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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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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.

Welcome to the One Page Poetry Circle at St. Agnes Branch Library!
On December 13 OPPC met to discuss Poetry and Endings. At one point in the evening we wondered if everyone had brought in a depressing poem in what should be a time of hope and rebirth.

Abigail began by reading Edith Nesbit’s “On Dit” describing the flowers beneath the snow, the sun after the night and some say, “New life, divine beyond belief,/Somehow, somewhere, some day.” Yet Nesbit does not sound hopeful about the possibility of life after death.

Roger brought in the anonymous tune, “John Brown’s body lies a-mouldering in the grave.” Although there was an end of slavery, and the end of the abolitionist John Brown himself, there has been no end to this song, which became “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” in its most famous manifestation.

Hazel read “January 22nd, Missolonghi” that encompassed Lord Byron’s thoughts on the day he completed his thirty-sixth year and seemed to foreshadow his death in his attempt to free Greece, “The land of honorable death/Is here,—up to the field, and give/Away they breath!”

Phil thought of our President-elect and read T.S. Eliot’s “The Hollow Men,” with its famous final lines, “This is the way the world ends/Not with a bang but a whimper.”

Gail read Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 30” which begins, “When to the sessions of sweet silent thought/I summon up remembrance of things past” and ends with the upbeat, “But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,/All losses are restored and sorrows end.”

Eileen read “O Captain! My Captain!,” Walt Whitman’s evocation of President Lincoln’s assassination just as the Civil War ended, “From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;/ Exult O shores, and ring O bells!/But I with mournful tread,/Walk the deck my Captain lies,/Fallen cold and dead.”

Terry read “Richard Cory” by Edwin Arlington Robinson which describes a man admired and even envied by all, “And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,/Went home and put a bullet through his head.”

Elizabeth read W.S. Merwin’s “Old Man at Home Alone in the Morning,” which ends, “I was old but this morning/is not old and I am the morning/in which the autumn leaves have no question/as the breeze passes through them and is gone.” Written without punctuation, the poem suggests the fluidity of existence and our multi-levels of reflection as we get older.

AnnaLee completed our circle with “Aristotle,” in which the poet Billy Collins shows us the structure of life’s stories through a string of beginnings, middles, and ends. “This is the end, according to Aristotle,/what we have all been waiting for,/what everything comes down to,/the destination we cannot help imagining,/a streak of light in the sky,/a hat on a peg, and outside the cabin, falling leaves.”

Come blog with us at https://onepagepoetrycircle.wordpress.com .

Mark your calendars with our Spring 2017 Schedule:
February 7—Poetry and Snakes
March 7—Poetry and Anaphora
April 18—Poetry and Silence
May 9—Poetry and Theft

Enjoy the holidays! We look forward to seeing you in 2017.

~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.