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poetry circle

One Page Poetry Circle Archive

 

April, 2013.

Welcome to the One Page Poetry Circle at St. Agnes Branch Library!

Date: Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Time: 5:30 - 6:30 pm
Place: St. Agnes Branch Library, 444 Amsterdam Avenue (near 81st Street), 3rd Floor
Theme: Poetry and the Grave (pdf)

Please join us for an hour of authentic conversation about poetry through the examination of works of established poets. While there is no instructor and this is not a workshop for personal writing, once a month OPPC gives everyone a place to become teachers and learners to explore the form, content, language and meaning of poetry.

We will meet April 9th to discuss Poetry and the Grave. Humor is often used when writing poems about this grave subject. Here's a short and sweet epitaph found on a tombstone: "I was Fred/Now I'm dead." Diane Wakoski's commemoration of a death, "Dancing on the Grave of a Son of a Bitch," begins: "God damn it,/at last I am going to dance on your grave,/old man."

An 18th century group of poets, called the "Graveyard Poets" or the "Boneyard Boys" specialized in meditations on mortality from the graveyard. Other poems memorialized the dead such as Charles Wolfe's "Burial of Sir John Moore after Corunna." This popular poem, written in 1816, was often recited when men were buried after battle without a proper grave, like during the American Civil War. The poem ends:

  • Slowly and sadly we laid him down,
  • From the field of his fame fresh and gory;
  • We carved not a line, and we raised not a stone,
  • But we left him alone with his glory.

In March 1842, Walt Whitman's parody of Wolfe's poem appeared in The New York Aurora. In his twist on the original, the poet defends McDonald Clarke, a fellow writer and poet, who died uncelebrated and was buried in the tombs. Whitman speaks of his friend as a warrior who needs no hypocritical tombstone with phony sentiments, as he will live on through his published works and by this poem, which ends:

  • Darkly and sadly his spirit has fled,
  • But his name will long linger in story;
  • He needs not a stone to hallow his bed;
  • He's in Heaven, encircled with glory.

Join us for Poetry and the Grave on April 9th. We are eager to see the poems you've selected. In the meantime, visit our new blog at http://onepagepoetrycircle.wordpress.com where we look forward to discussing anything to do with poetry!

OPPC met on March 13th to discuss Poetry and Seduction.

Larry, who has moved to New England, posted some wonderful poems and comments on our blog. Read them here at http://onepagepoetrycircle.wordpress.com/

Abigail started us off with a poem that seduces the reader, Ishmael Reed's "beware: do not read this poem," which maintains, "this poem aint got no manners/you cant call out frm this poem/relax now & go w/ this poem."

Roger read Robert Burns's "A Red, Red Rose," which begins with the beautiful lines, "My love is like a red, red rose/That's newly sprung in June," and ends with the lover going away and asking the woman to wait for him.

Les read "The Bait" by John Donne which begins, "Come live with me, and be my love,/And we shall some new pleasures prove," which provides a twist on the original poem by Christopher Marlowe written in the late 1500s: "Come live with me and be my love,/And we will all the pleasures prove." Since then many response poems have been written to this beautiful verse.

Stan read Gaius Valerius Catulls's "Let's Live and Love: To Lesbia" in both Latin and English. Dating from first century BC, this modern sounding poem begins, "Let us live, my Lesbia, let us love,/and all the words of the old, and so moral,/may they be worth less than nothing to us!"

Cate read Galway Kinnel's "Shelley" which describes his early admiration for the poet "who wrote tracts advocating atheism, free love, the emancipation of women, and the abolition of wealth and class" only to lose respect upon discovering the poet left a wake of destruction from his "malaise รก trois."

Sylvia brought Edna St. Vincent Millay's "The True Encounter" which rewrites the legend of the boy who cried wolf: "'Wolf?' cried my cunning heart/At every sheep it spied."

Eileen read C. B. Trail's "Sonnet" which describes an "afternoon we lay in the leaves," and ends: "I will hear the sermons preached, and some of them be true,/but I will not regret that afternoon with you."

Betsy read Herman Hesse's "Elizabeth" (which Tamara read in German, our second reading in the original of the evening) that tells of a late night conversation between the narrator and Elizabeth ending, "You mustn't be troublesome,/And blow these poems away./Soon you will listen to them,/Listen, and not understand."

AnnaLee completed the circle with Sara Trevor Teasdale's "The Look" describing three men in her life, one of whom is the true seducer. Here it is in its entirety:

  • Strephon kissed me in the spring,
  •    Robin in the fall,
  • But Colin only looked at me
  •   And never kissed at all.
  • Strephon's kiss was lost in jest,
  •   Robin's lost in play,
  • But the kiss in Colin's eyes
  •   Haunts me night and day.

Mark your calendars for the remainder of Spring 2013:

April 9. Poetry and the Grave
May 14. Poetry and Circles

And don't forget to visit our new blog at http://onepagepoetrycircle.wordpress.com

Abigail
Abigail Burnham Bloom and AnnaLee Wilson

The One Page Poetry Circle is sponsored by the New York Public Library and is open to all. St. Agnes Branch Library is handicapped accessible.

 


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