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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