the repetition of lines and refrains. Can’t locate a poem you want to bring? Look through a poetry book at the library or check out Poetry Foundation or poets.org.

One memorable example of anaphora occurs in John of Gaunt’s lines on England in Shakespeare’s Richard II, building up a sense of common heritage:

This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea (2.140-42)

In Mark Strand’s “From a Litany” the title gives the clue that the poem will be an invocation that gains strength through repetition. The word “From,” suggests this repetition may continue ringing beyond the poem’s last word. Here are the first few lines:

There is an open field I lie down in a hole I once dug and I praise the sky.
I praise the clouds that are like lungs of light.
I praise the owl that wants to inhabit me and the hawk that does not.
I praise the mouse’s fury, the wolf’s consideration.
I praise the dog that lives in the household of people and shall never be one of them.

One familiar anonymous proverb uses anaphora to show the connection between various things, a connection that can only be made in hindsight:

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the message was lost.
For want of a message the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

What are your thoughts about anaphora in poetry? You can blog with us now by using the little speech balloon under the headline of this post. Or return later to onepagepoetrycircle.wordpress.com.

We look forward to seeing the works you select for Poetry and Anaphora and to discussing them with you on March 7. 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.

Spring 2017 Schedule:
March 7, Poetry and Anaphora
April 18, Poetry and Silence
May 9, Poetry and Theft 

Time: 5:30 – 6:30 pm
Place: St. Agnes Branch Library, 444 Amsterdam Avenue (near 81st Street), 3rd Floor

~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 February 7th to discuss Poetry and Snakes. Snakes had seemed like such an interesting topic because of their real and metaphoric possibilities. Yet, when we looked for snake poems, we found few that satisfied us. That said, everyone had snake stories and strong feelings about them!

Abigail began by reading Matthew Arnold’s “Cadmus and Harmonia” describing the rural life of two mortals who had been transformed into snakes, “Placed safely in changed forms, the pair/Wholly forgot their first sad life, and home,/And all that Theban woe, and stray/For ever through the glens, placid and dumb.”

Roger read “Dead Snake in the Middle of the Trail” by Fritz Crytzer which explores man’s natural antipathy to snakes, “Who else would wantonly kill the creatures of God/until the scent of their beauty, the taste of their bounty,/has dissolved into a wistful dream of barrenness?/Man, the hating antipathy of Nature’s burgeon.”

AnnaLee read “Fear of Snakes” in which Lorna Crozier describes a young woman confronting sexuality as the boys chase her with a snake, “the others yelling, Drop it down her back, my terror of its sliding in the runnel of my spine (Larry,/the one who touched the inside of my legs on the swing).”

Gail read from “Lamia” by John Keats, wherein he describes a woman transformed into a serpent, “She was a gordian shape of dazzling hue,/Vermilion-spotted, golden, green, and blue;/Striped like a zebra, freckled like a pard,/Eyed like a peacock, and all crimson barr’d.”

Kim read Emily Dickinson’s “A Narrow Fellow in the Grass” with its famous last image: “But never met this Fellow/Attended or alone/Without a tighter Breathing/And Zero at the Bone.”

Karen read the dark “No Reservation” by Poet Destroyer A, “Silently she swarms in like a leech,/Feeding and sucking from the wounds my pain left behind./She came inside: ‘Uninvited!’/Here have a drink, and die!”

Jan read “Man Dog” by Jim Harrison in which a man attempts to act like his dog but finds himself rejected, “Now I’m rather too near a thicket where/I saw a big black snake last week that might decide/to join me. I moved near the actual dog this time/but she got up and went under the porch. She doesn’t like/it when I’m acting weird.”

Terry read “The Boy and the Snake” by Charles Lamb in which a mother watches her innocent child talk to a snake and fears the worst, “The danger’s o’er–she sees the boy/(O what a change from fear to joy!)/Rise and bid the snake ‘good-bye;’/Says he, ‘Our breakfast’s done, and I/Will come again to-morrow day:’/Then, lightly tripping ran away.”

We look forward to seeing the works you select for Poetry and Anaphora and to discussing them with you on March 7. 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.

Please blog with us here at onepagepoetrycircle.wordpress.com. And check back here for our notice for the next One Page Poetry Circle.

Spring 2017 Schedule
March 7, Poetry and Anaphora
April 18, Poetry and Silence
May 9, Poetry and Theft

~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.

oppc_poster_0207Welcome to the One Page Poetry Circle at St. Agnes Branch Library!

Date: Tuesday, February 7
Time: 5:30 – 6:30 pm
Place: St. Agnes Branch Library, 444 Amsterdam Ave. (81st St.), 3rd Fl.
Theme: Poetry and Snakes

We’re back for the ninth 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 955 poems and have read countless others in pursuit of poetry that speaks to them.

