Tuesday, April 21, 2015

poems for April 20

The Mrs. Cavendish Poems: links:
Solitude (I) (or also translated as “Alone”) by Tomas Tranströmer
Strike-Slip by by Arthur Sze

We are midway in "Poetry Month" and the Stephen Dunn persona poems seem the perfect place to start...
What does one learn by writing such poems? And what does one learn in solitude... or just simply by picking up a pen or pencil and starting a poem about a compass, and end up with an ars poetica?

For the Cavendish poems, there is clear delight -- a tenderness in the tone, and the wisdom of the lessons with an acceptance and understanding of Mrs. C. as "wanting it all/to mean something in a world crazed
and splattered with the gook/ of apparent significance, and meaning/
had an affinity for being elsewhere."
Don't we all want meaning? But would we be as courageous as she is, to dance a tarantella with an slick stranger, and wouldn't it be nice if we were to face our loneliness with someone so apparently filled with bravado of the moment, to have a kindly friend warning us-- not in a condescending way, but tenderly, with
compassion...? We had fun looking at the root of "scrupulosity", Latin scrupulum, a sharp stone, implying a stabbing pain on the conscience. Judith brought up the popularity of writing a novel through a sequence of poems in Victorian times... Emily reminded us of the book "Crossover" which is a modern version. Mrs. Cavendish could well be Jimmy Durante bidding "Goodnight Mrs. Calabash".

The title, Mrs. Cavendish and the General Malaise, personifies Malaise as army chief -- and indeed... one picks up the pun of having an army of things contributing to a feeling of Malaise. Again, staring meaninglessness in the eye, the tongue-in-cheek attitude, is welcome: "The best we can hope for
is a big, fat novel, slowing down the course of time." Scrupulosity re-appears, and there is a comfort of facing death, not alone at all, but with the voice of Stephen Dunn who invites us to join him in "resisting" those "who think suffering leads to enlightenment". The little history of light, implying our human need for both physical and metaphysical light, our interference with desire to turn natural moonlight into the more modern lightbulb, leads beautifully to the paradox of the "same old" being new without such insistent effort.

The difficulty of being "alone" receives a different lens with Tranströmer's "Solitude I" which is a retelling of an earlier poem published in 1966 as "Alone". I did some research after our discussion to try to find out more about the original, and why the disparity of translation between the Robin Fulton translation and the Robin Robertson version we discussed, which we found so much more satisfying. Apparently, Tranströmer often reworked the same material, and I enjoy this comment he makes: "Oh dear, how complicated I was in my younger days". After his stroke in 1990, he wrote very little that is new. It is hard to know who is behind each translation one finds -- Robert Bly, May Swenson also have worked with his poems. How much credit do we give the original author, or the translator, and what do we really know about who is responsible for which words? Perhaps we can never know. Suffice it to say, "Alone", is a poem in two parts, whereas I cannot find a part II of Solitude, and what we have in the Robertson translation
feels complete and satisfying. The poem certainly brought back memories of driving in winter and untoward spinnings on black ice...

The next poem, even with Arthur Sze's comment was difficult. The title could be referring to the geological term of a Strike-Slip fault. Although there is a little pattern — each stanza contains 3 disparate things— a little like the word in French for fruit salad (macédoine de fruits — as the area of former Yugoslavia has always been chopped up into little pieces…)but the overall effect for a reader may well be to wonder how to understand what seems to be a very private collection of random information…
As meaning-seekers, seeing the depth of deep water to highest mountain…what is at risk comes to mind…
The next poem by James Dickey also addresses possible extinction… The Wolverine is a very ferocious animal — and possibly this poem triggered a discussion about “wildness” and our American approach which wants to control, e.g. Free play in non-man-made environments for kids; facing natural order, etc. There is a mythic quality to this poem — like Götterdamerung... world tree and eagle at the top…
The Form is 1, 2, 4 lines; it’s good to observe spacing...
capitals on each line…

Lively discussion and certainly, all of us look forward to the appearance of Stephen Dunn's new book!

poems for April 16

Enough by Katie Peterson (see discussion April 6)
Love (III) by George Herbert, 1593 – 1633 (see discussion April 6)
A Coat by W.B. Yeats
Do not go Gentle into that Good Night – Dylan Thomas
Forgetfulness – Billy Collins

There were only two participants with me today. It didn't help the flow of discussion to have two young men come in midway looking for a poetry workshop advertised on Craig's list, with their preoccupations of wanting to print their poems, put money in the parking meter... etc.

