supercheesegirl: (buddha - be a light)
This was in the poem-a-day email from November 4, 2010. I need to read more of Harrison's work.

by Jeffrey Harrison

It's a gift, this cloudless November morning
warm enough for you to walk without a jacket
along your favorite path. The rhythmic shushing
of your feet through fallen leaves should be
enough to quiet the mind, so it surprises you
when you catch yourself telling off your boss
for a decade of accumulated injustices,
all the things you've never said circling inside you.

It's the rising wind that pulls you out of it,
and you look up to see a cloud of leaves
swirling in sunlight, flickering against the blue
and rising above the treetops, as if the whole day
were sighing, Let it go, let it go,
for this moment at least, let it all go

love poems

Sep. 17th, 2010 11:37 am
supercheesegirl: (heart - paper)
check out this fabulous article about modern love poems in Marie Claire! My friend Jill wrote one of the poems cited, which is super-cool. I loved the Frank O'Hara poem, but my favorite is the Brautigan one, which actually made me cry here at the office. You should go read it right now, I mean it.
supercheesegirl: (poetry - it's crazy!)
F sent me this--it came up in today's Poem-A-Day email from He said it reminded him a bit of my new work. I agree-this has some wilder language than what I've been doing, but I need some wilder language. I really like this poem and I'm hoping to track down a copy of Farley's book.

by Paul Farley

How good we are for each other, walking through
a land of silence and darkness. You
open doors for me, I answer the phone for you.

I play jungle loud. You read with the light on.
Beautiful. The curve of your cheekbone,
explosive vowels, exact use of cologne.

What are you thinking? I ask in a language of touch
unique to us. You tap my palm nothing much.
At stations we compete senses, see which

comes first—light in the tunnel, whiplash down the rail.
I kick your shins when we go out for meals.
You dab my lips. I finger yours like Braille.
supercheesegirl: (books - petals)
Full title on the cover: Into the Garden: A Wedding Anthology: Poetry and Prose on Love and Marriage. I really like both Robert Hass and Stephen Mitchell, and I got this on sale for F for Christmas (I think it was). It's an excellent compilation--lots of different kinds of poems. I really enjoyed reading the whole thing.

Here's my particular favorite, which we're using as a reading at the wedding.

Read more... )
supercheesegirl: (poetry - it's crazy!)
Heather linked me to this poem and I think it's amazing. Etruscan Song, by Dan Chiasson )
supercheesegirl: (books - petals)
I've been reading this poetry collection bit by bit late at night before bed (like I do with any poetry I read these days). I really loved this book--pretty much all of it, actually. At first I was marking poems that I especially liked, but it ended up being almost every poem so I stopped. Hass just has a beautiful way with language. I loved his meditations on normal life--his family, a summer afternoon, watching his children grow. Section 2, which was all prose poems, really touched me, but I also loved the last section too.

Here as usual is one poem that I quite liked. )
supercheesegirl: (poetry - it's crazy!)
Poetry, recommended by F. Really delightful stuff. Apparently Berman is in a band and that's his main gig, and he just happens to be a terrific poet as a side thing?

I honestly loved several particular poems, but what really struck me is what a gift Berman has for completely fantastic individual lines. My favorite line in the book?

"Here, this pill should make you feel like a turtle / tangled up in a dry cleaning bag."


"Self Portrait at 28" was my favorite poem, I think, but it's too long to post here. I'll share another poem I really loved:

The Spine of the Snowman )
supercheesegirl: (poetry - it's crazy!)
This book is really amazing. It's really sad, because Gilbert wrote it after the death of his wife, and since there are few things I worry about more than F's untimely death, it was a difficult book for me to read. But the poems are incredibly beautiful and incredibly moving. Highly, highly recommended.

