Archives for posts with tag: Kay Ryan

The One Page Poetry Circle met on December 12 to discuss Poetry and Windows.

Abigail opened the circle with William Allingham’s poem about a pool glimpsed from his window when he was a boy, “Many fine things had I glimpse of,/And said, ‘I shall find them one day.’”

Roger read Carl Sandburg’s “At a Window” which accepts life’s hunger and pain, yet asks for something more, “But leave me a little love,/A voice to speak to me in the day end,/A hand to touch me in the dark room.”

Hazel read “Now and Then” by Ian Hamilton in which the narrator describes an Institution as “so far away,” where “A gentle sun/Smiles on the dark, afflicted heads/Of young men who have come to nothing.”

Gail read Daisy Aldan’s “Women at Windows,” “Always, everywhere, at twilight, a woman/in a black dress leans on her elbows at a window”; these women do not see the world outside, “their eyes are focused IN rather than OUT.”

Patty read John Updike’s “Evening Concert, Saint-Chapelle” revealing the effect of music and stained glass windows: “The music surged; the glow became a milk,/a whisper to the eye, a glimmer ebbed/until our beating hearts, our violins/were cased in thin but solid sheets of lead.”

Linda read the first poem of the evening by Rainer Maria Rilke, “Sense of Something Coming”: “the doors still close softly, and the chimneys are full/of silence,/the windows do not rattle yet, and the dust still lies down.”

Cate read “New Rooms” by Kay Ryan which gave us a good laugh at the end: “The mind must/set itself up/wherever it goes/and it would be/most convenient/to impose its/old rooms—just/tack them up/like an interior/tent. Oh but/the new holes/aren’t where/the windows/went.”

Christiana read “Tulips and Addresses” by Edward Field which combines humor with editorializing, “The Museum of Modern Art on West Fifty-third Street/Is interested only in the flower not the bulb.” Consequently the narrator rescues the bulbs and eventually plants them in his windowbox where we can only hope they flowered.

Carol read Taylor Mali’s “Undivided Attention” in which a teacher loses the focus of his students, “See, snow falls for the first time every year, and every year/my students rush to the window/as if snow were more interesting than math,/which, of course, it is.”

AnnaLee read sections II and V from “Les Fenêtres” by Rainer Maria Rilke where inner and outer worlds meet, “You add to everything,/window, a sense of ritual:/ in your frame, merely standing/becomes waiting or meditating.”

Two extra short poems are given in their totality.

First, “Window” by Carl Sandburg

Night from a railroad car window
Is a great, dark, soft thing
Broken across with slashes of light. 

And this poem written with a diamond on her window at Woodstock by Queen Elizabeth I

Much suspected by me,
Nothing proved can be,
Quoth Elizabeth prisoner.

Enjoy the holidays! We look forward to seeing you in 2018.

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Spring 2018 Schedule
February 20: Poetry and Lies
March 6: Poetry and Enjambment
April 17: Poetry and Timing
May 8: Poetry and Choices

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

Date: Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Time: 5:30 – 6:30 pm
Place: St. Agnes Brnch Library, 444 Amsterdam Ave. (81
st St.), 3rd Fl.
Theme: Poems about everyday things (poster attached)

Find a poem! Read a poem! Discuss a poem!

OPPC_20150210We’re back for the seventh season of the One Page Poetry Circle where people gather to examine the works of established poets. While there is 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 792 poems and have read countless others in pursuit of poetry that speaks to them.

For our first meeting in the new year we’ll take a look at poetry and the everyday. We became intrigued by the subject in the fall when several of Pablo Neruda’s odes to common things were read in the One Page Poetry Circle. In these works, socks, bread and a box of tea are all examined and transformed by the author into something new. In Neruda’s “Ode to Things” published in the 1950s Neruda tells us about the ordinary things he loves and that the hands that have made them: “all bear/the trace/of someone’s fingers/on their handle or surface,/the trace of a distant hand/lost/in the depths of forgetfulness.

Kay Ryan, Poet Laureate of the United States 2008-2010, joins this tradition with poems about doorknobs, Chinese acupuncture charts and chickens. In her poem “Expectations” the narrator looks forward to a chain of events, if only the weather would cooperate.

We expect rain
To animate this
Creek: these rocks
To harbor gurgles,
These pebbles to
Creep downstream
A little, those leaves
To circle in the
Eddy, the stains
And gloss of wet.
The bed is ready
But no rain yet.

For a different take on poetry about everyday things, consider this:

Early English poetry was dedicated to the epic, the elegiac and the religious, all serious topics. The only exception was the riddle which celebrated domestic activity and the ordinary. Here’s a provocative riddle from Anglo-Saxon England (translated into modern English):

I’m a strange creature, for I satisfy women,
a service to the neighbors! No one suffers
at my hands except for my slayer.
I grow very tall, erect in a bed,
I’m hairy underneath. From time to time
a good-looking girl, the doughty daughter
of some churl dares to hold me,
grips my russet skin, robs me of my head
and puts me in the pantry. At once that girl
with plaited hair who has confined me
remembers our meeting. Her eye moistens.

Is it a penis or an onion? The first jumps forward revealing our dirty minds, but to say it’s an onion seems naïve. Unfortunately the answer has not survived with the riddle itself. Like all poetry it contains no ultimate solution, but only clues to be interpreted in different ways.

Check back at this blog for all things having to do with poetry!

We look forward to reading and discussing your selections for our next program, Poems about everyday things on February 10th.

Bring a friend and widen the circle! 

Schedule for the spring:

February 10: Poems about everyday things
March 10: Poetry and red
April 14: Lyric poetry
May 12: Poetry and health

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.