Archives for posts with tag: Jane Kenyon

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 Tuesday, May 12th to discuss Poetry and Health. 

Abigail began by reading William Ernest Henley’s “Waiting,” describing a late-Victorian hospital waiting room that sounds exactly like one today, “A square, squat room (a cellar on promotion),/Drab to the soul, drab to the very daylight.”

Roger read Henry David Thoreau’s “To a Marsh Hawk in Spring,” “There is health in thy gray wing,/Health of nature’s furnishing,” celebrating spring, magnificent birds, and good health.

Hazel read John Keats’s “Sonnet” which she called the saddest poem she has ever read because it shows how much Keats wanted to write and to love and indicates how much we lost by that death, “When I have fears that I may cease to be/Before my pen has glean’d my teeming brain.”

Gail read Michael Earl Craig’s “Night Nurse” which describes a conversation between two people or two voices of the narrator, “I imagine she is working on a sonnet,/And that her ankle looks like polished walnut./You imagine she is working on a crossword,/and that her feet are killing her.”

Karen read “Aubade” by Major Jackson, wherein a couple consider which is “healthier” in these “blissful seasons”: ”dropping off your dry cleaning” or letting “drop your sarong.”

Terry read Emily Dickinson’s “I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,” which led us to discuss the possible reasons for Dickinson’s description of a funeral in her brain, including mental illness, epilepsy, migraine, and keeping secrets. Several members of the circle recommended Lyndall Gordon’s biography of the Dickinson family, Lives Like Loaded Guns.

Maddy read Jane Kenyon’s “Otherwise” written after the poet’s diagnosis of cancer, “At noon I lay down/with my mate. It might/have been otherwise,” ending with her haunting words, “But one day, I know,/it will be otherwise.”

Ralda read from Walt Whitman’s “I Sing the Body Electric” in which the body is the soul is the poem, “The love of the Body of man or woman balks account—the body itself balks account;/That of the male is perfect, and that of the female is perfect.”

AnnaLee closed the circle with Richard Eberhart’s “The Cancer Cells” in which the poet looks at the cells and recognizes both art and death: “Nothing could be more vivid than their language,/Lethal, sparkling and irregular stars,/The murderous design of the universe.”

Ryan was sick and couldn’t make the meeting, but he intended to bring “Whitman’s Pantry” by T. R. Hummer, a poem that imagines the contents of the great poet’s kitchen closet: “A box of sugar cubes to meliorate bitter tea—with these you could construct a model of the odd granite tomb/He insisted on for his own final habitation.”

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

Fall Schedule (all Tuesdays):
September 8: A Favorite Poem
October 13: Poetry and Ghosts and Zombies
November 10: Poetry and Clothes
December 8: Poetry and Marriage

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.