Archives for posts with tag: Robert Frost

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.

Welcome to the One Page Poetry Circle at St. Agnes Branch Library! 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 began, participants have selected and discussed 1066 poems and have read countless others in pursuit of poetry that speaks to them.

For the May 8 One Page Poetry Circle program, Poetry and Choices, we’ll examine how poets express choices, why they make them, and the consequences. One of the most famous poems on the subject, and perhaps the most abused, is Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” in which the narrator reaches a crossroads. He argues that the choice of which way to go is equal, yet reflects that merely choosing “has made all the difference.” A seemingly smaller choice, a decision of which trees to cut to improve the view, is made by the narrator of Tess Gallagher’s “Choices”:

I go to the mountain side
of the house to cut saplings,
and clear a view to snow
on the mountain. But when I look up,
saw in hand, I see a nest clutched in
the uppermost branches.
I don’t cut that one.
I don’t cut the others either.
Suddenly, in every tree,
an unseen nest
where a mountain
would be.

We’re looking forward to the poems you bring and read aloud on the subject of Choices. Whether a poem concerns a choice, or a poem chooses you, bring one that has meaning for you. And bring copies for the group, if you can. Can’t locate a poem you want to bring? Browse the poetry section at the library or check out Poetry Foundation or poets.org

In the meantime, please blog with us. Comment on the poems discussed here, or post a poem on the subject of Choices or another subject and tell us what it means to you. 

Check back in a month for our new fall 2018 series.

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. 

Date: Tuesday, May 8
Time: 5:30 – 6:30 pm
Place: St. Agnes Branch Library, 444 Amsterdam Ave.,
 3rd Fl.
Theme:
Poetry and Choices

Welcome to the One Page Poetry Circle at St. Agnes Branch Library! where we met on October 17 to discuss Poetry and Punctuation.

Perhaps because the topic was unusual, we had fewer participants than usual. This didn’t stop us from enjoying and discussing the different poems people brought and the variety of approaches to the theme. We noticed that where punctuation was unusual, so were capitalization, rhyme, and meaning.

Abigail opened the circle with José Garcia Villa’s “comma poem” 136 where he uses a comma after every word to regulate what he describes as “the poem’s verbal density and time movement”: “The, hands, on, the, piano, are, armless./No, one, is, at, the, piano.”

Roger read “The Thunder Mutters” by John Clare, a working class poet of nature who spent much of his adult life in an insane asylum. He uses only one punctuation mark to show the point at which the rumblings of thunder become a storm:

The thunder mutters louder & more loud
With quicker motion hay folks ply the rake
Ready to burst slow sails the pitch black cloud
& all the gang a bigger haycock make
To sit beneath—the woodland winds awake
The drops so large wet all thro’ in an hour
A tiney flood runs down the leaning rake
In the sweet hay yet dry the hay folks cower
& some beneath the waggon shun the shower

Gail read Emily Dickinson’s description of the sea, which she never saw, #656, replete with dashes: “I started Early — Took my Dog —/And visited the Sea —/The Mermaids in the Basement/Came out to look at me —”

Dulce Maria read “When I Am Dead,” a poem that has been attributed to many different authors, which she heard read at a funeral: “I’ll have them come, those precious few/And shed perhaps, a tear or two/And then without a sob or moan/Go softly out, and leave alone.”

Ken read Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s “The World Is a Beautiful Place” which contains no punctuation and begins, “The world is a beautiful place/to be born into/if you don’t mind happiness/not always being/so very much fun”.

Linda read Robert Frost’s “October,” which has a punctuation mark at the end of each line, and reminded us of the weather outside: “O hushed October morning mild,/Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;/Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,/Should waste them all.”

Iyara read a poem she wrote, a practice we discourage, but we were impressed that she was inspired by the poetry she heard in the Circle.

AnnaLee closed the circle by reading a poem without any punctuation, W. S. Merwin’s “For the Anniversary of My Death”: As today writing after three days of rain/Hearing the wren sing and the falling cease/And bowing not knowing to what”. Though the poem begins with a capital letter, there is no period at the end, showing the poet is still alive.

Christiana was unable to attend, but sent us Ronald Wallace’s “The Student Theme,” “Because it uses almost every form of punctuation, and made me smile…”

The adjectives all ganged up on the nouns,
insistent, loud, demanding, inexact,
their Latinate constructions flashing. The pronouns
lost their referents: They were dangling, lacked
the stamina to follow the preposition’s lead
in, on, into, to, toward, for, or from.
They were beset by passive voices and dead
metaphors, conjunctions shouting But! Or And!

Please blog with us at onepagepoetrycircle.wordpress.com.

Fall 2017 Schedule
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.

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.

 

 

Come to St. Agnes on Tuesday, October 4, 2016 with A Poem for Your Pocket.

pocketpoem_1004rHave you ever tucked a poem into your pocket or purse? Was it a poem with special meaning for you, or a poem you wanted to show to a friend, one you wanted to memorize, or perhaps a poem you didn’t completely understand and wanted to read again later? If not, don’t worry – choose a poem you would like to find in your pocket, that surprised you, or that you would like to share.

AnnaLee carried “The Span of Life” by Robert Frost around with her:

The old dog barks backwards without getting up.
I can remember when he was a pup.

She still loves how much Frost packed into two simple lines and that she can read the poem from a slip of paper, or pull it from a pocket in her mind.

Abigail once put “Dying Speech of an Old Philosopher,” by Walter Savage Landor in her pocket hoping to embrace its peaceful and accepting philosophy:

I strove with none, for none was worth my strife:
Nature I loved, and, next to Nature, Art:
I warm’d both hands before the fire of Life;
It sinks; and I am ready to depart.

But she found life more complicated than that. Indeed, pockets themselves can have a complicated nature as explored by Howard Nemerov in

“Pockets”: 
Are generally over or around 
Erogenous zones, they seem to dive
In the direction of those

Dark places, and indeed
It is their nature to be dark
Themselves, keeping a kind

Of thieves’ kitchen for the things
Sequestered from the world
For long or little while,

The keys, the handkerchiefs,
The sad and vagrant little coins
That are really only passing through.

For all they locate close to lust,
No pocket ever sees another;
There is in fact a certain sadness

To pockets, going in their lonesome ways
And snuffling up their sifting storms
Of dust, tobacco bits and lint.

A pocket with a hole in it
Drops out; from shame, is that, or pride?
What is a pocket but a hole? 

When we selected this topic we didn’t know that the Office of the Mayor of New York City initiated Poem in Your Pocket Day in 2002, which has been extended to all of the United States and Canada. We can celebrate this day again on April 24, 2017, the official Poem in Your Pocket Day.

We look forward to seeing the poems you select for Your Pocket and to discussing them with you on October 4. In the meantime, if you have a comment about any of the poems posted here, or pocket poems in general, please click the speech balloon symbol below our title at the top of the blog.

Bring a poem of a known poet. Bring a friend. Widen the circle! And blog with us at onepagepoetrycircle.wordpress.com. Without your support the library may find other uses for the spacious room they’ve given us.

Date: Tuesday, October 4
Theme: A Poem for Your Pocket
Time: 5:30 – 6:30 pm
Place: St. Agnes Branch Library, 444 Amsterdam Avenue, 3rd Floor

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.