On we go... 5 poems, 3 of which are formal. My hope was that the form would engage the ear and interest. But aside from the two young men, I can understand how preoccupations at work, which require leaving early, or a busy mind, take precedence over even a richly sonic villanelle. Sometimes it doesn't matter how masterful a poet sets out words about his father's dying. This is not a negative judgement. Poetry is demanding, and discussion of it is as subjective as the people and circumstances. My hope is that the Herbert, Yeats and Thomas will be there to be remembered as needed. Some days we can articulate what words mean to us, some days we perhaps too much interferes. It was good to have a fun laugh at the end with Billy Collins-- maybe it is Alzheimers writing a love poem.

A few notes on the other poems:
Enough, which can rhyme with huff, or be a puff of gratitude opens in "forget-me-nots" and stars, that oppose the idea of "plenitude" with "scattering" in subtle contradiction. I, arrives in the third stanza, to ruminate on the complexity of the "they" introduced in the second stanza. The fundamental steadfast loyalty of a child to parents, seems to lead to an older adult child, who at the end who no longer has wishes for the parents, but simply, a recognition that there are blessings all of us would be better off remembering. **

The next two poems didn't seem to provoke much discussion -- simply a summary of
The Herbert as recounting love as experience and the Yeats as an 8-line tribute to internal authorship.
The patterns in both are worthy of note:
Yeats' poem with its embraced, or envelope rhyme in the first 4 lines (coat/throat)addressing the poet's song moves to a repeated 3-line rhyme which allow the 3 "it" of "song" embracing the world, to the slant rhyme "naked".
A BB A / the "ease" of embroideries/mythologies, opens to "I" of eyes/enterprise
The subtle craft of this reinforces a sense of the poet's role to himself and in the world.

Enough: Contrast with discussion April 6: different group of almost 20 people.
Such careful layering of a "they", onto which the reader seems to eavesdrop, creates a theatre in which the poem seems to promise a logical script, and yet the sense of disconnection as he and she look at the "dark woods", he with protractor and she with skeleton, mirror back to us to look at our own perishable pursuits.
This is a poem worth reviewing... our discussion left a desire to listen again, knowing more waits to be discovered.

Love, by George Herbert, known for his "shape poems" such as "Easter Wings", seemed to answer the questing speakers of the first poem. Love invites us as guest... and we can recognize how hard we resist the invitation to sit down and eat...

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

April 13

1) I am in Need of Music — Elizabeth Bishop
2) #64 — Lawrence Ferlinghetti
3) Visions at 74 — Frank Bidart
*4) I am in Need of Questions -- by Naomi Shihab Nye (
Her note: “We all find outselves involved in projects of activities that confound us — when or why did I say I would do this? What was I thinking… I needed a poem for myself that said, “pause longer. Think again.”
5) Head Handed by Brenda Shaughnessy
6) Mrs. Cavendish…. Stephen Dunn

So just what are we in need of? Bishop will remind you, in case you forgot, of the pleasure, the lush, sensuous comfort of melifluous sounds -- labials, sibilants, fffffff, tttttt, the alliterations accumulating in the line "There is a magic made by melody" where the rhyme scheme changes from the embraced envelope of abba// acca/ to def def. From the speaker of the poem, the reader also sees the beneficial power of the music... whether or not a conscious need, indeed, allows us to view the person in need of such soothing perhaps differently.

