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.

 

 

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