Archives for category: Poetry and Punctuation

Welcome to the One Page Poetry Circle at St. Agnes Branch Library! where we met on October 17 to discuss Poetry and Punctuation.

Perhaps because the topic was unusual, we had fewer participants than usual. This didn’t stop us from enjoying and discussing the different poems people brought and the variety of approaches to the theme. We noticed that where punctuation was unusual, so were capitalization, rhyme, and meaning.

Abigail opened the circle with José Garcia Villa’s “comma poem” 136 where he uses a comma after every word to regulate what he describes as “the poem’s verbal density and time movement”: “The, hands, on, the, piano, are, armless./No, one, is, at, the, piano.”

Roger read “The Thunder Mutters” by John Clare, a working class poet of nature who spent much of his adult life in an insane asylum. He uses only one punctuation mark to show the point at which the rumblings of thunder become a storm:

The thunder mutters louder & more loud
With quicker motion hay folks ply the rake
Ready to burst slow sails the pitch black cloud
& all the gang a bigger haycock make
To sit beneath—the woodland winds awake
The drops so large wet all thro’ in an hour
A tiney flood runs down the leaning rake
In the sweet hay yet dry the hay folks cower
& some beneath the waggon shun the shower

Gail read Emily Dickinson’s description of the sea, which she never saw, #656, replete with dashes: “I started Early — Took my Dog —/And visited the Sea —/The Mermaids in the Basement/Came out to look at me —”

Dulce Maria read “When I Am Dead,” a poem that has been attributed to many different authors, which she heard read at a funeral: “I’ll have them come, those precious few/And shed perhaps, a tear or two/And then without a sob or moan/Go softly out, and leave alone.”

Ken read Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s “The World Is a Beautiful Place” which contains no punctuation and begins, “The world is a beautiful place/to be born into/if you don’t mind happiness/not always being/so very much fun”.

Linda read Robert Frost’s “October,” which has a punctuation mark at the end of each line, and reminded us of the weather outside: “O hushed October morning mild,/Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;/Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,/Should waste them all.”

Iyara read a poem she wrote, a practice we discourage, but we were impressed that she was inspired by the poetry she heard in the Circle.

AnnaLee closed the circle by reading a poem without any punctuation, W. S. Merwin’s “For the Anniversary of My Death”: As today writing after three days of rain/Hearing the wren sing and the falling cease/And bowing not knowing to what”. Though the poem begins with a capital letter, there is no period at the end, showing the poet is still alive.

Christiana was unable to attend, but sent us Ronald Wallace’s “The Student Theme,” “Because it uses almost every form of punctuation, and made me smile…”

The adjectives all ganged up on the nouns,
insistent, loud, demanding, inexact,
their Latinate constructions flashing. The pronouns
lost their referents: They were dangling, lacked
the stamina to follow the preposition’s lead
in, on, into, to, toward, for, or from.
They were beset by passive voices and dead
metaphors, conjunctions shouting But! Or And!

Please blog with us at onepagepoetrycircle.wordpress.com.

Fall 2017 Schedule
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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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.