Snakes! Yikes! It’s hard not to respond strongly to them and admire them for their mythic appearances in the Garden of Eden, the works of Dr. Freud, the flag of Mexico, the “don’t tread on me” sign, in the grass, and on the campaign trail of Donald Trump where he recited the lyrics of “The Snake,” an Al Wilson song written by Oscar Brown, suggesting the cold bloodedness of snakes and refugees. Because of their ability to shed their skin snakes are also a symbol of rebirth, transformation, and healing, fitting for the start of a new year.

AnnaLee loves “Snake” by D. H. Lawrence who had a great influence on his era’s views on sex, religion, and nature. In a humanist alternative to the Adam and Eve story, Lawrence’s 18-stanza poem opens with a man’s chance meeting with a poisonous snake:

A snake came to my water-trough 
On a hot, hot day, and I in pyjamas for the heat, 
To drink there.

Through alliteration, repetition, enjambment, and more, Lawrence evokes the snake’s slithery slow movements, the darting tongue, and how the creature slakes his thirst. Mr. Snake seems to own his world, until:

The voice of my education said to me 
He must be killed, 
For in Sicily the black, black snakes are innocent, the gold are 
venomous.

The man wrestles with the familiar lessons: that he should fear the evil snake, that to like the creepy guy is perverse, and that not to kill him would be cowardly. The voices within him prevail, and he strikes the creature when its back is turned.

I looked round, I put down my pitcher, 
I picked up a clumsy log 
And threw it at the water-trough with a clatter.

When the poem ends, the man recognizes he has made a mistake. He regrets his sin of narrow-mindedness and must atone.

For he seemed to me again like a king, 
Like a king in exile, uncrowned in the underworld, 
Now due to be crowned again.

And so, I missed my chance with one of the lords 
Of life. 
And I have something to expiate: 
A pettiness.

One of Abigail’s favorite snake poems is Shel Silverstein’s “Boa Constrictor”:

Oh, I’m being eaten 
By a boa constrictor,
A boa constrictor,
A boa constrictor,
I’m being eaten by a boa constrictor,
And I don’t like it–one bit.
Well, what do you know?
It’s nibblin’ my toe.
Oh, gee,
It’s up to my knee.
Oh my,
It’s up to my thigh.
Oh, fiddle,
It’s up to my middle.
Oh, heck,
It’s up to my neck.
Oh, dread,
It’s upmmmmmmmmmmffffffffff . . .

What are your thoughts on the subject of snakes in poetry? Please blog with us here by clicking on the small speech balloon near the title of this post. Our url is
onepagepoetrycircle.wordpress.com.

Spring 2017 Schedule:
February 7, Poetry and Snakes
March 7, Poetry and Anaphora
April 18, Poetry and Silence
May 9, Poetry and Theft

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!
On December 13 OPPC met to discuss Poetry and Endings. At one point in the evening we wondered if everyone had brought in a depressing poem in what should be a time of hope and rebirth.

Abigail began by reading Edith Nesbit’s “On Dit” describing the flowers beneath the snow, the sun after the night and some say, “New life, divine beyond belief,/Somehow, somewhere, some day.” Yet Nesbit does not sound hopeful about the possibility of life after death.

Roger brought in the anonymous tune, “John Brown’s body lies a-mouldering in the grave.” Although there was an end of slavery, and the end of the abolitionist John Brown himself, there has been no end to this song, which became “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” in its most famous manifestation.

Hazel read “January 22nd, Missolonghi” that encompassed Lord Byron’s thoughts on the day he completed his thirty-sixth year and seemed to foreshadow his death in his attempt to free Greece, “The land of honorable death/Is here,—up to the field, and give/Away they breath!”

Phil thought of our President-elect and read T.S. Eliot’s “The Hollow Men,” with its famous final lines, “This is the way the world ends/Not with a bang but a whimper.”

Gail read Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 30” which begins, “When to the sessions of sweet silent thought/I summon up remembrance of things past” and ends with the upbeat, “But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,/All losses are restored and sorrows end.”

Eileen read “O Captain! My Captain!,” Walt Whitman’s evocation of President Lincoln’s assassination just as the Civil War ended, “From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;/ Exult O shores, and ring O bells!/But I with mournful tread,/Walk the deck my Captain lies,/Fallen cold and dead.”

Terry read “Richard Cory” by Edwin Arlington Robinson which describes a man admired and even envied by all, “And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,/Went home and put a bullet through his head.”

Elizabeth read W.S. Merwin’s “Old Man at Home Alone in the Morning,” which ends, “I was old but this morning/is not old and I am the morning/in which the autumn leaves have no question/as the breeze passes through them and is gone.” Written without punctuation, the poem suggests the fluidity of existence and our multi-levels of reflection as we get older.

