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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, December 13
Time: 5:30 - 6:30 pm
Place: St. Agnes Branch Library, 444 Amsterdam Avenue (near 81st Street), 3rd Floor
Theme: Poetry and Endings (pdf)

Find a poem! Show up! Read a poem! Discuss a poem!

We're back for the eighth season of the One Page Poetry Circle where people gather to examine the works of established poets. While there's 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. Since the circle started, participants have selected and discussed 935 poems and have read countless others in pursuit of poetry that speaks to them.

We chose the theme of Poetry and Endings not just because December is our last meeting of the year, but also because the last lines of poems have special significance. As 2016 marches toward its end, we give you a stanza from Alfred Lord Tennyson's "In Memoriam" describing the sound of church bells at the end of the year and the hope for what lies ahead after the poet has experienced a particularly difficult year:

  • Ring out the old, ring in the new,
  • Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
  • The year is going, let him go;
  • Ring out the false, ring in the true.

When we come to the last words of a fine poem we complete a journey. Ex-Poet Laureate Billy Collins relates his satisfaction when finding an ending to a poem, describing the silence that follows a poem's last word as something new created between the reader and writer. In her poem "Endings" Mona Van Duyn writes that an end "lights up the meaning of the whole work." Archibald MacLeish's famous ending to "Ars Poetica" (here in its entirety) has lit up many a literary discussion:

  • A Poem should be palpable and mute
  • As a globed fruit,
  • Dumb
  • As old medallions to the thumb,
  • Silent as the sleeve-worn stone
  • Of casement ledges where the moss has grown—
  • A poem should be wordless
  • As the flight of birds.
  • *
  • A poem should be motionless in time
  • As the moon climbs,
  • Leaving, as the moon releases
  • Twig by twig the night-entangled trees,
  • Leaving, as the moon behind the winter leaves,
  • Memory by memory the mind-
  • A poem should be motionless in time
  • As the moon climbs.
  • *
  • A poem should be equal to:
  • Not true.
  • For all the history of grief
  • An empty doorway and a maple leaf.
  • For love
  • The leaning grasses and two lights above the sea-
  • A poem should not mean
  • But be.

Is there an ending of a poem that you have particularly enjoyed? Do you know a poem where the ending surprises because it takes a turn you didn't expect? Bring that poem with you when you come to St. Agnes on Tuesday, December 13 to discuss Poetry and Endings. Bring a friend. Show up! And widen the circle! Without your support the library may find other uses for the spacious room they've given us.

Please blog with us at onepagepoetrycircle.wordpress.com.

Fall Schedule:
December 13, Poetry and Endings

Spring 2017 Schedule:
February 7, Poetry and Snakes
March 7, Poetry and Anaphora
April 18, Poetry and Silence
May 9, Poetry and Theft

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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