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


Date: Tuesday, October 17
Time: 5:30 – 6:30 pm
Place: St.Agnes Br. Library, 444 Amsterdam Av (81
st St. 3rd Fl)
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
            who used to
            ride a watersmooth-silver
and break onetwothreefourfive pigeonsjustlikethat

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.