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

Date: Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Time: 5:30 – 6:30 pm
Place: St. Agnes Branch Library, 444 Amsterdam Avenue (near 81st St), 3rd Fl.
Subject OPPC_20150310: Poetry and Red

Find a poem! Read a poem! Discuss a poem!

The theme for March is red, a color found on the far end of the visible spectrum. Red is associated with everything from virtue to sin, from safety to danger. In Christianity red is associated with both the Blood of Christ and the Whore of Babylon. Poetic references to the color include such diverse items as politics, the sun, birds, anger, fiery beards, tresses, and poppies.

In the haiku-like stanzas of “Red Beans” the poet Victor Hernández Cruz treats us to servings of red beans and white rice. On one plate iron-colored beans are ringed by hills of white rice. In another the red of the gravy becomes the lava seeping through a field of white rice. The poem ends in a vision of red beans and milk mixing to make a delicate burgundy. Is Cruz speaking about a beautiful hot and fiery mixing of peoples?

Next to white rice
it looks like coral
sitting next to snow

Hills of starch
border
The burnt sienna
of irony

Azusenas being chased by
the terra cotta feathers
of a rooster

There is a lava flow
through the smoking
white mounds

India red
spills on ivory

Ochre cannon balls
falling
next to blanc pebbles

Red beans and milk
make burgundy wine

Violet pouring
from the eggshell
tinge of the plate.

The beloved poet Robert Burns uses red as an expression of deep emotion in this excerpt from his 1794 song, “A Red, Red Rose”:

O my Luve’s like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June;
O my Luve’s like the melody
That’s sweetly play’d in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I:
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry:

In Burns’ famous lines the speaker boasts of his undying love, aligning this with the eternities of nature. At the same time the image of the “red, red rose” indicates the spring of love, which must, like the flower, fade in the fall. An interesting note: Bob Dylan selected this as the poem that had the greatest impact on his life.

We look forward to reading and discussing your selections for our next program, Poetry and Red, on March 10th. Bring a friend and widen the circle!

And remember to blog with us here about all things concerning poetry. Don’t be shy.

Schedule for the spring:
March 10: Poetry and Red
April 14: Lyric poetry
May 12: Poetry and Health

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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