Archives for category: Poetry and Choices

The One Page Poetry Circle met on May 8th to discuss Poetry and Choice. We all agreed that Choice was a wonderful theme for the last program of the spring season. We enjoyed the variety of poems even though two were by Robert Frost and three were sonnets. The poems reflected the myriad choices we make every day.

Abigail opened our discussion by reading the ending of Mathilde Blind’s drama in miniature, The Russian Student’s Tale,” in which a woman tells a man of her past and he realizes his own limitations, as well as the failure of society, “Poor craven creature! What was I,/To sit in judgment on her life,/Who dared not make this child my wife,/And lift her up to love’s own sky?”

Roger read Robert Frost’s The Armful” in which the poet reflects on keeping the aspects of his life in balance, “I had to drop the armful in the road/And try to stack them in a better load.” The poem appeared in the New York City subway series Poetry In Motion.

Hazel read Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnet XLIII,” “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways,” a celebration of the different ways the author chooses to love, ending with eternal love, “and, if God choose,/I shall but love thee better after death.”

Gail read Balance” by Alice B. Fogel, the Poet Laureate of New Hampshire, “Balance is everything, is the only/way to hold on./I’ve weighed the alternatives, the hold/as harbor: It isn’t safe/to let go.” This poem generated much discussion about its line-by-line meaning although we all know the importance of keeping ourselves in balance in this crazy world.

Ken read Federico Garcia Lorca’s Qasida of the Dark Doves,” an enigmatic poem that generates a surrealistic mood, “Through the laurel branches/I spied two dark doves./One was the sun,/the other the moon.”

Linda read Sonnet XLV” by Edna St. Vincent Millay, telling of a fraught relationship, “I know my mind and I have made my choice;/Not from your temper does my doom depend;/Love me or love me not, you have no voice/In this, which is my portion to the end.”

Cate read Wallace Stevens’s Thirteen ways of Looking at a Blackbird” and let us choose which one we liked best. AnnaLee chose V: “I do not know which to prefer,/The beauty of inflections/Or the beauty of innuendoes,/The blackbird whistling/Or just after.”

Susan read One Art” by Elizabeth Bishop in which the narrator chooses to learn how to lose things or perhaps the things choose to be lost, “The art of losing isn’t hard to master;/so many things seem filled with the intent/to be lost that their loss is no disaster.”

Carol read Allen Steble’s Choices,” which reminded her that we do have a choice in our perspective on life, “We all have a choice/to climb our highest mountain/or fall into our deepest hole/to drink from life’s fountain/or live life like a troubled soul.”

AnnaLee closed the circle with Robert Frost’s beautiful Choose Something Like a Star,” “So when at times the mob is swayed/To carry praise or blame too far,/We may choose something like a star/To stay our minds on and be staid.” This poem was set to music in Randall Thompson’s Frostiana,” a 1959 choral work.

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

Fall 2018 Schedule (all Tuesdays)
September 11, Poetry and Disaster
Tuesday, October 9, Cowboy Poetry
Tuesday, November 13, Poetry and Simplicity
December 11, Poetry and Wine

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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Welcome to the One Page Poetry Circle at St. Agnes Branch Library! 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 began, participants have selected and discussed 1066 poems and have read countless others in pursuit of poetry that speaks to them.

For the May 8 One Page Poetry Circle program, Poetry and Choices, we’ll examine how poets express choices, why they make them, and the consequences. One of the most famous poems on the subject, and perhaps the most abused, is Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” in which the narrator reaches a crossroads. He argues that the choice of which way to go is equal, yet reflects that merely choosing “has made all the difference.” A seemingly smaller choice, a decision of which trees to cut to improve the view, is made by the narrator of Tess Gallagher’s “Choices”:

I go to the mountain side
of the house to cut saplings,
and clear a view to snow
on the mountain. But when I look up,
saw in hand, I see a nest clutched in
the uppermost branches.
I don’t cut that one.
I don’t cut the others either.
Suddenly, in every tree,
an unseen nest
where a mountain
would be.

We’re looking forward to the poems you bring and read aloud on the subject of Choices. Whether a poem concerns a choice, or a poem chooses you, bring one that has meaning for you. And bring copies for the group, if you can. Can’t locate a poem you want to bring? Browse the poetry section at the library or check out Poetry Foundation or poets.org

In the meantime, please blog with us. Comment on the poems discussed here, or post a poem on the subject of Choices or another subject and tell us what it means to you. 

Check back in a month for our new fall 2018 series.

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. 

Date: Tuesday, May 8
Time: 5:30 – 6:30 pm
Place: St. Agnes Branch Library, 444 Amsterdam Ave.,
 3rd Fl.
Theme:
Poetry and Choices