I don’t often mention literary forms, but of this lovely poem by Cecilia Woloch I want to suggest that the form, a villanelle, which uses a pattern of repetition, adds to the enchantment I feel in reading it.
I don’t often mention literary forms, but of this lovely poem
by Cecilia Woloch I want to suggest that the form, a
villanelle, which uses a pattern of repetition, adds to the
enchantment I feel in reading it.
The annual Pulse Writer’s Exposé is just around the corner. As a way of looking forward, we look back to some poems by Shirley Smith Wilbert whose work has appeared from time to time on these pages.
Jane Hirshfield, a Californian and one of my favorite poets, writes beautiful image-centered poems of clarity and concision, which sometimes conclude with a sudden and surprising deepening.
Elizabeth Bishop, one of our greatest American poets, once wrote a long poem in which the sudden appearance of a moose on a highway creates a community among a group of strangers on a bus.
Shuttered factories surrounded by empty parking lots
Fenced for security
The workers are gone with their cars<br
Just here, looking through parallel rows of barbed wire,
you would have seen mountains, softened by a sudden spring snow.
Unless you turned, you could not see the gallows,
where the defiant ones were hanged, nor
the gas chamber where Bayer’s Zyklon B turned prisoners
to corpses for dissection and experimentation.
There have been many poems written in which a photograph is described in detail, and this one by Margaret Kaufman, of the Bay Area in California, uses the snapshot to carry her further, into the details of memory.
my babysitters were mean to me
they would lie on the floor
and pretend to be dead
they would talk to the tv
and claim to be controlled
by bobby sherman
they would do crazy things
and scream until i cried
putting ketchup on their wrists
staggering out of the kitchen
clutching a steak knife
yelling I want to die
they wouldn’t talk to me
while love american style
was on the air
they didn’t care if
i threw up all night
they’d tell me someone
would break into the house
and blow me to bits
and they wouldn’t call the police
and if they did call the police
they wouldn’t come because they hated me
everyone hated me
living up to their titles
they sat on babies
and threatened to kill me
if i told anybody
I used to think Shia
LaBeouf was a pretty good actor
That might be due in part to Entertainment
Weekly’s five year old love
affair with him, though
and Entertainment Weekly used to be my
bible before I actually started
Here’s Shia LaBeouf on Leno the other night
All he can say is “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah” – really
fast, like gunfire, and act all stoned
Jay Leno and Shia LaBeouf are talking
about sushi and Shia says he won’t eat it
because he couldn’t kiss a fish
Leno has that typical look of bewilderment
and asks, politely, what the hell
he was talking about
Shia says that he can’t eat anything
that he wouldn’t kiss, he can only eat things
that he would kiss, so Shia LaBeouf
is basically announcing on national television
that anyone he kisses, he wants dead
Keith Higginbotham has published hundreds of poems, short stories, essays, and reviews in various literary magazines and journals.
When we’re young, it seems there are endless possibilities for lives we might lead, and then as we grow older and the opportunities get fewer we begin to realize that the life we’ve been given is the only one we’re likely to get.
As we grow older it may really be
that form itself begets satiety,
so here’s an empty plate with nothing onit
beyond the snack of cooking up a sonnet.
In the days before the trees had leaves,
Coyote said, the trees were always cold.
And so they asked the birds to come and build nests
in their branches, and the black beetles to come
to live under their bark, and the red and gray squirrels
to fill up their empty places.
Not supposed to write
poems about angels,
so my writing teacher says.
No sunsets, roses, rainbows, doves.
First, instant adrenaline
voids the normal
Clearing the scene
brings on the hunger.
Coleman Barks, who lives in Georgia, is not only the English language’s foremost translator of the poems of the 13th century poet, Rumi, but he’s also a loving grandfather, and for me that’s even more important. His poems about his granddaughter, Briny, are brim full of joy.
Sometimes, it’s merely the sound of a child’s voice in a nearby room that makes a parent feel immensely lucky. To celebrate Father’s Day, here’s a joyful poem of fatherhood by Todd Boss, who lives in St.
With night slain
the green lean of trees
disturbing a prairie
horizontal that makes us hunch
toward the earth
what’s wild flowers
in the random creases
brown sparrow dart
drape of monarchs
through leaves’ purple underside
ringed in the cars’ undercurrent
that tears across a blue stitch
the road side aches
serrated edges of maple leaves
draining green beneath our tires
a bird refuses flight
Gail Lukasik is the author of the recently released Door County mystery novel, Death’s Door.
One of the privileges of being U.S. Poet Laureate was to choose two poets each year to receive a $10,000 fellowship, funded by the Witter Bynner Foundation.
As we all know, getting older isn’t hard to do. Time continues on. In this poem, Deborah Warren of Massachusetts asks us to think about the life lived between our past and present selves, as indicated in the marginal comments of an old book.
American literature is rich with poems about the passage of time, and the inevitability of change, and how these affect us. Here is a poem by Kevin Griffith, who lives in Ohio, in which the years accelerate by their passing.