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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, February 10, 2015
Time: 5:30 – 6:30 pm
Place: St. Agnes Branch Library, 444 Amsterdam Avenue (near 81st Street), 3rd Floor
Theme: Poems about everyday things (pdf)

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

We’re back for the seventh season of the One Page Poetry Circle where people gather to examine the 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. Since the circle started, participants have selected and discussed 792 poems and have read countless others in pursuit of poetry that speaks to them.

For our first meeting in the new year we’ll take a look at poetry and the everyday. We became intrigued by the subject in the fall when several of Pablo Neruda’s odes to common things were read in the One Page Poetry Circle. In these works, socks, bread and a box of tea are all examined and transformed by the author into something new. In Neruda’s “Ode to Things” published in the 1950s Neruda tells us about the ordinary things he loves and that the hands that have made them: “all bear/the trace/of someone’s fingers/on their handle or surface,/the trace of a distant hand/lost/in the depths of forgetfulness.

Kay Ryan, Poet Laureate of the United States 2008-2010, joins this tradition with poems about doorknobs, Chinese acupuncture charts and chickens. In her poem “Expectations” the narrator looks forward to a chain of events, if only the weather would cooperate.

  • We expect rain
  • To animate this
  • Creek: these rocks
  • To harbor gurgles,
  • These pebbles to
  • Creep downstream
  • A little, those leaves
  • To circle in the
  • Eddy, the stains
  • And gloss of wet.
  • The bed is ready
  • But no rain yet.

For a different take on poetry about everyday things, consider this:

Early English poetry was dedicated to the epic, the elegiac and the religious, all serious topics. The only exception was the riddle which celebrated domestic activity and the ordinary. Here’s a provocative riddle from Anglo-Saxon England (translated into modern English):

  • I’m a strange creature, for I satisfy women,
  • a service to the neighbors! No one suffers
  • at my hands except for my slayer.
  • I grow very tall, erect in a bed,
  • I’m hairy underneath. From time to time
  • a good-looking girl, the doughty daughter
  • of some churl dares to hold me,
  • grips my russet skin, robs me of my head
  • and puts me in the pantry. At once that girl
  • with plaited hair who has confined me
  • remembers our meeting. Her eye moistens.

Is it a penis or an onion? The first jumps forward revealing our dirty minds, but to say it’s an onion seems naïve. Unfortunately the answer has not survived with the riddle itself. Like all poetry it contains no ultimate solution, but only clues to be interpreted in different ways.

To read more about poetry, check out our blog on all things having to do with poetry, (http://onepagepoetrycircle.wordpress.com/).

We look forward to reading and discussing your selections for our next program, Poems about everyday things on February 10th.

Bring a friend and widen the circle! And remember to blog with us at onepagepoetrycircle.wordpress.com. Don’t be shy.

Schedule for the spring:

February 10: Poems about everyday things
March 10: Poetry and red
April 14: Lyric poetry
May 12: Poetry and health

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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