"Only the seaIs free of such calculations." Susan Barba Declared 'a poem worth framing' by one reviewer, Susan Barba's How Should We Live Our Lives? dips into a stream of questions and musings reminiscent in style of Mary Oliver's simple and probing verse. She starts with love and trepidation and ends with an… Continue reading Susan Barba – How Should We Live Our Lives?
Kendrick Lamar asks, what kind of society would we have if the promise of '40 acres and mule' had been the 'reconstruction' that actually happened? And where do we go from here?
'So many things seem filled with the intent to be lost,' writes Elizabeth Bishop in the first stanza of one of her most well-known poems. Having lost her father before she even knew him, her mother to mental illness at a very young age, and years later her partner to suicide, Bishop was close to… Continue reading One Art – Elizabeth Bishop’s Poem About Learning to Lose
Poet Marianne Moore once said, 'Poetry watches life with affection,' a sentiment echoed in her poem Black Earth, which featured in a 1924 collection called Observations. In the poem, Moore imagines herself - affectionately - as an elephant, with thick skin 'cut into checkers by rut upon rut of unpreventable experience' that conceals the 'beautiful… Continue reading Black Earth – Marianne Moore
The term between eternity and immortality - our lives - is the subject of Emily Dickinson's poem number 721. It's a gentle vision of life melting and disappearing into a drift and the being itself a 'miracle' as she refers to it in the last verse. She also uses the image of the moon reflected… Continue reading Behind Me – dips Eternity – Emily Dickinson
"Poetry itself is an instrument of resilience," Jane Hirshfield wrote more than a decade ago when referring to her poem 'Optimism' for the Washington Post. Poetry, she continues, reflects "life's continuing embrace of its own implausible, risky existence." A residential Zen student of many years, Jane Hirshfield's work embodies a continuing sense of wonder and… Continue reading Jane Hirshfield’s Ode to Optimism and Resilience
"To take somebody's adolescence away is to deny that person some of the closest looks at God's face that we ever get on this planet," said songwriter John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats in reference to his song The Best Ever Death Metal Band Out of Denton. The song is an ode to the integrity of adolescent ambitions,… Continue reading The Best Ever Death Metal Band Out of Denton – John Darnielle
“I think there’s a kind of desperate hope built into poetry now that one really wants, hopelessly, to save the world.” These were the words of former Poet Laureate W.S. Merwin whose work reflected his lifelong concern and respect for the natural world. Merwin moved to Hawaii in 1977 in order to study Zen Buddhism,… Continue reading W.S. Merwin – Variation on a Theme
In her poem, Life is Beautiful, Dorianne Laux is literally making art from trash as she considers the wonder of a fly and its lifecycle through the things that we discard. That the miraculous can exist in the most pungent and fecund places, and that the birth of a maggot in such a world can… Continue reading Dorianne Laux – Life is Beautiful
The image of a caged bird is one that Maya Angelou used repeatedly to illustrate the struggle of African-Americans during the Civil Rights era in the United States. A powerful image, it can also represent the wider human endeavor towards freedom of every variety, both internal and external. The free bird is the one who… Continue reading The Caged Bird Sings of Freedom