Here's one of my favorites. )
supercheesegirl: (poetry - it's crazy!)
I would give this book three and a half stars, I think. The poems are lovely, and many of them really touched me, but as a whole collection I didn't completely fall in love with it. Which, I mean, this book won the Pulitzer, so maybe I should have tried harder. But I did really love many of the poems. "Old Dogs", "What Goes On", Optimism", Androgyne", Simpler Times", "Our Parents", "Empathy"--OK, I haven't even flipped halfway through the book and already I have tons to list, so apparently I really did love the poems.

Here's one I really liked: Read more... )
supercheesegirl: (poetry - it's crazy!)
I really loved this book. Kirby has such an interesting style--he uses long long lines and a relaxed, conversational tone. Reading Kirby is like listening to someone who's had just enough to drink that he's got lots to say and eventually almost without noticing he gets around to saying something oddly profound. (Although obviously Kirby's profundity is much more intentional than your tipsy friend's.) I liked this book very much. Here's one poem that really struck me (long, but a quick and worthwhile read):

My Dead Dad )
supercheesegirl: (poetry - it's crazy!)
Last night F and I went to see Albert Goldbarth give a reading at Swarthmore. It was rainy, and we were tired from our busy weekend, but we went anyway! And we were very glad we did. Besides, it gave me a chance to wear my new raincoat and wellies.

It was a smaller reading than Rita Dove's last week--hers was sponsored by several campus organizations, while Goldbarth was just sponsored by the English department. But the smaller crowd was nice.

I really liked Goldbarth very much. He's the kind of poet who's old enough to have really grown into himself--he takes risks in his poems that I wouldn't dream of, and that pay off amazingly. He's confident and cantankerous and really a lot of fun. I enjoyed his reading so much.

My favorite poem he read was the long three-part poem that he closed with, but I don't remember the title of it, only that it was about his wife's 30-year high school reunion and that it absolutely blew my mind. I did, however, really like his other poems too, one of which I actually remembered the title of and have looked up to post here for you:

Shawl )

Also of interest: we bought a copy of Goldbarth's book The Kitchen Sink: New and Selected Poems 1972-2007, and he signed it for us. For US. It's the first book signed to the two of us. Awwwww.
supercheesegirl: (poetry - it's crazy!)
Last night I went to see Rita Dove give a poetry reading at Swarthmore. I'd seen Ms. Dove before, when she gave the keynote speech at AWP a few years back, but I don't remember being really impressed with her then. Last night, however, she was awesome. It was (obviously) a much smaller venue, full of passionate undergrads--the reading was jointly sponsored by the campus literary review and by the African American student group. She read some poems that the kids who'd arranged the reading had requested, including "Parsley", which was about a massacre of Haitian field workers in the Dominican Republic by Trujillo back in the 1930s. She talked some about this poem--she told the story of what historically happened, and then the story of how she wrote it, which took her several years--and it was fascinating. (And, walking home after the reading, I overheard a student passionately describing the poem and the events to someone on her cell phone--education in action!)

Ms. Dove also read from her new book, Sonata Mulattica, which tells the story of a mixed-race virtuoso violinist named George Bridgetower who lived during the time of Beethoven, and to whom Beethoven actually dedicated a sonata, until the two fell out over a woman and Beethoven tore out the dedication in a rage. Really, really fascinating story. I love historically based poems. At the end of the reading, Ms. Dove did a Q&A where she was so thoughtful and responsive to the student questions. I really enjoyed the whole event.

One student asked Ms. Dove about her poem, "Chocolate", so she then read it for us. I fell in love, so here's the poem.


Velvet fruit, exquisite square
I hold up to sniff
between finger and thumb---

how you numb me
with your rich attentions!
If I don't eat you quickly,

you'll melt in my palm.
Pleasure seeker, if I let you
you'd liquefy everywhere.

Knotted smoke, dark punch
of earth and night and leaf,
for a taste of you

any woman would gladly
crumble to ruin.
Enough chatter: I am ready

to fall in love!

