on poetry

March 16, 2023

“The arts (painting, poetry, etc.) are not just these. Eating, drinking, walking are also arts; every act is an art.”
César Vallejo
(March 16, 1892 – April 15, 1938)

. . . . .

on poetry

March 7, 2023

Words matter, for
Language is an ark.
Language is an art,
An articulate artifact.
Language is a life craft.
Language is a life raft.
Amanda Gorman
(b. March 7, 1998)

. . . . .
photo by Abbie Trayler-Smith
Quote excerpted from “What We Carry” in Call Us What We Carry: Poems

on poetry

March 4, 2023

“It was at 25, not 15, that I began to write. Yes, there were attempts before, writing attempts, but they were the mere scribbling of a child who through no fault of her own knew only half an alphabet. Now, in my 27th year, it is appetite I have, and abundance to garner. I can make up for lost time—and time is what I have to seek some truths and pull together some lost pieces. It’s okay. I’ll do it. I’ll make up those years.”
Irina Ratushinskaya
(March 4, 1954 – July 5, 2017)

. . . . .

on poetry

February 23, 2023

“You’ve got to be concerned about revision. You can’t even understand how to revise a poem unless you’ve read poetry! You have to read poetry and you’ve got to be passionate about it. It’s important to stay around serious writers who love poetry, who love the work and who understand just like Gwendolyn Brooks said, ‘We are each other’s brothers and we each other’s sisters.’ We have got to reach out to each other.”
Haki R. Madhubuti
(b. February 23, 1942)

. . . . .
photo by Joe Mazza

on poetry

February 7, 2023

“I was a band geek. I play xylophone, and one day my band director made us form a chord, which is so important. I don’t know why these basic things are not done. If you’ve ever played music, you know a chord is the three notes, but it’s more than that. They make these semitones. That’s why chords reverberate and resonate. They have these little semitones that are made sometimes discordantly, sometimes harmoniously, inside the chord, so that every time you do anything that resonates, there are these other things inside of it, too. Some of them are sweet sounding and some of them are painful. Color does that. Sound does that. Poems should do that. I think words do that all by themselves.”
Rickey Laurentiis
(b. February 7, 1989)

. . . . .

on poetry

February 1, 2023

“It’s fascinating how you write a book. You consciously weave certain things in. Then some things are unconsciously woven into the book, both because you write one poem at a time but also because the motivations for each poem exist within the world of that poem. They subconsciously transcend the world of that poem and go to other places.”
Reginald Dwayne Betts
(b. February 1, 1980)

. . . . .

plenty to read

January 31, 2023

Further recommendations for your overburdened bookshelf:

If you’ve been moved by a book of poetry, recent or otherwise, leave a comment with the author and title!

on poetry

January 21, 2023

“Don’t you think details help you focus? Sometimes it’s only by listening in the falling darkness for the chittering of small invisible sparrows that you’re able to locate the Great Horned Owl.”
Forrest Gander
(b. January 21, 1956)

. . . . .
photo by Ashwini Bhat

some poems

January 10, 2023

The sun is out at this particular moment, but yesterday it wasn’t and tomorrow it may not be. The nights are still long and it’s easy to sink into seasonal gloom. As an antidote, The Guardian offers ‘That orange, it made me so happy’: 50 poems to boost your mood. Take two as needed.

. . . . .
Thanks to Luther Allen for the link

it’s not too late…

January 6, 2023

The end of the first week of January might be just about the right time to make some resolutions. The pressure of holidays and visitors is mostly past and you may even be feeling a little let down from the seasonal excitement. Sounds like a perfect time to kickstart your poetry. Not sure what to resolve? Here’s a list of poetry-related ideas you can start now and explore throughout the year:

  • Read more poetry.
  • Along the same lines, take a page from Ann Morgan’s TED talk and expand your vision by reading a book from every country in the world. (More here.)
  • Set aside a specific time to read a poem each day: when you wake up, over breakfast, during your bus commute, before bed.
  • Listen to poetry: find CDs in the library or browse The Poetry Archive, Poetry Out Loud, Penn Sound, and find many more links to poetry audio recordings on the Library of Congress web guide.
  • For more listening, try poetry podcasts.
  • Write more poetry.
  • Try something entirely different with your poetry: rhyme it (or don’t), write a sonnet or a ghazal or a persona poem or whatever you’re least likely to write normally.
  • Print out one of your poems that’s “finished,” cut it up into individual words and reassemble it into a new poem, getting rid of unnecessary words and replacing those that could be juicier.
  • Ask for feedback.
  • Do something new with your poetry: slam it, submit it, memorize it.
  • Take a poetry workshop or class.
  • Attend more poetry readings in person and/or online.
  • When you’re spending money on poetry, support poets, indie bookstores, and independent publishers.
  • When you’re moved by a poem, write to the poet to say what you most loved about the poem.
  • If you liked a poet’s book, write a short review on Goodreads or Amazon, or on your own blog/website, or submit a longer one to a journal that features reviews.
  • Buy a copy of the poet’s book and give it to a friend. Invite the poet to read at your event.
  • Subscribe to a poetry journal or give a gift subscription to another poet.
  • Start or join a poetry group: reading, writing, critique, whatever.
  • Watch films that feature poets or poetry.
  • Try poetry travel. Whatever your destination, work poetry into your itinerary. Go to readings. Meet local poets. Spend a little time reading the work of poets who lived or worked in the area.
  • Apply for (or take yourself on) a poetry retreat. Set aside a chunk of time — a long weekend, a week, a month — to focus on beginning, expanding, or completing a poetry project.
  • Attend a writers conference.
  • Conduct a poetry salon. Invite poets and non-poets to share an evening of poetry at your home, office, place of worship, or an outdoor venue.
  • Hybridize your poetry. Add something to your poems — photography, film, music, found elements.
  • Plant a poetry garden. Incorporate poems into your garden on signs, stones, or sculpture.
  • Read the poetry book you’ve been avoiding — the one that seems too long, too hard, too old, too out of fashion.
  • Mentor a young poet.
  • Seek out a poet to mentor you!
  • Initiate correspondence with a poet you admire. Be specific about what you value in the poet’s work. Ask a question. Who knows? You may get an answer.
  • And hey, if you happened across this page by accident, please subscribe to The Poetry Department!

Happy New Year!

. . . . .

%d bloggers like this: