Archives for posts with tag: Carolyn Kizer

Welcome to the One Page Poetry Circle! We collected the poems you sent for the April 14th program on Poetry and Satire.

Abigail thought of Arthur Hugh Clough’s “http://The Last Decalogue” that rewrites the Ten Commandments for the Victorian era and could certainly apply today: “Bear not false witness; let the lie/Have time on its own wings to fly:/Thou shalt not covet; but tradition/Approves all forms of competition.”

Roger discovered ” http://The Hero” by Siegfried Sassoon, wherein a mother is told her soldier son is a hero, when in reality he tried to get hurt in order to get sent home; instead, he died: “Blown to small bits. And no one seemed to care/Except that lonely woman with white hair.”

Carla, reminds us that April was poetry month, and sent “The Tale of Custard the Dragon” by Ogden Nash in which a kitten, a mouse, a dog, and a cowardly dragon encounter a pirate. While the rest flee in terror, Custard, “With a clatter and a clank and a jangling squirm/He went at the pirate like a robin at a worm.” This poem, that Carla kept in her pocket for years, wonderfully suggests how we can be mislabeled and behave differently than anyone would anticipate.

Ellen thought of “Bassoon” from People of Note by Laurence McKinney and illustrated by Gluyas Williams, a book which was left to her by her father, a bassoonist. The poem claims that it was not the Ancient Mariner “That spoiled his day and changed his tune” of the Wedding Guest, “Ah, no, — ‘he heard the loud BASSOON.’”

Gail proposed “Imaginary Countries: The Real World” by Michael Sharkey, with its use of famous artists, “wielding the best-known characteristic of their works as modifiers”: “And while we watch Magritte’s sky turn El Greco,/roofs de Chirico beneath the plastic clouds,/a plane is pasted on a sudden patch of blue.”

Cate was intrigued by the satirization of the hypocrisy of standard social interaction in Carolyn Kizer’s “Bitch.” The protagonist “uses the metaphor of a female dog to characterize her deepest and varied feelings about her former relationship”: “Now, when he and I meet, after all these years,/I say to the bitch inside me, don’t start growling.”

Christiana chose “Little Jack Horner” by Mother Goose because this “satire reflects timeless segments of society and politics”: “He put in his thumb,/And pulled out a plum,/And said, ‘What a good boy am I!’”

Barbara sent “In Westminster Abbey” by John Betjeman, which seems “appropriate now as we shelter from coronavirus, as an expression of one person’s (inadequate) participation in a wider social cause”: “But, gracious Lord, whate’er shall be,/Don’t let anyone bomb me.”

Katherine found e.e. cummings’s “Ballad of an Intellectual” reminiscent “of the under belly of the eager and noble pursuit of knowledge within ivy towers”: “It’s the social system,it isn’t me!/Not I am a fake,but America’s phoney!/Not I am no artist,but Art’s bologney!” We forgot to add Katherine’s suggestion for last month, Dog Songs by Mary Oliver, “each poem opens a door that is a portal into a universe of reflections, feelings and resonances.”

Carol was struck by how appropriate Kelly Crenshaw’s 2014 prose poem, “Cyber real” is today: “I want to touch life and hold on tight I want to unblock true friends And ‘like’ real sights. I want conversation face to face In real world time In a real world place.”

Stan reports that he is reading Juvenal, a great Roman satirist, “who I haven’t read since I learned Latin at school!” And this is what we love about having a theme for our meetings: it brings us back to poetry we have read and allows us to encounter poems we have not met before.

AnnaLee chose “Introduction” by Alice Duer Miller. The poem’s third line became a slogan of the women’s suffrage movement:

Father, what is a Legislature?
A representative body elected by the people of the state.
Are women people?
No, my son, criminals, lunatics and women are not people.
Do legislators legislate for nothing?
Oh, no; they are paid a salary.
By whom?
By the people.
Are women people?
Of course, my son, just as much as men are.

If you would like to discuss any of these, or think of another poem you’d like to share on the subject or Poetry and Satire, please post or link it to this blog. Include a few words about why you liked it.

~Abigail Burnham Bloom and AnnaLee Wilson



Welcome to the One Page Poetry Circle at St. Agnes (OPPC) blog.

We met on April 17th to talk about Poetry and Timing. The poems people brought were diverse in their interpretation, prompting everyone to agree that every poem written would fit the subject.

Abigail opened the circle by reading “Shadow March” by Robert Louis Stevenson, in which a child in bed describes the terrors of the night with lines that create a unique timing by alternating meters and rhymes, “The shadow of the balusters, the shadow of the lamp,/The shadow of the child that goes to bed — /All the wicked shadows coming tramp, tramp, tramp,/With the black night overhead.”

