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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, May 10
Time: 5:30 - 6:30 pm
Place: St. Agnes Branch Library, 444 Amsterdam Avenue (near 81st Street), 3rd Floor
Theme: Poetry and Failure and Success (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 891 poems and have read countless others in pursuit of poetry that speaks to them.

Come to St. Agnes on Tuesday, May 10 to discuss Poetry and Failure and Success. In the lyrics of a famous Bob Dylan song, "there's no success like failure and that failure's no success at all," we contemplate the attraction between the two words. Do some fail and through failure make a name for themselves, as Philip Schultz writes of his father in the beginning lines of "Failure"?:

  • To pay for my father’s funeral
  • I borrowed money from people
  • he already owed money to.
  • One called him a nobody.
  • No, I said, he was a failure.
  • You can’t remember
  • a nobody’s name, that's why
  • they’re called nobodies.
  • Failures are unforgettable.

On the flip side of the question is the 1914 poem "To a Friend Whose Work Has Come to Nothing," by William Butler Yeats:

  • Now all the truth is out,
  • Be secret and take defeat
  • From any brazen throat,
  • For how can you compete,
  • Being honor bred, with one
  • Who were it proved he lies
  • Were neither shamed in his own
  • Nor in his neighbors’ eyes;
  • Bred to a harder thing
  • Than Triumph, turn away
  • And like a laughing string
  • Whereon mad fingers play
  • Amid a place of stone,
  • Be secret and exult,
  • Because of all things known
  • That is most difficult.

Yeats doesn't advise his friend to buck up after a failure, but to do the thing "most difficult": accept, and by doing so, succeed as a human being.

Can anyone be labeled a success when the person is living and could fail in the future? What is success anyway? Robert William Service begins the old favorite "Success" with the words:

  • You ask me what I call Success -
  • It is, I wonder, Happiness?
  • It is not wealth, it is not fame,
  • Nor rank, nor power nor honoured name.
  • It is not triumph in the Arts -
  • Best-selling books or leading parts.
  • It is not plaudits of the crowd,
  • The flame of flags, processions proud.
  • The panegyrics of the Press
  • are but the mirage of Success.
  • You may have all of them, my friend,
  • Yet be a failure in the end.

We are happy to report April's One Page Poetry Circle was a success! We had good attendance and ran past the hour reading and discussing the diverse poems, and welcoming new faces from past OPPCs.

We look forward to seeing the poems you select for Poetry and Failure and Success and to discussing them with you on May 10. Your attendance will help make our next meeting a perfect success!

Bring a poem of a known poet. Bring a friend. Show up! And widen the circle!
We hope you will blog with us at onepagepoetrycircle.wordpress.com.

Spring Schedule:
May 10: Poetry and Failure and Success

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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