AnnaLee completed our circle with “Aristotle,” in which the poet Billy Collins shows us the structure of life’s stories through a string of beginnings, middles, and ends. “This is the end, according to Aristotle,/what we have all been waiting for,/what everything comes down to,/the destination we cannot help imagining,/a streak of light in the sky,/a hat on a peg, and outside the cabin, falling leaves.”

Come blog with us at https://onepagepoetrycircle.wordpress.com .

Mark your calendars with our Spring 2017 Schedule:
February 7—Poetry and Snakes
March 7—Poetry and Anaphora
April 18—Poetry and Silence
May 9—Poetry and Theft

Enjoy the holidays! We look forward to seeing you in 2017.

~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.

humptydumpty_1213

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.

We chose the theme of Poetry and Endings not just because December 13 is our last meeting of the year, but also because the last lines of poems have special significance. As 2016 marches toward its end, we give you a stanza from Alfred Lord Tennyson’s “In Memoriam” describing the sound of church bells at the end of the year and the hope for what lies ahead after the poet has experienced a particularly difficult year:

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true. 

When we come to the last words of a fine poem we complete a journey. Ex-Poet Laureate Billy Collins relates his satisfaction when finding an ending to a poem, describing the silence that follows a poem’s last word as something new created between the reader and writer. In her poem “Endings” Mona Van Duyn writes that an end “lights up the meaning of the whole work.” Archibald MacLeish’s famous ending to “Ars Poetica” (here in its entirety) has lit up many a literary discussion:

 A Poem should be palpable and mute
As a globed fruit,

Dumb
As old medallions to the thumb,

Silent as the sleeve-worn stone
Of casement ledges where the moss has grown—

A poem should be wordless
As the flight of birds.

A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs,

Leaving, as the moon releases
Twig by twig the night-entangled trees,

Leaving, as the moon behind the winter leaves,
Memory by memory the mind—

A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs.

A poem should be equal to:
Not true.

For all the history of grief
An empty doorway and a maple leaf.

For love
The leaning grasses and two lights above the sea—

A poem should not mean
But be.

Is there an ending of a poem that you have particularly enjoyed? Do you know a poem where the ending surprises because it takes a turn you didn’t expect? Let us know here at onepagepoetrycircle.wordpress.com.

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

We met on November 1 to discuss Prose Poems. We loved discussing the difference between poetry and prose and found it to be a thin line indeed.

Abigail opened the circle by reading the first paragraph of Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita which begins, “Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth.” Nabokov incorporates the images, meter, alliteration, and density of poetry into his prose.

Roger read the words of two great presidents: Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “Pearl Harbor Speech” telling the nation about “a date which will live in infamy” and Abraham Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address.” We found Lincoln’s words to be more like poetry, more evocative with more rhythms and figures of speech as he contrasts the living with “these honored dead.”

Hazel read Antony’s famous funeral oration from William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, “My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar,/And I must pause till it come back to me.” Clearly written in poetic lines with an iambic pentameter rhythm the words have the sentence structure of a prose speech.

Phil read the beautiful conclusion of Molly Bloom’s soliloquy in James Joyce’s Ulysses: “then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.” Like Nabokov, Joyce was also a poet whose prose is as rich and beautiful as his poetry.

Gail read “Allegory of the Cave” by Stephen Dunn based on Plato’s vision. A man attempts to tell his fellow prisoners what he has learned in the twentieth century but finds himself unable to communicate effectively and eventually, “He just stood here,/confused, a man who had moved/to larger errors, without a prayer.”

Elizabeth read a review from Poetry Magazine by Frederick Seidel of a book of poems by Jonathan Galassi that approached poetry itself, “In the middle of Galassi’s life’s journey, in the middle of the dark woods, the road forked. Galassi had no choice —and chose—and wrote these poems. You have here the music of civilized decency superintending a heart raving and roaring like a lion.”

Eileen read Grace Paley’s “Here” which states with lovely simplicity what life is like for her, “Here I am in the garden laughing/an old woman with heavy breasts/and a nicely mapped face.”

AnnaLee closed the circle by singing a ballad, “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll,” a true story of racial injustice, written in the Civil Rights era by Bob Dylan, winner of the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature. In the final twist of the refrain, “Oh, but you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears/Bury the rag deep in your face/For now’s the time for your tears,” Dylan gives America permission to cry.

Between prose that reads like poetry and poetry that reads like prose, we found the two delightfully intertwined and inseparable. As Peter Johnson explains, “Just as black humor straddles the fine line between comedy and tragedy, so the prose poem plants one foot in prose, the other in poetry, both heels resting precariously on banana peels.”

We look forward to seeing the works you select for Poetry and Endings and to discussing them with you on December 13. 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.

