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

OPPC_Art_Punctuation_Oct17

Date: Tuesday, October 17
Time: 5:30 – 6:30 pm
Place: St.Agnes Br. Library, 444 Amsterdam Av (81
st St. 3rd Fl)
Theme:
Poetry and Punctuation 

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

We’re back for the tenth 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 1002 poems and have read countless others in pursuit of poetry that speaks to them.

Punctuation is a governing principle in poetry whether the poet uses “correct” punctuation, unusual punctuation, a ton of punctuation, or none at all. Punctuation may create an unusual look to a poem, emphasize ideas and words, solidify meaning, or signal when to breathe when reading the poem aloud.

E.E. Cummings often uses no punctuation but may indent lines to signal pauses as in his poem “Buffalo Bill’s”:

Buffalo Bill’s
defunct
            who used to
            ride a watersmooth-silver
                                                stallion
and break onetwothreefourfive pigeonsjustlikethat
                                                                        Jesus

he was a handsome man
                                    and what i want to know is
how do you like your blueeyed boy
Mister Death

At the other extreme, André Letoit, aka Koos Kombuis, wrote a poem, “Tip-Ex-Sonate,” which consists only of punctuation.

In the German poet Christian Morgenstern’s 1905 poem, “In the Land of Punctuation,” a prescient, darkly comical world of punctuation marks engages in a bloody war to exterminate semi-colons:

The peaceful land of Punctuation
is filled with tension overnight
When the stops and commas of the nation
call the semicolons “parasites”

. . .

The exclamation holds a sermon
with colon’s help, right on the spot
Then through their comma-form free nation
They all march home: dash, dot, dash, dot…
—(Trans. Sirish Rao)

We take a broad approach to our themes. Whether a poem is actually about punctuation, has the word “punctuation” in its title or body, or uses punctuation in its lines, feel free to bring a poem that has meaning for you. 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.

We look forward to the poems you bring for Poetry and Punctuation. As a reminder, OPPC is not for reading poems you have written, but an opportunity to appreciate well-established poets.

In the meantime, we hope you will take the leap and blog with us here on the subject of poetry and Punctuation, or poetry and…

Fall 2017 Schedule
October 17: Poetry and Punctuation
November 14: Poetry and Power
December 12: Poetry and Windows

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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We had a great turnout for the first of our fall 2017 season on September 12, where we examined poetry and Commemoration. 

Abigail began the circle with Jacqueline Woodson’s “Occasional Poem,” in which a student responds to a teacher’s assignment, “I guess them arguing/on a Tuesday in January’s an occasion/So I guess this is an occasional poem.” Although an occasional poem is another word for a commemorative poem, this one was not written for a traditional public event.

Roger read Marc Antony’s famous speech, “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears,” from William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, a work that starts as a commemorative oration but ends as an incitement to riot: “Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest—/For Brutus is an honourable man;/So are they all, all honourable men—/Come I to speak in Caesar’s funeral.”

Hazel read William Wordsworth’s “Composed upon Westminster Bridge,” a poem that commemorates or remembers London before sunrise, “The river glideth at his own sweet will:/Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;/And all that mighty heart is lying still!”

Gail read a shortened version of Yevgeni’s Yevtushenko’s “Babi Yar,” a poem that became a monument commemorating an horrific event, “No monument stands over Babi Yar./A steep cliff only, like the rudest headstone./I am afraid./Today, I am as old/As the entire Jewish race itself.”

Christiana read “Grand Central” by Billy Collins, which reads in its entirety:

The city orbits around eight million
centers of the universe
and turns around the golden clock
at the still point of this place.

Lift up your eyes from the moving hive
and you will see time circling
under a vault of stars and know
just when and where you are.

Linda read “Villanelle for an Anniversary” by Seamus Heaney, composed about the founder of Harvard University, “Begin again where frosts and tests were hard./Find yourself or founder. Here, imagine/A spirit moves, John Harvard walks the yard,/The books stand open and the gates unbarred.”

Eileen read Primo Levi’s “Shema” in which he substitutes knowledge of the holocaust for the well-known Jewish prayer, “Consider that this has been:/I commend these words to you./Engrave them on your hearts.”