Roger read “Time and Life” by Algernon Charles Swinburne with its contrasting views of time, “Girt about with shadow, blind and lame,/Ghosts of things that smite and thoughts that sicken/Hunt and hound thee down to death and shame,” followed by the thought that “rest is born of me for healing.”

Hazel read Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “Sunset” from Queen Mab, an intoxicating view of a particular time of day, “Whilst suns their mingling beamings darted/Through clouds of circumambient darkness,/And pearly battlements around/Looked o’er the immense of heaven.”

Gail read Robin Chapman’s “Time” in which the narrator’s 87 year-old neighbor rings the doorbell and proceeds to give an update on her life, “her car and driver’s license/are missing though she can drive perfectly/well, just memory problems, and her son/is coming this morning to take her up/to Sheboygan, where she was born.” The poem is also a wonderful example of Enjambment, which was last month’s theme.

Terry read Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 49” on the unreliability of love and the law of human nature, which begins, “Against that time, if ever that time come,/When I shall see thee frown on my defects,” and ends, “To leave poor me thou hast the strength of laws,/Since why to love I can allege no cause.”

Christiana read “The Listeners” by Walter de la Mare, with its enigmatic sense of bad timing, “But only a host of phantom listeners/That dwelt in the lone house then/Stood listening in the quiet of the moonlight/To that voice from the world of men.”

Cate read Carolyn Kizer’s “Reunion” in which the narrator describes meeting a man she knew thirty years before, who had taught her, “inadvertently” that “The finest intellect can be a bore”…“I nod, I sip my wine, I praise your view,/Grateful, my dear, that I escaped from you.”

AnnaLee closed the circle with Edith Sitwell’s raucous “Sir Beelzebub” which begins “When/Sir/Beelzebub called for his syllabub in the hotel in Hell/Where Proserpine first fell” and ends “None of them come!” The poem was set to music by William Walton and recited by Barbara Hannigan.

Linda couldn’t attend the poetry circle but had chosen Langston Hughes’s “What Happens to a Dream Deferred”:

What happens to a dream deferred?
 Does it dry up
 Like a raisin in the sun?
 Or fester like a sore—
 And then run?
 Does it stink like rotten meat?
 Or crust and sugar over—
 like a syrupy sweet?
 Maybe it just sags
 like a heavy load.
 Or does it explode? 

We look forward to seeing you for Poetry and Choice, Tuesday May 8 at St. Agnes Branch Library in Manhattan. Choice will conclude the Spring Season of the One Page Poetry Circle. Look back here in the coming weeks for the Fall schedule and poetry themes.

In the meantime, please blog with us here at

See you soon —
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, December 8
Time: 5:30 – 6:30 pm
Place: St. Agnes Branch Library, 444 Amsterdam Ave (near 81 St), 3rd Fl
Theme: Poetry and Marriage

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 853 poems and have read countless others in pursuit of poetry that speaks to them.

OPPC_Poster_Dec08_revOn December 8 we will be talking about poetry that deals with some aspect of marriage. Although couples often seek the perfect love poem for their wedding, the cracks and crevices in a marriage can inspire the best poetry. Here C.D. Wright toasts the everyday pleasures of married life in the start of a poem where the title leads right into the first line: “Everything Good between Men and Women”:

has been written in mud and butter 
and barbecue sauce. The walls and 
the floors used to be gorgeous. 
The socks off-white and a near match. 
The quince with fire blight 
but we get two pints of jelly 
in the end.

Marriage often begins with love, devotion and commitment but too frequently ends with rancor and misery. Why does the hoped for happily-ever-after become a ball and chain? John Dryden wrote long ago in “Marriage a-la-Mode”:

Why should a foolish marriage vow, 
Which long ago was made, 
Oblige us to each now 
When passion is decay’d?

Dryden’s contemplation of the end of marriage embraces calm logic. In “Bitch” Carolyn Kizer assigns a separate identity to her strong feelings about her ex:

Now, when he and I meet, after all these years, 
I say to the bitch inside me, don’t start growling. 
He isn’t a trespasser anymore, 
Just an old acquaintance tipping his hat. 
My voice says, “Nice to see you,” 
As the bitch starts to bark hysterically.

There were so many poems about marriage that it was hard to narrow it down. Click the speech balloon in the left column of this post and send us your comments and poems on the subject.

Our next One Page Poetry Circle on Poetry and Marriage will be the last in 2015, but 2016 will find us back again.

Fall Schedule:
December 8: Poetry and Marriage

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.