I just love the loping, playful way Ferlinghetti weaves words for the eye, while painting a picture of whatever it is he's seeing. The lines stagger down, each one leading to yet another surprise...
wait, where did "some still in togas" come from -- and we feel as if the stage is set 2000 years ago, only to jump to a now of a carnaval with some gypsy lady telling fortunes... and her fingers full of
the thin rings of
her former lives
each one of them enough
to enlighten them
as to what love or life might be

But the key is that Ferlinghetti is giving us eyes to see, not judge... so with this set up, how do we land on these lines? And her lips
almost at their ears
in which they hear only
the very distant roaring
of their own futures.
Note, this is from A Far Rockaway of the Heart. (1998)... cf w/ Coney Island of the Mind....

As Martin remarked, "that which can enlighten us we ignore: the poem shows two halves of our lives, invites us for when we will be ready to hear...

The discussion on the Bidart poem was divided. Some were troubled by the "dot" that separated the two halves, as if two separate poems. The clever use of line break: the opening:
The planet turns there without you, beautiful-- where beautiful could be planet or a "you"
and then towards the end:
you think, as you watch it turn there, beautiful.-- again, planet, or the person observing it...
I love a poem like this, working a dream-like thought, the abrupt sound of "it’s", the portent of the knock of what we know will happen.. and yet, the poem does not convey a fear of dying. What "Weird joy" do you experience? For me a line which really gripped was
"something crowded
inside us always craving to become something
glistening outside us"
rather like the poem "Enough" we discussed last week. What IS that for each of us?
And what does the speaker of the poem mean to say: "To love existence
is to love what is indifferent to you"
but certainly the poem offers us much to think about what we feel on the inside, perceive, ponder about the outside.

Naomi Shihab Nye's poem gave a good discussion as well:
Who is the I... one imagined riding in the car... two people on a journey.
Why the title and What questions are needed? It is not a poem that addresses an urgent need-- but the title perhaps has something to say about questions. What do we ask, perhaps should be only asked after thinking what it is we would want to ask, or take time to think the other might want us to ask. And yet, this is not a poem urgently telling us something...but rather showing the speaker trying to convince herself to slow down. pause. think...

On the American Poets website, they quoted today Naomi Shihab Nye:
“When you live in a rapidly moving swirl, you can only view your surroundings with a glance. Poetry requires us to slow down, to take time to pause.” – Naomi Shihab Nye

Amen. And this is a poem that accomplishes that!

For the Shaughnessy poem, I was delighted to see that this was one where she was proud of sneaking in "jimmies". Question: What word are you proud of sneaking into a poem? What word would you never put in a poem?
Shaughnessy: I’m equally delighted to have gotten the German word Nachtraglichtkeit in a poem (it’s a Freudian term which means “second act” and refers to a kind of reliving of trauma) and the word “jimmies” as a funnier substitute for “sprinkles.”

The poem takes clichés and runs in surprising directions. A fun run... but an embarrassment
of glitches doesn't go to much further than that.

The final poem was such a pleasure, we'll look at more of this persona Stephen Dunn has created next week.
-- She’s smart...
What do we find out about Stephen Dunn... or rationale and reasons, and project into a
older wiser lady with him.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

poems for April 9

4 Ramages by Robert Bly (Excerpt from Turkish Pears) (See April 6 for The Slim Fir Seeds)
Nothing Gold Can Stay -- by Robert Frost
The Gift Outright by Robert Frost
The Birthday of the World by Marge Piercy (also discussed 4/6)
From Endymion -- by John Keats (Book I)
Spring Journey -- by Doris M. W. Meadows

When I see the French, "ramage" I of La Fontaine and his crow holding the cheese, with the fox taunting him to trill his "ramage" which certainly must be as beautiful as his feather. The role of sound in poetry adds a layer to the total meaning, just as the disposition of words on a page, which give the eye a clue as to what the silent arrangement will sing.
What I like about Bly's short pieces, are the possible references culled from so many poets...For example, last week, We just read Robert Frost's "Oven Bird" -- so if that "oven bird" flies into Bly's "Slim Fir Seeds" (eerie, the vowels say with i/i/ee... threaded through ..ds)Frost's sense of a diminished thing, and Bly's salty, impermanent kingdoms can dialogue.
In "Loving the Old Ones" and "I have Daughters, I have Sons", you can match the actual names to what they write about.
I don't know Jacob Boehme (1574), but do love Yeats' poem, "A Coat" referred to in the final stanza.
Our life is made of struts of these people who have contributed to the canon, the recording of them... and do love the image of paper as airplanes, the early ones needing a guiding hand to hold up the wing tips!

