Navigation
  • American Life in Poetry: Column 228

    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.

  • American Life in Poetry: Column 228

    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.

  • Poems From an Old Friend

    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.

  • American Life in Poetry: Column 227

    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.

  • American Life in Poetry: Column 226

    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.

  • Unplanned Garden

    Shuttered factories surrounded by empty parking lots
     
    Fenced for security
     
    The workers are gone with their cars<br

  • Le Struthof, April 1997

    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.

  • American Life in Poetry: Column 225

    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.

  • 2 Poems

    Babysitters
     
    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
     
     
     
    Shia LaBeouf
     
    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
    reading books
     
    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.

  • American Life in Poetry: Column 224

    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.

  • A Fillet on Form

    PREFACE
    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.

  • How Trees Got Their Leaves

    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.

  • 2 Poems

    No Halo

    Not supposed to write
    poems about angels,
    so my writing teacher says.
    No sunsets, roses, rainbows, doves.

  • 2 Poems

    Breakfast Hunger

    First, instant adrenaline
    voids the normal
    body issues.
    Clearing the scene
    brings on the hunger.

  • American Life in Poetry: Column 222

    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.

  • American Life in Poetry: Column 221

    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.

  • Prairie Shelter

    With night slain
                red floods
    the green lean of trees
                disturbing a prairie
    horizontal that makes us hunch
    toward the earth

    what’s wild flowers
            in the random creases
                    beyond us

    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.

  • American Life in Poetry: Column 220

    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.

  • American Life in Poetry: Column 219

    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 Life in Poetry: Column 218

    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.