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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 1
Time: 5:30 - 6:30 pm
Place: St. Agnes Branch Library, 444 Amsterdam Avenue (near 81st Street), 3rd Floor
Theme: Prose Poems (pdf)

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 924 poems and have read countless others in pursuit of poetry that speaks to them.

Come to St. Agnes on Tuesday, November 1 with a Prose Poem.

Prose poems lack the line breaks traditionally associated with poetry but have the intensity of language, succinctness, images, repetition, rhythm and perhaps even rhyme of poetry. The Japanese combined prose and poetry for the haibun in the seventeenth century. The French symbolist poets created the poetic form in the nineteenth century in reaction to the rigidity of the established form. Prose poetry continued in the early twentieth century most famously by Gertrude Stein and John Dos Passos then returned in the 50s and 60s with Charles Simic, James Wright, Bob Dylan, and others. Baudelaire, concludes in the ecstatic "Be Drunk":

  • And if sometimes, on the steps of a palace or the green grass of a ditch, in the mournful solitude of your room, you wake again, drunkenness already diminishing or gone, ask the wind, the wave, the star, the bird, the clock, everything that is flying, everything that is groaning, everything that is rolling, everything that is singing, everything that is speaking… ask what time it is and wind, wave, star, bird, clock will answer you: “It is time to be drunk! So as not to be the martyred slaves of time, be drunk, be continually drunk! On wine, on poetry or on virtue as you wish.”

"A Supermarket in California," one of Allen Ginsberg's earliest forays into prose poetry, begins by invoking Whitman and Lorca, two poetry experimenters he admires:

  • What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whitman, for I walked down the sidestreets under the trees with a headache self-conscious looking at the full moon.
  • In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went into the neon fruit supermarket, dreaming of your enumerations!
  • What peaches and what penumbras! Whole families shopping at night! Aisles full of husbands! Wives in the avocados, babies in the tomatoes!—and you, García Lorca, what were you doing down by the watermelons?

Much prose, whether from the Bible, William Faulkner, or James Joyce, resonates with poetry. The start of the latter's Finnegans Wake seems to flow full circle, "riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs."

We look forward to seeing the works you select for Prose Poems and to discussing them with you on November 1.

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.

We hope you will blog with us at onepagepoetrycircle.wordpress.com.

Fall Schedule:
November 1, Prose Poems
December 13, Poetry and Endings

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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