For the two Frost poems, one in steady rhyme, which appears after the poem morning his friend killed in World War I, the other, the unrhymed but rhetoric-filled poem Frost recited from memory at JFK's inauguration when he was unable to see his poem, "Dedication" to read aloud. "The gift" indeed, is the better poem for such an occasion, addressing the inner power that lies as potential in our land, such as she "would become" -- the conditional with a sense of balancing knowledge and mystery.

Endymion is a gorgeous Greek youth which makes me think that poetry is hungry for mythic creatures to be able to talk about such grand topics as beauty and truth in in both mysterious yet convincing ways.

Spring Journey is a delightful haiku-like poem which Doris kindly read for us. The grey, silver, black are like a brush painting.

poems for April 6

Enough by Katie Peterson
Love (III) by George Herbert, 1593 – 1633
The Birthday of the World by Marge Piercy (also discussed 4/9)
Trois Morceaux en Forme de Poire by Brenda Hillman
(Titled after Satie)
1st Ramage from "Turkish Pears" by Robert Bly (also discussed 4/9 with other "ramages")
For a Coming Extinction by W. S. Merwin

The first poem has a wonderful title! The sound of "enough" can be huffed, sighed, adopt many tones ranging from a sense of completion and gratitude, to the opposite of wanting and seeking. The plenitude available, if we choose to see it, is represented not just by any old flower, but the particular one of
"forget-me-not" whose appearance is compared with the abundance of stars. Such careful layering of a "they", onto which the reader seems to eavesdrop, creates a theatre in which the poem seems to promise a logical script, and yet the sense of disconnection as he and she look at the "dark woods", he with protractor and she with skeleton, mirror back to us to look at our own perishable pursuits.
This is a poem worth reviewing... our discussion left a desire to listen again, knowing more waits to be discovered.

Love, by George Herbert, known for his "shape poems" such as "Easter Wings", seemed to answer the questing speakers of the first poem. Love invites us as guest... and we can recognize how hard we resist the invitation to sit down and eat...

My question about the Piercy poem was whether it could work as prose as well as in the columned look of a poem. Reading syntactically, the shorter sentences appear, and also there is a sense of acceleration towards the end with terrific end words: rhetoric / slithering (enjambed to choking pythons)
the suspense of "here" ... gates/dazzling/weapons/sparks... the energy of words candled into celebration.

The Brenda Hillman poem reminded us of Satie, since we wrote it, thinking of him -- there's a bit of Robert Bly's Turkish Pears in August about it too... the readiness is all / the ripeness is all...
(Shakespeare) – pre-pear-ed... human experience recognizable, or is it as tear can be pronounced to rhyme with pear, which is quite a different "rip" than tear, which rhymes with shear which has nothing to do with the oblate form of a teardrop.
Things in threes, metaphors, personification, the old women who cannot ripen, like the Greek fates or Norse Norns and yet, in the same breath, they are young and in braille -- blind seers/ new world-- the intrigue of the poem is not about deciphering meaning, but tasting the divergence of understanding something that has been called 3 pieces in the shape of pear-- with a French connection which perhaps has nothing to do with the pear-shaped King, but only the Greek-titled "Gynopédies" by the French composer. It's worth a look at wiki to find out this 1888 music was breaking with tradition, and creating dissonances that would have challenged late 19th century ears. Perhaps inspired by a poem by Contamine de la Tour which mentions the gymnopaedia.

