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poetry circle

One Page Poetry Circle Archive


Welcome to the One Page Poetry Circle at St. Agnes Branch Library!
Date: Tuesday, April 8
Time: 5:30 – 6:30 pm
Place: St. Agnes Branch Library, 444 Amsterdam Avenue (near 81st Street), 3rd Floor
Theme: Poetry and Journeys (pdf)

Find a poem! Read a poem! Discuss a poem!

Please come 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.

Join the circle on April 8 to discuss Poetry and Journeys. Our lives are one big journey made up of many smaller trips. Wendy Cope describes one such trip in “On a Train”:

  • The book I’ve been reading
  • rests on my knee. You sleep.
  • It’s beautiful out there –
  • fields, little lakes and winter trees
  • in February sunlight,
  • every car park a shining mosaic.
  • Long, radiant minutes,
  • your hand in my hand,
  • still warm, still warm.

From The Odyssey to Beowulf to The Fairie Queene, many epic poems involve journeys. Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales begins with a description of the coming of spring, causing everyone to long to go on pilgrimages and generations of school children to struggle to memorize:

  • Whan that April with his showres soote
  • The droughte of March hath perced to the roote,
  • And bathed every veine in swich licour,
  • Of which vertu engendred is the flowr;

Make the pilgrimage this April to join us at the One Page Poetry Circle!

EVERYONE’S WELCOME to bring a single page of poetry by a known author related to the subject of Poetry and Journeys—with copies for others, if you can. To get started on your search, try poetryfoundation.org or poets.org.

And in between meetings please visit our blog to discuss these poems or anything about poetry: onepagepoetrycircle.wordpress.com

On March 11 attendees gathered to read and discuss poems about Hunger and Thirst. Abigail began the evening by reading Ann Hawkshaw’s “The Mother to Her Starving Child,” describing the horror of a child dying a preventable death: “I might have born it if disease/Had changed thee thus, and only wept,/As others oft have wept before.”

Roger read Emily Dickinson’s poem which begins, “I had been hungry all the years;/My noon had come, to dine;/I trembling, drew the table near,/And touched the curious wine.” a poem in which the narrator uses hunger to describe a longing that when fulfilled, loses its importance.

Hazel read Carl Sandburg’s “Soup.” The narrator sees a famous man whose name is in the headlines, “He sat bending his head over a plate/Putting soup in his mouth with a spoon.” This simple vignette contrasts fame with the ordinariness of life.

Gail read “Vespers” by Louise Gluck in which the narrator rails against nature as the winter season sets in, “Once I believed in you; I planted a fig tree./Here, in Vermont, country/of no summer. It was a test: if the tree lived,/it would mean you existed.”

Betsy read Stanley J. Sharpless’s “In Praise of Cocoa, Cupid’s Nightcap,” describing the aphrodisiacal qualities of cocoa on a couple in bed, “Rapt beneath the tumbled bedclothes,/Cocoa coursing through their veins.”

Trina read a poem that sparked a discussion about whether a woman (or man for that matter) ever stops developing into her (or his) true self.

Erica delighted us by reciting Lewis Carroll’s “The Walrus and the Carpenter,” which ends with the Carpenter asking the oysters a question, “But answer came there none—/And this was scarcely odd, because/They’d eaten every one.”

We laughed to find that AnnaLee had brought the same poem as Roger. In all the years OPPC has been meeting, members have brought the same poem only a few times. This is surprising. You’d think it would happen more often, but the body of poetry is vast. When it does happen, OPPC members add more to the understanding of the poem, showing us that a good poem has many layers of richness waiting to be teased out.

We always wonder what poems will be read, what new poems will be introduced and what poems we’ll revisit in a new context. We look forward to seeing old friends and new on April 8 to discuss Poetry and Journeys. Mark your calendars for spring 2014:

April 8: Poetry and Journeys
May 6: Poetry and Birds

Bring a friend and widen the circle!

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 handicap accessible.


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