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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, March 7
Time: 5:30 - 6:30 pm
Place: St. Agnes Branch Library, 444 Amsterdam Avenue (near 81st Street), 3rd Floor
Theme: Poetry and Anaphora (pdf)

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

We're back for the ninth 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 963 poems and have read countless others in pursuit of poetry that speaks to them.

Anaphora, the theme for our next poetry circle, is the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginnings of successive lines of poetry that can create emphasis, suggest connections, or mount up meanings. The repetition generates a pattern that resonates with the listener, producing a musical quality, memorable and seductive.

We take a broad approach to our themes. Whether a poem is literally about the theme, uses the theme in its title, or has even a remote connection to the theme, feel free to interpret and bring a poem that has meaning for you. For the theme of anaphora you might go beyond the repetition of the initial words to enjoy the repetition of lines and refrains. Can't locate a poem you want to bring? Look through a poetry book at the library or check out Poetry Foundation or poets.org.

One memorable example of anaphora occurs in John of Gaunt's lines on England in Shakespeare's Richard II, building up a sense of common heritage:

  • This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle,
  • This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
  • This other Eden, demi-paradise,
  • This fortress built by Nature for herself
  • Against infection and the hand of war,
  • This happy breed of men, this little world,
  • This precious stone set in the silver sea (2.140-42)

In Mark Strand's "From a Litany" the title gives the clue that the poem will be an invocation that gains strength through repetition. The word "From," suggests this repetition may continue ringing beyond the poem's last word. Here are the first few lines:

  • There is an open field I lie down in a hole I once dug and I praise the sky.
  • I praise the clouds that are like lungs of light.
  • I praise the owl that wants to inhabit me and the hawk that does not.
  • I praise the mouse’s fury, the wolf’s consideration.
  • I praise the dog that lives in the household of people and shall never be one of them.

One familiar anonymous proverb uses anaphora to show the connection between various things, a connection that can only be made in hindsight:

  • For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
  • For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
  • For want of a horse the rider was lost.
  • For want of a rider the message was lost.
  • For want of a message the battle was lost.
  • For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
  • And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

We look forward to seeing the works you select for Poetry and Anaphora and to discussing them with you on March 7. Bring a poem of a known poet. 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.

Spring 2017 Schedule:
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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