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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 9
Time: 5:30 - 6:30 pm
Place: St. Agnes Branch Library, 444 Amsterdam Avenue (near 81st Street), 3rd Floor
Theme: Poetry and Theft (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 975 poems and have read countless others in pursuit of poetry that speaks to them.

Stop thief! Whether someone steals your heart, your belongings, or your poetry, there is a lot of theft out there. While theft and losing things can be bad, poetic theft borrows from other poets to add to the conversation and that’s valuable — unless too much is stolen from one poet and then it’s piracy!

In the poetic form cento (collage), which goes back to Virgil and Homer, every line of a poem must be filched from a different poet. Simone Muench’s “Wolf Cento” begins with a line from Anne Sexton’s “Frenzy” and ends with a line from Carl Sandburg’s “Wilderness.”

  • Very quick. Very intense, like a wolf
  • at a live heart, the sun breaks down.
  • What is important is to avoid
  • the time allotted for disavowels
  • as the livid wound
  • leaves a trace leaves an abscess
  • takes its contraction for those clouds
  • that dip thunder & vanish
  • like rose leaves in closed jars.
  • Age approaches, slowly. But it cannot
  • crystal bone into thin air.
  • The small hours open their wounds for me.
  • This is a woman’s confession:
  • I keep this wolf because the wilderness gave it to me.

In Shakespeare's Othello, Iago, a character who intends to ruin Desdemona and Othello, states something that is true, but his truthfulness disguises his intentions:

  • Who steals my purse steals trash; ’tis something, nothing;
  • ’twas mine, ’tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
  • But he that filches from me my good name
  • Robs me of that which not enriches him,
  • And makes me poor indeed.

In “Song of Fairies Robbing an Orchard” Leigh Hunt wrote of the rewards of theft:

  • Stolen sweets are always sweeter,
  • Stolen kisses much completer,
  • Stolen looks are nice in chapels,
  • Stolen, stolen, be your apples.

We take a broad approach to our themes. Whether a poem is literally about theft, uses the word “theft” in its title, or has even a remote connection to theft, feel free to bring a poem that has meaning for you. 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.

We met on April 18 to discuss Poetry and Silence. We loved the poems everyone brought and the happy noise made over poetry!

Abigail began by reading Maria Jane Jewsbury’s “A Farewell to the Muse” which involves self-imposed renunciation and silence, “Farewell Song! —thy last notes quiver, —/Muse,—Lute, —Music, —farewell now!”

Roger read “Silence” by Edgar Lee Masters about the great difficulty of communication, “Of what use is language?/A beast of the field moans a few times/When death takes its young./And we are voiceless in the presence of realities.”

It was a relief when Phil read Carl Sandburg’s humorous “Aprons of Silence”: So many times I was asked/To come and say the same things/Everybody was saying, no end/To the yes-yes, yes-yes,/me-too, me-too.”

Hazel read “Ode on a Grecian Urn” a celebration of unheard melodies by John Keats and remarked that T. S. Eliot thought the famous last two lines spoil a good poem, “‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty,’ —that is all/Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”

Gail read from Adrienne Rich’s “Cartographies of Silence,” a work Gail first read as a meditation in a prayer book, “Silence can be a plan/rigorously executed/the blueprint to a life.”

Linda read Michael Shepherd’s “! The Sound of Silence” which celebrates the life in everything: “And I hear in the sound of the chisel on the stone,/as sure as I know my own name,/that the sculptor is listening to all this too.” Note the strange use of punctuation in the title.

Eileen remembered a poem she had read “maybe 50 years ago” and brought Muriel Rukeyser’s “Effort at Speech Between Two People” to share with us: “: Speak to me. Take my hand. What are you now?/I will tell you all. I will conceal nothing.” Here the poet’s creative use of punctuation starts each segment and follows throughout.

Karen read “Patch of Light in Deep Woods” by Maurice Manning describing a magical moment, “I listen silently to the silence,/and then six or seven, a spiral stream of hummingbirds pours through the hole/as silver-green swirled down a funnel.” We couldn’t find this online, but did fine Manning’s “Provincial Thought”: “it struck me as a symbol inside/another symbol, a silence inside/a silence, and another silence fell on me.”

Carol read “The Sound of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel, a song that resonates in many of our minds when we think of silence, “And the vision that was planted in my brain/Still remains/Within the sound of silence.”

Jaye read “To Those Who Are Alone” by Deafening Silence, “To those who are alone/and live their lives just drifting by,” to which Jaye added… “at my dinner party!” which she plans to have for vulnerable people.

AnnaLee closed the circle with Timothy Yu’s “Chinese Silence No. 22” which uses a series of stereotypes to eventually bring out individuality, “The Italians are making their pasta,/the French are making things French,/and the Chinese cultivate their silence.”

She also pointed out how the great Leonard Cohen’s two beats of silence towards the end of “Hallelujah” are as important as sound.

We look forward to seeing the works you select for Poetry and Theft and to discussing them with you on May 9. 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.

Fall 2017 Schedule:
September 12: Poetry and Commemoration
October 17: Poetry and Punctuation
November 14: Poetry and Power
December 12: Poetry and Windows

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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