From American Smooth by Rita Dove published by W. W. Norton & Company 2004.
supercheesegirl: (poetry - it's crazy!)
Many of you will remember Katherine Mansfield because I made you read her short story "Miss Brill" a while back. It was the story about the old lady with her fox stole at the concert in the park, and if you read it you are probably throwing things at the screen right now and cursing me for making you think about it because it was so heartbreaking.

I picked up this long out-of-print 1924 first edition a while ago; I don't even remember where I got it, but I thought it was finally time to read it. I've been going through it at night before bed. Mansfield's poems are odd, and oddly lovely. She uses rhythm and rhyme but not exclusively or heavily. There's a creepiness to some of the poems that is kind of rich and wonderful.

Here's one poem. )
supercheesegirl: (poetry - it's crazy!)
I am completely in love with this poem: I Am an Asshole, by Lynn Behrendt. (If you work in the kind of place where you shouldn't have words like "asshole" plastered 50 times over your screen, then it is not work-safe, so please read it when you get home, because it so deserves to be read, even by people whose thing is not poetry; even if your thing is mountain climbing or knitting instead of poetry, you should still read this poem, because it's amazing.)
supercheesegirl: (poetry - it's crazy!)
I finally finished this today. I can't even remember when I started it--it's F's copy, so... maybe July or August? It's just been sitting on my windowsill for months. Sigh. Anyway, I think Mary Oliver is pretty delightful. She loves trees and writes so beautifully about the natural world and our place in it. Not a whole lot in this book really struck me in particular, but I liked the overall feel. Here's my favorite.

Maples )
supercheesegirl: (heart - sunflowers)
(This post's title could also be "I have the awesomest boyfriend in the world", because he just emailed me this sweetness out of nowhere and I almost cried.)

After Making Love We Hear Footsteps
by Galway Kinnell

For I can snore like a bullhorn
or play loud music
or sit up talking with any reasonably sober Irishman
and Fergus will only sink deeper
into his dreamless sleep, which goes by all in one flash,
but let there be that heavy breathing
or a stifled come-cry anywhere in the house
and he will wrench himself awake
and make for it on the run—as now, we lie together,
after making love, quiet, touching along the length of our bodies,
familiar touch of the long-married,
and he appears—in his baseball pajamas, it happens,
the neck opening so small he has to screw them on—
and flops down between us and hugs us and snuggles himself to sleep,
his face gleaming with satisfaction at being this very child.

In the half darkness we look at each other
and smile
and touch arms across this little, startlingly muscled body—
this one whom habit of memory propels to the ground of his making,
sleeper only the mortal sounds can sing awake,
this blessing love gives again into our arms.

(You can listen to Kinnell read this poem here.)
supercheesegirl: (monsoon - alice)
I absolutely adore this poem. Fritz sent it to me, proving that he knows me very, very well. I especially love how peaceful the speaker is. It's beautiful.


Mummy of a Lady Named Jemutesonekh XXI Dynasty

by Thomas James

My body holds its shape. The genius is intact.
Will I return to Thebes? In that lost country
The eucalyptus trees have turned to stone.
Once, branches nudged me, dropping swollen blossoms,
And passionflowers lit my father's garden.
Is it still there, that place of mottled shadow,
The scarlet flowers breathing in the darkness?

I remember how I died. It was so simple!
One morning the garden faded. My face blacked out.
On my left side they made the first incision.
They washed my heart and liver in palm wine—
My lungs were two dark fruit they stuffed with spices.
They smeared my innards with a sticky unguent
And sealed them in a crock of alabaster.

My brain was next. A pointed instrument
Hooked it through my nostrils, strand by strand.
A voice swayed over me. I paid no notice.
For weeks my body swam in sweet perfume.
I came out Scoured. I was skin and bone.
Thy lifted me into the sun again
And packed my empty skull with cinnamon.