Terry read “The Dogwood Tree” by Curtis Moorman, a poem she announced was not very good but that intrigued her because the author wrote prolifically from jail, “Legend says of the Dogwood tree/That on it, Christ was crucified/His blood was shed for you and me/When the soldier pierced His side.”

Vincent read “Normandy, the Impossible Made Possible,” a poem he had written and published describing the landing of the Allies, “Into the face of death, they forged our destiny,/Changing the course of history.”

Maria read William Wordsworth’s “Daffodils,” which examines how a scene can be remembered, “For oft, when on my couch I lie/In vacant or in pensive mood,/They flash upon that inward eye/Which is the bliss of solitude;/And then my heart with pleasure fills,/And dances with the daffodils.”

AnnaLee completed the circle with Mary Jo Bang’s “The Role of Elegy,” which describes a type of commemorative poem, and explores the poet’s difficulty memorializing her son’s death: “The role of elegy is/To put a death mask on tragedy,/A drape on the mirror.”

Scott couldn’t make the meeting but found a poem celebrating an event in the Boer War, which included the lines:

They went across the veldt,
As hard as they could pelt.

Like much of commemorative poetry, these lines are awful. Unfortunately great poetry cannot usually be composed on command.

We look forward to the poems you bring for Poetry and Punctuation. As a reminder, OPPC is not for reading poems you have written, but an opportunity to appreciate well-established poets. 

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

Fall 2017 Schedule

October 17: Poetry and Punctuation
November 14: Poetry and Power
December 12: Poetry and Windows

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.


We kick off the One Page Poetry Circle fall program with Commemoration Poetry, also called occasional poetry, which is composed for a particular occasion or after a significant event. Commemoration poems are frequently written to celebrate weddings and to enhance funerals, military victories, defeats and anniversaries. Early British poets often received patronage for writing commemoration verse and the Poet Laureate of England was originally appointed for the purpose of writing verse for significant national occasions, as Alfred, Lord Tennyson wrote “The Charge of the Light Brigade.” Many people believe that Alfred Austin may have been the worst Poet Laureate as he commemorated the illness of the Prince of Wales with these lines, “Across the wires the electric message came, He is no better, he is much the same.”

Similar lines by Philip Larkin, erected at a memorial planter in Queen Square Gardens on the occasion of Elizabeth II’s 1977 Silver Jubilee, have an intriguing backstory:

In times when nothing stood
But worsened, or grew strange,
There was one constant good:
She did not change

Elizabeth Alexander read her commemoration poem, “Praise Song for the Day,” at the inauguration of Barack Obama as President in 2009 in a tradition that includes Robert Frost celebrating the inauguration of President Kennedy (1961), and Maya Angelou (1993) and Miller Williams (1997) celebrating Bill Clinton’s inaugurations.

Commemoration poems, although often lyric, can also take the form of elegy, epithalamion and ode. These are poems written for a public and often performed before an audience, which distinguishes them from any poem that may be written for an occasion. One of the most famous World War I commemoration poems is “For the Fallen” by Robert Laurence Binyon, which contains this familiar verse:

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

In “Old South Meeting House,” a 2016 poem commissioned by the Academy of American Poets, January Gill O’Neil chose to commemorate a historical church now dwarfed by surrounding skyscrapers along Boston’s Freedom Trail, “At this time of political divides, I wanted to end on a note of hope”:

In praise and dissent.
We draw breath from brick. Ignite the fire in us.
Speak to us:
the language is hope.

Do you have a commemorate poem you especially like? We invite you to post it on this blog and tell us why you liked it. Let’s hear from you.

To add a comment or post a poem, just click on the little speech balloon near the headline of this post.

~Abigail Burnham Bloom and AnnaLee Wilson

One Page Poetry Circle

September 12, 2017
NYPL St. Agnes Branch, 444 Amsterdam Ave.
5:30 -6:30 PM.

One Page Poetry Circle sponsored by the New York Public Library is open to all. St. Agnes Branch Library is handicap accessible. 

The One Page Poetry Circle met on May 9th to discuss Poetry and Theft. We had a great turnout for our last program of the spring season.

Abigail opened our discussion with two poems, “Jenny Kiss’d Me” by Leigh Hunt, which employs the metaphor of time as a thief, and John MilSafe_Open_Emptyton’s “Sonnet 7,” in which Abigail believes she has found the origin of the metaphor. “How soon hath Time, the subtle thief of youth,/Stol’n on his wing my three-and-twentieth year!” We were impressed by Milton’s concern about how little he had accomplished by the age of 23 and how much he would eventually accomplish.