Slanting and shadow-cutting a bursting stream
Trickled in gusts of gold on the shiny flagstone
Where the amber atoms in the fire gleaming
Mingled their sarabande with the gymnopaedia

It's wonderful to travel through associations, but also important to return to what is actually on the page. The intertwining of 3 pears, only the middle of which is a conversation; the presence of change, unchanging perhaps in the tension of implied ripening in the first piece, the certitude there is no ripening in the last. It is a poem that calls forth senses, union, blushes, something so delicious, just out of reach, indescribable.

Bly's Ramage, with the long explanation about flute trills and vowels seeking consonants and this union producing nouns seems wordy and although can point the reader into a greater appreciation for the sonic color of "im" of slim, nimble, simplicity, imperishable, impermanent (twice) as opposed to the short "i"
sound in dignity, ish, engine, hermit, kingdom and the other vowel sounds "ee" and "er" short and long "o"
an exercise in delight... One comment was, "great word music... too bad he works so hard to explain it...
compare with George Herbert..."

The final Merwin poem brought up the issue of the different voices of a poet. I'm not sure when "For a Coming Extinction" was written, but it has the feel of a Vietnam War protest, and a much younger Merwin, although there are still the "suspended" sentences with no guide from punctuation.
I sent out this link:
"For a Coming Extinction" follows the series of war poems in The Lice and ties their despair to Merwin's more metaphysical speculations on the void.

Friday, April 3, 2015

April 2

April Fool’s Day (a poem) (April Fool's Day - 1900)
He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven by W. B. Yeats
The Oven Bird by Robert Frost
The Carolina Wren by Laura Donnelly
The Way Down by Philip Levine
Old Widow in Spring by Martha Treichler
An Equalizer by Robert Frost

April -- poetry month -- and hang-overs in April Fool's as the New Year, celebrated as the octave of the feast of the Annunciation. For fun, this collection of poems is from older poets transitioning from 19th to 20th century. It is fun to look at formal patterns, how rhyme, meter, stanza lay-out work with the syntax of conversational speech. I hadn't thought of the prank of sewing up a shirt or pant sleeve... the worst prank people remembered was cellophane on the toilet seat... But to get on to the poems.

Robert Bly says, a poem should have images, ideas and a troubled speaker, but recognizes as well that there is a "being that cries out" as consonants cling to vowels.
Yeats' 8 line stanza weaves repeated rich end-rhymes two of which (cloths and dreams) create triplets (2 end rhymes, repeating the word in the two lines that begin with "I"). This contrasts nicely with the set up of the conditional "Had I... I would"; and actual "But I... I have". Note, He also supplies an overlay of repeated vowel sounds:
(the "aw" of cloth (repeated 3 times), enwrought, softly)
(ee: feet, being, dreams (repeated 3 times) because)
(heaven/spread/tread (repeated twice);

Noting such sonic textures, the wishes pile up in 5 lines to the colon, the reality, spread out in the final 3 lines with a triumvirate of dreams where the "other" person enters into the poem. I remember my Grandfather's advice to my parents when they married, "Tread softly on each other's dreams", which seems lifted right out of this poem. Doris was reminded of Roosevelt, "tread softly, but carry a big stick".
As for wishes, Constance reminded us "if wishes were horses, beggars would ride" -- although this poem is deeper and more complex than that, with the idea of dreams being precious, perhaps our only genuine treasure we offer to another. How then, could we not receive them gently?

The small New England warbler, the Oven Bird sings "teacher-teacher-teacher", which perhaps lies underneath Frost's sonnet. The first two lines of the beginning and lines after the volta
clap with rich end rhyme: heard/bird; Fall/all whereas before the other lines alternate rhyme.(bcbdcd)
The final four lines alternate (sing/thing) with a variation on the opening : "bird" repeats in the plural to "birds"; "heard" becomes "words". The rhythm settles easily into iambic pentameter except for the 2nd and final line.
Repetitions such as mid-summer (twice), mid-wood contrast with petal-fall; other fall, fall. (This also appears in After Apple Picking).
The volta at the 8th line does not "turn" but rather the pauses with a semi-colon, to continue
(overcast then shadows "fall").

