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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 11, 2020
Time: 5:30 — 6:30 pm
Place: St. Agnes Branch Library, 444 Amsterdam Avenue (near 81st Street), 3rd Floor
Theme: Poetry that Makes You Cry (pdf)

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

We're back for the twelfth spring 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 began, participants have selected and discussed 1187 poems and have read countless others in pursuit of poetry that speaks to them.

February's theme is Poetry that Makes You Cry. According to British neuroscientist Michael Trimble, the ability to cry for emotional reasons and in response to aesthetic experiences is unique to humans. Poetry bridges both categories. With its brevity of words, cadence, and juxtapositions, poetry can escalate our emotions and bring us to tears. We may turn to poetry when we are distraught, feel compassion, face mortality, or experience joy. Ernest Dowson's "Vitae Summa Brevis" sums up the beauty and sadness of life in two verses:

  • They are not long, the weeping and the laughter,
  • Love and desire and hate:
  • I think they have no portion in us after
  • We pass the gate.
  • They are not long, the days of wine and roses:
  • Out of a misty dream
  • Our path emerges for a while, then closes

With its sheer beauty of language, poetry can bypass the intellect to reach our more primal emotions, as in these opening lines of W. H. Auden's "Lullaby":

  • Lay your sleeping head, my love,
  • Human on my faithless arm;
  • Time and fevers burn away
  • Individual beauty from
  • Thoughtful children, and the grave
  • Proves the child ephemeral:
  • But in my arms till break of day
  • Let the living creature lie,
  • Mortal, guilty, but to me
  • The entirely beautiful.

Perhaps a poem makes you cry because it was the favorite of someone you loved. Or perhaps it doesn't make you actually cry, as in William Wordsworth "Ode: Intimations of Immortality," "To me the meanest flower that blows can give/Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears."

We're looking forward to seeing you at the February 11th One Page Poetry Circle with a poem on the theme of Poetry that Makes You Cry. And if you can, come with copies of your selection for others to share. Can't locate a poem you want to bring? Browse the poetry section at the library or check out Poetry Foundation or poets.org.

In the meantime, please blog with us at onepagepoetrycircle.wordpress.com.

Spring 2020 Schedule
February 11, Poetry that Makes You Cry
March 10, Poetry and Muses
April 14, Poetry and Satire
May 12, Poetry and Joy

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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