Roger read Wendy Videlock’s poem “Disarmed,” in which a mother views the evidence of her son’s stolen snacks as he sleeps, “how could I be uncharmed by this,/your secret world, your happy mess?”

Phil read “The Thieves” by Robert Graves which describes lovers who thieve, reciprocally, from each other, “After, when they disentwine/You from me and yours from mine,/Neither can be certain who/Was that I whose mine was you.”

Hazel and Terry brought the same poem, something that seldom happens, and examined in different ways Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 99”: “The forward violet thus did I chide:/Sweet thief, whence didst thou steal thy sweet that smells,/If not from my love’s breath?”

Ken read Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower”: “‘There must be some way out of here,’/Said the joker to the thief/‘There’s too much confusion, I can’t get no relief’” and we discussed different interpretations of who the joker and the thief represent and what the song means.

Elizabeth spoke about the theft of a civilization, something experienced by the Hmong people. She brought with her a piece of tapestry that tells (if we knew how to read it) the history of one family and a poem by Mai Der Vang “Cipher Song”: “It’s come to this. We hide the stories/on our sleeves, patchwork of cotton veins.”

Linda read “Ralph Rhodes,” a selection from the Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters: “And you look up, and there’s your Theft,/Who waited until your head was gray,/And your heart skipped beats to say to you:/The game is ended./I’ve called for you.”

Salomé read “Richard Cory” by Edwin Arlington Robinson, a poem describing a man who was rich and respected, “So on we worked, and waited for the light,/And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;/And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,/Went home and put a bullet through his head.”

Gail read Philip Larkin’s “Home Is So Sad,”

Home is so sad. It stays as it was left,
Shaped to the comfort of the last to go
As if to win them back. Instead, bereft
Of anyone to please, it withers so,
Having no heart to put aside the theft
And turn again to what it started as,
A joyous shot at how things ought to be,
Long fallen wide. You can see how it was:
Look at the pictures and the cutlery.
The music in the piano stool. That vase.

Karen read two poems from an anthology used to teach children that describe, as in the Larkin poem above, the emptiness in a home. “There Are Four Chairs Round the Table” by John Foster begins, “There are four chairs round the table,/Where we sit down for our tea./But now we only set places/For Mum, for Terry and me.” One of the authors in this anthology said he writes poetry because: “A. When you didn’t follow teacher’s directions to write a poem, you got the cane. B. Later, I thought that girls would realize what a sensitive and wonderful human being I was. They did not. C. Now, to entertain children.”

Stan read the work of a Cherokee poet, Santee Frazier, “The Robbery” which begins, “Red ambulance flicker, curbstone, wheels, a gurney. Down the breezeway a baby, crying out among the gawk-mouthed heads./Knifed, sliced, the man bleeding through the gauze and onto his belly.”

AnnaLee closed the circle with “The Stealing Poems” by Robert Adamson, which compares the act of theft with sex:

It’s the way you feel
as you do it
it’s not good
or bad or anything
and you lose
the feeling as soon as
it’s over
it’s like sex a lot
that’s why when you steal
when you’re a kid
it’s so strange
because you haven’t got sex
to compare it to

Have a wonderful summer and we will see you in the fall. And remember to blog with us at onepagepoetrycircle.wordpress.com. Don’t be shy.

Fall 2017 Schedule:
September 12: Poetry and Commemoration
October 17: Poetry and Punctuation
November 14: Poetry and Power
December 12: Poetry and Windows

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 Tuesday, May 9, we’ll be reading and discussing the work of established poets on the theme of Poetry and Theft (see particulars below).

Stop thief! Whether someone steals your heart, your belongings, or your poetry, there is a lot of theft out there. While theft and losing things can be bad, poetic theft borrows from other poets to add to the conversation and that’s valuable — unless too much is stolen from one poet and then it’s piracy!

In the poetic form cento (collage), which goes back to Virgil and Homer, every part of a poem must be filched from a different poet. Simone Muench’s “Wolf Cento” begins with words from Anne Sexton’s “Frenzy” and ends with a line from Carl Sandburg’s “Wilderness.”