Contrasting the use of birds, Donnelly's Carolina Wren is a shy bird and can be hard to see, but it delivers an amazing number of decibels for its size. Follow its teakettle-teakettle! and other piercing
exclamations. Here, the form seems regular to the eye, but we picked out the enjambments, where the suspension heightened a sense of possibility; trampoline looping (a memory) attaches to the wren's invisible looping marries a sense of sight/sound, past/present, pinned/yet spinning in the sound.
Mixed reactions -- although we agreed the feeling was peaceful, meditative.

Philip Levine's poem in two stanzas, ends the first with "Goodbye -- a word he is fond of. But here, the speaker of the poem in on the way down... we are not told where, but there is a sense of loss. Perhaps because this 1971 poem was published in Poetry to commemorate Levine's passing in February, our reading included reference to death/resurrection. In the second stanza, the air speaks; everything comes alive -- the frozen dirt, and tears and snowdrop combine, prayer from his breath and the wind "answers in the coat"
as the seeds bow to the earth, hold on. as everything speaks.

Local poet, Martha Tredichler captures the spoken word in the first 3 stanzas; the I appears in the final two stanzas, and "you" is open to embrace perhaps the spouse, perhaps someone else, but certainly the reader.

We ran out of time to discuss Frost's "Equalizer". Also an 8 line heavy-handedly end-rhymed
stanza, but it feels flippant compared to the Yeats.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

poems for March 30

(Winner: Seamus Heaney’s Sonnet # 3 from Clearances
“When All the Others Were Away at Mass”
A person protests to fate by Jane Hirschfield
Dreaming in Swedish – by Philip Levine

Wipe that Smile Off Your Aphasia, Harryette Mullin
Basketball Rule #5 by Kwame Alexander
Go So You Can Come Back by Jared Harel
Night Dirge -- David Michael Nixon

Although we discussed the first three poems at Rundel, this session of Open confirmed both the "multiverse" of possibilities of understanding depending on individual readers, as well as the subjectivity within each that allows one response to a poem one day, which may well yield a quite different reading and response another.
To me, that is the sign of a good poem. Similarly, what we choose when it comes to a poem and how it reflects the need for the “how” we arrive at the choice seems to shift.

For the Heaney, the Monday group remarked the contrasts between the cutting sound of cold comfort and the intimate scene at home peeling, where the meditative work wraps them, leading to "pleasant" and "gleaming"; the coming together of tools, the "fluent" dipping knives. David, our Robert Frost expert, reminded us that Heaney was a great admirer of Frost, and the repeated "Fall" in the first stanza reminded him of "After Apple Picking" and addressing mortality.
The richness of the poem increased with each comment, which is another sign of a good poem.

In the Hirshfield, our reading focussed on the "middle" where it seemed not so much a riddle, but rather a struggle of getting two pieces together and quite a few comments about the idea of "wake" as enlightenment and finding a source of strength.Kathy helpfully reminded us of the 3 main tenets of Buddhism: everything’s connected, everything changes, pay attention!
Perhaps a metapoetic poem, perhaps a slight reference to a story of Thich Nhat Hanh who fell in love and remained true to his vows as monk.

Dreaming in Swedish provoked also a different discussion. The group focussed on
"He must be the mailman." as the pivot sentence. We spent a long time discussing the role of mailman--
the role of delivery no matter the weather... The personal note in the penultimate stanza, "What does this seashore near Malmo/have to do with us, makes us think beyond dream to relationship and what it is to communicate to those we love -- how our responses to loved ones are so often inadequate.

The "new" poems:
The provocative title of Mullen's poem distressed some, delighted others and allowed many different readings. Imagine life without simile... don’t hide behind the smile... By using "as" in multiple ways, none of which feel usual, the reader can approximate the feeling of being aphasic -- but also, explore contexts in which indeed. David gave some examples: "I'm as onion as I can be, peeling off my layers" or Today, I'm as grassfire as myself, ready to flare. Maura picked up the way you can also read the poem focussing on the second "as" of each fragment, which picks up on things that matter for a human being: we go, fear, expect, get, know, imagine, hope, promise...(or not) and see this mirrored back to us. It makes you think about language and reminded some of E.E. Cummings... the multiple ways we make sense of nonsensical phrases. Whether annoying or humorous, perhaps that is also a statement about response to originality --
as one of my artist friends states, "a normal person is someone you don’t know very well.
a wierdo is someone who has different hang-ups than you."