They slit my toes; a razor gashed my fingertips.
Stitched shut at last, my limbs were chaste and valuable,
Stuffed with a paste of cloves and wild honey.
My eyes were empty, so they filled them up,
Inserting little nuggets of obsidian.
A basalt scarab wedged between my breasts
Replaced the tinny music of my heart.

Hands touched my sutures. I was so important!
They oiled my pores, rubbing a fragrance in.
An amber gum oozed down to soothe my temples.
I wanted to sit up. My skin was luminous,
Frail as the shadow of an emerald.
Before I learned to love myself too much,
My body wound itself in spools of linen.

Shut in my painted box, I am a precious object.
I wear a wooden mask. These are my eyelids,
Two flakes of bronze, and here is my new mouth,
Chiseled with care, guarding its ruby facets.
I will last forever. I am not impatient—
My skin will wait to greet its old complexions.
I'll lie here till the world swims back again.

When I come home the garden will be budding,
White petals breaking open, clusters of night flowers,
The far-off music of a tambourine.
A boy will pace among the passionflowers,
His eyes no longer two bruised surfaces.
I'll know the mouth of my young groom, I'll touch
His hands. Why do people lie to one another?


Apr. 23rd, 2008 10:23 pm
supercheesegirl: (monsoon - alice)
I'm taking a little class on Rumi at my church, and I'm really enjoying it. Here's a poem we talked about tonight:


Today, like every other day we wake up empty
and frightened. Don't open the door to the study
and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument.

Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.


I love this poem because it makes "beauty" into a verb. Go do some beauty! This reminds me that all we can control are our own actions. We can't control the things that happen to us--everything from mean cashiers to hurricanes will happen, and we can't stop it. What we can control is how we act: we can choose to be grumpy and angry, or to hide away alone, or we can choose to be joyful and bring beauty into the world regardless of what the world has handed us.

I think that appreciating and contributing to the beauty in the world is kind of the definition of spirituality. As the poem says, there are hundreds of ways to be worshipful, to pray, to love beauty.

Spring is a time when we naturally appreciate beauty, and it moves us to create more. Two different people looked me up today just to tell me that I am loved and missed. It makes me really happy to know that springtime inspired my friends to think of me. You two both brought beauty to my world today. I hope that this little poem brings some beauty to all of you.
supercheesegirl: (books - Matisse reading lady)
Read this one yesterday too. I was feelin' the poetry. I found out about this book at the Greensboro Review reading at AWP in Atlanta last year--the book had just come out and Patrick Phillips read some of the poems. I was so impressed I hung on to the name of the book, and snagged it (on sale!) at AWP this year. Phillips's new book has just come out, and he was signing it at its publisher's table, but he graciously signed this book for me. He's very nice.

Anyway, this book is lovely. About family and childhood and relationships between brothers and brothers and fathers and sons. Really vivid, really good stories. I also liked how he played with form--there are a few, um, what's the word, the arabic form with the couplets and the refrain, I'm thinking pantoum but I know that's wrong. I can't believe I'm not thinking of it. Anyway, there are a few of those and they're lovely. I also really liked "Blue Ridge Bestiary", which if you know my taste in poems is kind of surprising because I generally like my poems to have people in them, but this series was really very nice, and neatly tied up. I appreciate that in a poem too.

"My Lovely Assistant" is a terrific poem, possibly my favorite in the book. The kind of poem that makes me thank god I never had a brother. I am tired and I'm not going to rekey it, but look how thoughtful I am: I googled it and discovered that StorySouth featured five poems from this book, including "My Lovely Assistant"! You can read these excellent poems online!
supercheesegirl: (books - petals)
A gift from F, I think. I've been working my way through this for several months now, a poem here or there, but all of a sudden yesterday I just got into it.

My favorite from this book:A poem! )

I also really loved "Elective Mutes" and "What the Whales Sound Like in Manhattan". Both of those are a bit longer.


supercheesegirl: (Default)

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