Very quick. Very intense, like a wolf
at a live heart, the sun breaks down.
What is important is to avoid
the time allotted for disavowels
as the livid wound
leaves a trace    leaves an abscess
takes its contraction for those clouds
that dip thunder & vanish
like rose leaves in closed jars.
Age approaches, slowly. But it cannot
crystal bone into thin air.
The small hours open their wounds for me.
This is a woman’s confession:
I keep this wolf because the wilderness gave it to me.

In Shakespeare’s Othello, Iago, a character who intends to ruin Desdemona and Othello, states something that is true, but his truthfulness disguises his intentions: 

Who steals my purse steals trash; ’tis something, nothing;
’twas mine, ’tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him,
 
And makes me poor indeed.

In “Song of Fairies Robbing an Orchard” Leigh Hunt wrote of the rewards of theft:

Stolen sweets are always sweeter,
Stolen kisses much completer,
Stolen looks are nice in chapels,
Stolen, stolen, be your apples.

If you can’t make our free library event let’s hear from you anyway by telling us what poem you would have brought or commenting. To do so, click on the small gray speech balloon next to the date.

Abigail Burnham Bloom and AnnaLee Wilson

Poetry and Theft
Tuesday, May 9, 5:30 – 6:30 pm, St. Agnes Branch Library, 444 Amsterdam Avenue (near 81st Street), 3rd Floor

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 April 18 to discuss Poetry and Silence. We loved the poems everyone brought and the happy noise made over poetry!

Abigail began by reading Maria Jane Jewsbury’s “A Farewell to the Muse” which involves self-imposed renunciation and silence, “Farewell Song! —thy last notes quiver, —/Muse,—Lute, —Music, —farewell now!”

Roger read “Silence” by Edgar Lee Masters about the great difficulty of communication, “Of what use is language?/A beast of the field moans a few times/When death takes its young./And we are voiceless in the presence of realities.”

It was a relief when Phil read Carl Sandburg’s humorous “Aprons of Silence”: So many times I was asked/To come and say the same things/Everybody was saying, no end/To the yes-yes, yes-yes,/me-too, me-too.”

Hazel read “Ode on a Grecian Urn” a celebration of unheard melodies by John Keats and remarked that T. S. Eliot thought the famous last two lines spoil a good poem, “‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty,’ —that is all/Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”

Gail read from Adrienne Rich’s “Cartographies of Silence,” a work Gail first read as a meditation in a prayer book, “Silence can be a plan/rigorously executed/the blueprint to a life.”

Linda read Michael Shepherd’s “! The Sound of Silence” which celebrates the life in everything: “And I hear in the sound of the chisel on the stone,/as sure as I know my own name,/that the sculptor is listening to all this too.” Note the strange use of punctuation in the title.

Eileen remembered a poem she had read “maybe 50 years ago” and brought Muriel Rukeyser’s “Effort at Speech Between Two People” to share with us: “: Speak to me. Take my hand. What are you now?/I will tell you all. I will conceal nothing.” Here the poet’s creative use of punctuation starts each segment and follows throughout.

Karen read “Patch of Light in Deep Woods” by Maurice Manning describing a magical moment, “I listen silently to the silence,/and then six or seven, a spiral stream of hummingbirds pours through the hole/as silver-green swirled down a funnel.” We couldn’t find this online, but did fine Manning’s “Provincial Thought”: “it struck me as a symbol inside/another symbol, a silence inside/a silence, and another silence fell on me.”

Carol read “The Sound of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel, a song that resonates in many of our minds when we think of silence, “And the vision that was planted in my brain/Still remains/Within the sound of silence.”

Jaye read “To Those Who Are Alone” by Deafening Silence, “To those who are alone/and live their lives just drifting by,” to which Jaye added… “at my dinner party!” which she plans to have for vulnerable people.

AnnaLee closed the circle with Timothy Yu’s “Chinese Silence No. 22” which uses a series of stereotypes to eventually bring out individuality, “The Italians are making their pasta,/the French are making things French,/and the Chinese cultivate their silence.”

She also pointed out how the great Leonard Cohen’s two beats of silence towards the end of “Hallelujah” are as important as sound.

We look forward to seeing the works you select for Poetry and Theft and to discussing them with you at our next meeting on May 9 at the St. Agnes Branch Library, 444 Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan. . 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.

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!

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.