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.

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