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

The Circle met on September 11 to discuss Poetry and Disaster. We had a lively turnout despite the confluence of 9/11 and Rosh Hashanah.

Abigail opened the Circle with “Inauguration Poem” by Lynn Melnick which invites us to share a personal disaster, “Do you know what it’s like when a body twice yours/holds you down in the room where you make your life/until you wouldn’t know how to move even if he wasn’t holding you down and then he splits you further open.”

Roger read Paula Bardell’s reaction to 9/11, “Silence (over Manhattan)”: “A black September shadow cloaks the dawn,/The City’s once white teeth now rotting stumps.”

Hazel read “Once by the Pacific” by Robert Frost, a poet we don’t often associate with the Pacific or disasters, “The clouds were low and hairy in the skies,/Like locks blown forward in the gleam of eyes.”

Michelle read “The Children’s Moon” by Marilyn Nelson in which a black teacher meets her white students on their first day of class, “In my navy shirtwaist dress and three-inch heels,/my pearl clip-ons and newly red-rinsed curls,/I smoothed on lipstick, lipstick-marked my girls.”

Gail read Jane Kenyon’s “After an Illness, Walking the Dog,” in which connections are seen between the narrator and the dog, “I wait/until we’re nearly out to the main road/to put him back on the leash, and he/—the designated optimist—/imagines to the end that he is free.”

Cate read Ada Limón’s “Dream of Destruction” with its beautiful and strange imagery, “We somehow knew the electric orange volcanic ooze of hot lava was bound to bury us all, little spurts of ash popping early like precum and not innocuous at all.”

Terry read “The Man He Killed” by Thomas Hardy, “Yes; quaint and curious war is!/You shoot a fellow down/You’d treat if met where any bar is,/Or help to half-a-crown,” a sad reflection on killing.

Susan read Edna St. Vincent Millay’s “Dirge Without Music,” which repeats its first statement several times, “I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground. So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been time out of mind.”

Rollene read Elizabeth Bishop’s villanelle, “One Art,” with its almost-humorous escalation of losses, “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.”

AnnaLee closed the Circle with Muriel Rukeyser’s “George Robinson Blues” from her Book of the Dead about the 1929 Hawks Nest Tunnel disaster in Gauley Bridge, West Virginia, which shows how in a disaster, we are all the same, “As dark as I am, when I came out at morning after the tunnel at night,/with a white man, nobody could have told which man was white./The dust had covered us both, and the dust was white.”

Dominick couldn’t come to the meeting, but remembered “The Wreck of the Deutschland” by Gerard Manley Hopkins, “Make mercy in all of us, out of us all/Mastery, but be adored, but be adored King.” If Kai had been able to attend, she would have brought “Songs to Survive the Summer” by Robert Hass, “Should I whisper in her ear,/death is the mother/of beauty?” June was reminded of “Thanks” by W.S. Merwin: “with nobody listening we are saying thank you/we are saying thank you and waving/dark though it is,” registering a grateful note despite disasters

Fall 2018 Schedule

Tuesday, October 9, Cowboy Poetry
Tuesday, November 13, Poetry and Simplicity
Tuesday, 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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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.

We met on October 4 to discuss Poems for Your Pocket.

Abigail began the circle by reading from Edna St. Vincent Millay’s “Renascence” which she had first read at the site it describes in Camden, Maine. The poem begins, “All I could see from where I stood/Was three long mountains and a wood” and then goes on to envision the narrator developing a new relation with nature and with poetry.

Roger read William Ernest Henley’s “Invictus” which he kept in his pocket at a difficult time in his life. Concluding with the well-known words, “I am the master of my fate,/I am the captain of my soul,” this poem was also the pocket poem of Nelson Mandela and Timothy McVeigh.

Hazel read a poem we all know, love, and relate to: “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost. The final stanza, “The woods are lovely, dark and deep,/But I have promises to keep,/And miles to go before I sleep,/And miles to go before I sleep,” reminds us to look around at what is beautiful but that we also must move on to fulfill our obligations and our lives.

Gail read John Keats’s beautiful “Ode on Melancholy,” cautioning us that all is fleeting, “She dwells with Beauty—Beauty that must die;/And Joy, whose hand is ever at his lips/Bidding adieu.”

Karen read “The Blue Between” by Christine George calling on us to look beyond the obvious, “Everyone watches clouds,/Naming creatures they’ve seen/I see sky differently/I see the sky between.”

Terry read “Life’s Scars” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, another life lesson and reminder, “This rule all lives will prove;/The rankling wound which aches and thrills/Is dealt by hands we love.”

AnnaLee closed the circle by reading Sheniz Janmohamed’s, “The Road Ghazal” describing a life journey: “Pack light, walk tall/You’ll need courage to take this road./The maple bows to you, scattering her leaves upon this road.” A ghazal is a traditional eastern lyric poem normally set to music, and this poem spoke to all of us.

Elisabeth couldn’t make the circle, but had planned to read “Next Time Ask More Questions” by Naomi Shihab Nye, which suggests we slow down and consider, “Before jumping, remember/the span of time is long and gracious.”

We look forward to seeing the works you select for Prose Poems and to discussing them with you on November 1. Bring a poem of a known poet. Bring a friend. Show up and widen the circle!

We hope you will blog with us at onepagepoetrycircle.wordpress.com.

Fall Schedule:
November 1, Prose Poems
December 13, Poetry and Endings

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.