Tag Archives: poetry

‘A Royal Poet of a Sky’

The poem is “A Gazetteer of the Backyard (In Which Pedanius Dioscorides Takes Stock”) by Sylvia Legris (Poetry, March 2020). It’s a Pernambuco of a backyard. Over a span of dogged spells with this rhapsody of nature-naming I hit upon … Continue reading

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John Lewis

[When I inserted the photograph of Mr. Lewis included in the NYTimes I triggered the above warning, so I substituted a sketch of mine for the photograph.] Representative John Lewis died on July 17, 2020. These are the last words … Continue reading

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What Makes a Poem ‘Hard’?

“Syntax” is the answer to the fudgy question. It’s hard to reach image and reference through muddy syntax. In narrative and exposition, context comes to the rescue; in poetry often not, because a poet revels in flare-gunning lap dance moon … Continue reading

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Why Do Poets Ampersand?

The poem is “Sacrament I” by Robin Gow (Poetry, March 2020). Excerpt, first stanza: & all the faucets pour oil or milk.We fill father’s bottles, the brown and green;thick glass blood cells, a throat-slit pouring silk.When will the baptisms make … Continue reading

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What Does a Poem Teach? Fluidity

Excerpts are from the poem “A Future History” by Suzi L. Garcia (Poetry, March 2020). A muster of peacocks show off their tails, but instead of feathers, knives. This line introduces me to “muster,” a collective noun applied to peacocks. … Continue reading

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Translated Poem: ‘In the March’

In the MarchRené Char (1907 — 1988)(Translated from the French by JMN) These incessant and phosphorescent streaks of death upon self that we read in the eyes of those who love us, without wanting to conceal them from them. Must … Continue reading

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What Does a Poem “Say”?

The poem is “A Future History” by Suzi L. Garcia (Poetry, March 2020). It’s a short prose poem. For my own purposes I want to paraphrase it to suggest what I think it’s “about.” I’m not at all sure this … Continue reading

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Manifestoid 2 of 2

Black lives matter. I’m a lay reader of Poetry, the magazine founded in 1912 by Harriet Monroe. I’m reading backward through my current 102 issues. “I — the telltale animal — rest my throat / against the snare of you, … Continue reading

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Manifestoid 1 of 2

A correspondent writes: Watched the lunchtime news, it veers between positivity and warnings that leaves the head spinning and the heart pumping. In that last sentence, should it be ‘leave’ or ‘leaves’. I had ‘leaves’ because it is the veering … Continue reading

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Geography & Poetry

The Darbuk-Shyok-Daulat Beg Old road in Ladakh has 37 bridges over snow-fed rivers in spate during summer melt. It leads to Karakoram Pass where, on 15 June two-thousand-and-twenty, Chinese warriors ambushed Indian warriors with rocks, staves & nail-studded clubs, tossing … Continue reading

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