Posts Tagged ‘poetry’


Posted: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 in Poems
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I required wine
and you brought two bottles to the beach,
where I undressed you

the common way—imagining it.
You lodged yourself
in the way of some fantasies,

blocking my view of the north side of Paris.
You were the color of almonds

almost burnt in a dry pan,
but you could not rival Paris.

— Jasmine V. Bailey

Jasmine V. Bailey is Web Editor for 32 Poems and was the 2010 O’Connor creative writing fellow at Colgate University. Her chapbook, Sleep and What Precedes It, is available from Longleaf Press and her book-length manuscript, Alexandria, is forthcoming from Carnegie Mellon.


The secret of it all, is to write in the gush, the throb, the flood, of the moment – to put things down without deliberation – without worrying about their style – without waiting for a fit time or place. I always worked that way. I took the first scrap of paper, the first doorstep, the first desk, and wrote – wrote, wrote…By writing at the instant the very heartbeat of life is caught.

Walt Whitman

(with thanks to John Winokur’s always excellent Advice to Writers site.)

Only one thing remained reachable, close and secure amid all losses: language. Yes, language. In spite of everything, it remained secure against loss. But it had to go through its own lack of answers, through terrifying silence, through the thousand darknesses of murderous speech. It went through. It gave me no words for what was happening, but went through it. Went through and could resurface, ‘enriched’ by it all.

Paul Celan, 1958

Prize-winning poet Brenda Hillman has been deeply engaged with war resistance, Code Pink, and the Occupy movements for many years. In this interview she discusses poetry and politics with terrific lucidity and deep knowledge.

One of the smartest statements on the need for an engaged poetics that I’ve read. Highly recommended.

Here are a few small extracts, but, really, go read the entire interview:

“We cannot wait for our engagement to be packaged by the State and sold back to us as corporate political parties. We have to use our great imaginations. Poets should be resisters and harridans when things are amiss in the State.”

“I now believe that our protests must involve the whole broken monetary system; society is not fixable under the current model, in that it cannot bring justice to a large number of people who are serving the few.”

I hate and love. You wonder, perhaps, why I’d do that?
I have no idea. I just feel it. I am crucified.

— Gaius Valerius Catullus (84-54 B.C.)

(translated by Peter Green)

“We may feel bitterly how little our poems can do in the face of seemingly out-of-control technological power and seemingly limitless corporate greed, yet it has always been true that poetry can break isolation, show us to ourselves when we are outlawed or made invisible, remind us of beauty where no beauty seems possible, remind us of kinship where all is represented as separation.” —Adrienne Rich (1929-2012)


Posted: Thursday, January 19, 2012 in Commonplace Book, Poetry, Uncategorized
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A profusion of pink roses being ragged in the rain speaks to me of all gentleness and its enduring.

William Carlos Williams

A recent conversation started on Facebook by Alfred Corn alerted me to this old (2007) but excellent article by David Orr. Orr’s main topic is the $200 million endowment the Poetry Foundation received in 2001. But he also sardonically analyzes the poetry published by the New Yorker, the one market that virtually every poet in the country longs to crack. How to get into the New Yorker? First, be a Great Dead Poet. Or, second, Orr says, make it as a Big Name and then let the New Yorker publish your worst work. Or, perhaps easiest of all, just work for the magazine. Easy peasy. Recommended. (Photo by Susan Sermoneta.)

Poets of the English LanguagePoets of the English Language by W.H. Auden
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve read this collection through several times and find it entirely useful. Auden’s prefaces to each volume, providing historical, cultural and technical background, are by themselves worth the price of the anthology. Why this collection is out of print is beyond me.

View all my reviews


Posted: Thursday, December 15, 2011 in Poems
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this is how i capitulate:


in overgrown curves and sly ditches

call it rib-banging with an ant farm in my arms

weathering without ever looking up

the slow death of being


nobody twice

in the same bed.


Peter Schwartz’s words have been featured in Wigleaf, Opium, and the Columbia Review.  He’s also an artist, comedian, and dedicated kayaker.  More at: