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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, November 12, 2013
Time: 5:30 – 6:30 pm
Place: St. Agnes Branch Library, 444 Amsterdam Avenue (near 81st Street), 3rd Floor
Theme: Poetry and Youth (pdf)

Please join us for an hour of authentic conversation about poetry through the examination of 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.

Come join the circle on November 12 to discuss Poetry and Youth. Many people see youth as an ideal time when a person is older than a child but without the cares of adulthood. We understand George Bernard Shaw’s comment, “Youth is wasted on the young.” As we grow older we often look back on our youth with nostalgia. John M. Ridland expresses this sentiment in his two-line poem, “Age Looking Back at Its Youth”:

We had so little, yet we had so much:
Thunder and lightning at the lightest touch.

But perhaps when we are old we misremember youth as Stanley Kunitz describes in “I Dreamed That I Was Old”:

  • I dreamed that I was old: in stale declension
  • Fallen from my prime, when company
  • Was mine, cat-nimbleness, and green invention,
  • But time took my leafy hours away.
  • My wisdom, ripe with body’s ruin, found
  • Itself tart recompense for what was lost
  • In false exchange: since wisdom in the ground
  • Has no apocalypse or pentecost.
  • I wept for my youth, sweet passionate young thought,
  • And cozy women dead that by my side
  • Once lay: I wept with bitter longing, not
  • Remembering how in my youth I cried.

Join us on our blog to discuss this poem or anything about poetry: onepagepoetrycircle.wordpress.com

We invite you to bring a single page of poetry by a known author related to the subject of Poetry and Youth — with copies for others, if you can. To get started on your search, try poetryfoundation.org or poets.org.

Bring a friend and widen our circle!

We gathered on October 8 with poems related to friendship.

Abigail began the evening by reading William Makepeace Thackeray’s “The Ballad of Bouillabaisse” which tells of an older man returning to a restaurant that he frequented in his youth. He realizes how his friends and everything else have changed, “Good Lord! the world has wagged apace/Since here we sat the Claret flowing,/And drank, and ate the Bouillabaisse” and finds an answer to his sadness in a glass of wine and a meal of Bouillabaisse.

Roger read a poem his father used to recite, “Oh Lucky Jim,” about a man who envies his friend Jim. When Jim dies, he marries Jim’s widow, “Now we’re married oft I think of Jim boys/Sleeping in the churchyard peacefully./Oh Lucky Jim. How I envy him!”

Hazel read a sonnet by John Keats, “To a Friend who sent me some Roses” which describes a love for the wild rose above all others, until he receives a gift of garden roses: “Soft voice had they, that with tender plea/Whisper’d of peace, and truth, and friendliness unquell’d.”

Phil read Richard Brautigan’s “Your Catfish Friend” in which a man looks in a pond and wishes somebody loved him while the catfish thinks, “I’d love you and be your catfish/friend and drive such lonely/thoughts from your mind.” You never know where you can find love!

Karen read “The Way We Live” by the Scottish poet Kathleen Jamie who wants to “Pass the tambourine” and “bash out praises” to a world “Of chicken tandoori and reggae, loud from tenements,/commitment, driving fast and unswerving/friendship.”

Sarnia read some poetic prose from the will of Sydney Cockerell: “I have been blessed throughout my long life with a number of the dearest and kindest friends, both men and women, that ever man had. Gratefully conscious of all they have meant to me, I declare Friendship to be precious beyond all words. But it is like a plant that withers if it be not carefully tended. It must be fostered by means of visits, of letters, of little services and attentions and by constant thought, sympathy and kindness.”

AnnaLee completed the circle with Charles Simic's “The Friends of Heraclitus” which speaks of losing a good friend with whom the narrator once enjoyed philosophical discussions. In his friend’s death he discovers, “The world we see in our heads/And the world we see daily,/So difficult to tell apart/When grief and sorrow bow us over.”

We had a delightful evening discussing poetry and friendship with old friends and new.

Mark your calendars for the remainder of Fall 2013:

November 12 Poetry and Youth
December 10 Antiquity and Modernity


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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