Archives for posts with tag: Whitman

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.

Come to the next One Page Poetry Circle on Tuesday, November 1 at 5:30 – 6:30 pm with a Prose Poem by a published poet. Address is below.

prosepoem_1101rProse poems lack the line breaks traditionally associated with poetry but have the intensity of language, succinctness, images, repetition, rhythm and perhaps even rhyme of poetry. The Japanese combined prose and poetry for the haibun in the seventeenth century. The French symbolist poets created the poetic form in the nineteenth century in reaction to the rigidity of the established form. Prose poetry continued in the early twentieth century most famously by Gertrude Stein and John Dos Passos then returned in the 50s and 60s with Charles Simic, James Wright, Bob Dylan, and others. Baudelaire, concludes in the ecstatic “Be Drunk”:

And if sometimes, on the steps of a palace or the green grass of a ditch, in the mournful solitude of your room, you wake again, drunkenness already diminishing or gone, ask the wind, the wave, the star, the bird, the clock, everything that is flying, everything that is groaning, everything that is rolling, everything that is singing, everything that is speaking… ask what time it is and wind, wave, star, bird, clock will answer you: “It is time to be drunk! So as not to be the martyred slaves of time, be drunk, be continually drunk! On wine, on poetry or on virtue as you wish.”

A Supermarket in California,” one of Allen Ginsberg’s earliest forays into prose poetry, begins by invoking Whitman and Lorca, two poetry experimenters he admires:

What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whitman, for I walked down the sidestreets under the trees with a headache self-conscious looking at the full moon.

In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went into the neon fruit supermarket, dreaming of your enumerations!

What peaches and what penumbras! Whole families shopping at night! Aisles full of husbands! Wives in the avocados, babies in the tomatoes!—and you, García Lorca, what were you doing down by the watermelons?

Much prose, whether from the Bible, William Faulkner, or James Joyce, resonates with poetry. The start of the latter’s Finnegans Wake seems to flow full circle, “riverrun, past Eve and Adam’s, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs.”

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! And in the meantime, we hope you will blog with us here at onepagepoetrycircle.wordpress.com.

 

The One Page Poetry Circle, sponsored by the New York Public Library is open to all. St. Agnes Branch Library, 444 Amsterdam Avenue (81st Street), 3rd Fl. Handicap accessible. 

 

 

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.