Blog with us here at onepagepoetrycircle.wordpress.com.

Fall Schedule:
December 13, Poetry and 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.

Come to the next One Page Poetry Circle on Tuesday, November 1 at 5:30 – 6:30 pm with a Prose Poem by a published poet. Address is below.

prosepoem_1101rProse poems lack the line breaks traditionally associated with poetry but have the intensity of language, succinctness, images, repetition, rhythm and perhaps even rhyme of poetry. The Japanese combined prose and poetry for the haibun in the seventeenth century. The French symbolist poets created the poetic form in the nineteenth century in reaction to the rigidity of the established form. Prose poetry continued in the early twentieth century most famously by Gertrude Stein and John Dos Passos then returned in the 50s and 60s with Charles Simic, James Wright, Bob Dylan, and others. Baudelaire, concludes in the ecstatic “Be Drunk”:

And if sometimes, on the steps of a palace or the green grass of a ditch, in the mournful solitude of your room, you wake again, drunkenness already diminishing or gone, ask the wind, the wave, the star, the bird, the clock, everything that is flying, everything that is groaning, everything that is rolling, everything that is singing, everything that is speaking… ask what time it is and wind, wave, star, bird, clock will answer you: “It is time to be drunk! So as not to be the martyred slaves of time, be drunk, be continually drunk! On wine, on poetry or on virtue as you wish.”

A Supermarket in California,” one of Allen Ginsberg’s earliest forays into prose poetry, begins by invoking Whitman and Lorca, two poetry experimenters he admires:

What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whitman, for I walked down the sidestreets under the trees with a headache self-conscious looking at the full moon.

In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went into the neon fruit supermarket, dreaming of your enumerations!

What peaches and what penumbras! Whole families shopping at night! Aisles full of husbands! Wives in the avocados, babies in the tomatoes!—and you, García Lorca, what were you doing down by the watermelons?

Much prose, whether from the Bible, William Faulkner, or James Joyce, resonates with poetry. The start of the latter’s Finnegans Wake seems to flow full circle, “riverrun, past Eve and Adam’s, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs.”

We look forward to seeing the works you select for Prose Poems and to discussing them with you on November 1. Bring a poem of a known poet. Bring a friend. Show up and widen the circle! And in the meantime, we hope you will blog with us here at onepagepoetrycircle.wordpress.com.

 

The One Page Poetry Circle, sponsored by the New York Public Library is open to all. St. Agnes Branch Library, 444 Amsterdam Avenue (81st Street), 3rd Fl. Handicap accessible. 

 

 

We met on October 4 to discuss Poems for Your Pocket.

Abigail began the circle by reading from Edna St. Vincent Millay’s “Renascence” which she had first read at the site it describes in Camden, Maine. The poem begins, “All I could see from where I stood/Was three long mountains and a wood” and then goes on to envision the narrator developing a new relation with nature and with poetry.

Roger read William Ernest Henley’s “Invictus” which he kept in his pocket at a difficult time in his life. Concluding with the well-known words, “I am the master of my fate,/I am the captain of my soul,” this poem was also the pocket poem of Nelson Mandela and Timothy McVeigh.

Hazel read a poem we all know, love, and relate to: “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost. The final stanza, “The woods are lovely, dark and deep,/But I have promises to keep,/And miles to go before I sleep,/And miles to go before I sleep,” reminds us to look around at what is beautiful but that we also must move on to fulfill our obligations and our lives.

Gail read John Keats’s beautiful “Ode on Melancholy,” cautioning us that all is fleeting, “She dwells with Beauty—Beauty that must die;/And Joy, whose hand is ever at his lips/Bidding adieu.”

Karen read “The Blue Between” by Christine George calling on us to look beyond the obvious, “Everyone watches clouds,/Naming creatures they’ve seen/I see sky differently/I see the sky between.”

Terry read “Life’s Scars” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, another life lesson and reminder, “This rule all lives will prove;/The rankling wound which aches and thrills/Is dealt by hands we love.”

AnnaLee closed the circle by reading Sheniz Janmohamed’s, “The Road Ghazal” describing a life journey: “Pack light, walk tall/You’ll need courage to take this road./The maple bows to you, scattering her leaves upon this road.” A ghazal is a traditional eastern lyric poem normally set to music, and this poem spoke to all of us.

Elisabeth couldn’t make the circle, but had planned to read “Next Time Ask More Questions” by Naomi Shihab Nye, which suggests we slow down and consider, “Before jumping, remember/the span of time is long and gracious.”

We look forward to seeing the works you select for Prose Poems and to discussing them with you on November 1. Bring a poem of a known poet. Bring a friend. Show up and widen the circle!

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

Fall Schedule:
November 1, Prose Poems
December 13, Poetry and 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.