Joyce had drawn my attention to a wonderful book called "The Crossover" by Kwame Alexander which tells a story in poetry of twin basketball-playing brothers, a pro-basketball father, and clues as to why he quit. The characters of the mother, the boys, the father leap out of the pages. I shared the beginning lines of the poem about an anti-climatic victory supper, and asked people to imagine the middle up to the last two lines where the teen says
"I understand more than she think I do.
But is hummus the answer?"
Now, this is a boy who can use the word "obdurate" but hides it from his friends, to be cool. The poem sets up the actuality of a teen's present moment with background of the pretenses that hide the truth about the health of the grandfather and father, laced with the mother's way of addressing fear. A very humane and touching story.

Interspersed in the sections are rules, and so I shared Basketball Rule #5 (below)"
you stop
your game
you’ve already

On March 2, I had sent an email out, spilling the contents of the Jan-Feb 2015 issue of the American Poetry Review. There were also 3 poems by Jared Harel.
Why did I pass over them in the list below? I ask myself. And, what prompted me to accentuate the pell-mell mix of ridiculous things in the poem "Go instead of guiding people to appreciate how he creates a poem about loving...
I also read aloud: "upon hearing that someone has forgotten their laptop, iphone, watch, dog leash and sneakers at airport security" -- depending on your mood, the recognizable landscape of daily objects and airport security, will tickle your fancy, or not. Yesterday I heard a wonderful story of a metal tree with jeweled leaves that made it across the US/Canada border, but was stopped in the security belt at the Toronto airport -- and a mini-art appreciation show ensued.
A poem should begin in delight and end in wisdom... but what does that mean to each person?

Go so you can come back,
says my wife, meaning go but don't linger
in frozen foods, or forget
where you parked, or chat up the cashier.
but the poem then proceeds with the second sentence... 24 lines long, and which ends with a clobbering
"no place like home" to come back to.
Depending on your mood, you will like or be annoyed by the different meanings and use of love:
and go because I love you, though I also love
those parmesan pop chips,
and to love is to leave
room for longing, ...

I am always grateful for the chance to share our variable moods, how we pin our life's experiences to share insights into how we understand. Today's session was filled with poems, starting with reading a poem about April Fool's day published in 1900, and a variety of poems, pulling heart out of words in myriad ways.

Beth Bachman: series of poems which seem more like fragments called “Wall”. No punctuation.

Alex Dimitrov: The Hall of Mirrors p. 8

Article about “Vital Books from 2014” by Arielle Greenberg.
Claudia Rankine: Citizen: an American Lyric (“documents the commonplace racist encounters so deeply embedded in American Life” – it is our duty as writers to “hack away”—keep slicing at that which seeks to entrap us.)
two other politically charged books:
Jan Clausen: Veiled Spill: a sequence
Emily Abendroth: Exclosures
Katie Ford: Blood Lyrics (praise the human, gutted, rising)
Lauren Ireland: The Arrow (stylish, melancholy, fragmented)
Hoa Hguyen: Red Juice (collected, 1998-2008; informal, domestic, irreverent, sloppy/precise; warm/brusque; historically impermissible stuff)
CA Conrad: Ecodeviance: (Soma)tics for the Future Wilderness
Rachel Zucker: The Pedestrians (low effect prose poems)
Olena Kalytiak Davis: The Poem She Didn’t Write and other poems (unstable self at the heart of it)
local BOA press: John Gallaher’s In a Landscape (71 chatty, contemplative poems in 3-stanza long lined procedural form , written over several years while listening to John Cage’s piano composition of the same name and reading Cage’s SILENCE.
etc. p. 11

13 poems by John Skoyles: (teaches at Emerson College and poetry Editor of Ploughshares).
Jenny Browne: Welcome to Freetown