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Poems to Point to

Patti points out Wislawa Szymborska‘s A few words on the soul which remarks comically on what an unreliable lag-about the thing is,

It usually steps out
whenever meat needs chopping
or forms have to be filled.

For every thousand conversations
it participates in one,
if even that,
since it prefers silence.

Yay, for humour and self-deprecating sort of observations, all the kinds of others within each of us.

Elsewhere, Joshua Beckman has a new book this year from Wave Books called Take it. The page gives 2 sample poems including this I excerpt further,

[Cracked drags the callous enchantment of thought]

[…]Even the most fascinating, dynamic and
wonderful people and things are, with distressing
regularity (near complete), mishandled and forgotten.
I feel now like I am saying sorry for something when

what I am saying here is[… ]

(Teaser.) Something arms-length about the diction but like the clip it moves along at and he’s going for a truth which is nice to see sometimes.

In the other sample, [I don’t long, I don’t die, I don’t await]

No more great songs of satisfaction,
no more wailing upon the hill to the hillside.
Be kind, for trust is not addition and addition
is not acceptance and acceptance is not humility.
Simply put, we are a failed and ruined people
incapable of even silence.

It’s a bit harsh perhaps. Bluntly put but c’mon let’s move away from the blah-de-blather romanticism is rather a refreshing sentiment to hear.

Lorri Neilsen was the poem of the day at the League of Canadian Poets with Prairie storm,

Bargaining faith for sleep, you see light stir at the window, white

hissing above the crow-knuckled elms, exposing the wet furrows

of the seeded fields cooling after the longest day of the year.

The turning. Air thickening electric, forks bulging with spark. Imagine

What a killer opening phrase. The sounds of the poem sound like rain and enclosed in storm. Crow-knuckled elms, birds as tree knuckles I expect to stay with me. It’s got a nice energy to it.

I came across the chapbook of the top 3 finalists for the The RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers, announced a couple weeks ago. (How odd that gloaming should be used 3 times by 2 of the poets.) Untouched nature poem and poet in were heavy parts of selections from two of the poets. Hm. There is a time and a mood which isn’t me currently. Still, Emily McGiffin has some lovely slowed control of pacing and showed reveals at turns, such as after a long time standing in Wokkpash (p. 2-3)

Dusk. On all sides
mountains.

[…] From the folding summer, night
draws its old breadth,

restless. This shifty light and silence
gnaw at your hands

with that old wish
to have done better. And the dying

asters, the fireweed
blazing seed, the grey and fossil-scarred scree,

it all sould have
tried harder. Maybe

Lovely play on expectation of breath. And the extending self-blame out to the rocks, divesting anger to flowers so it is appropriate hyperbole of how absurd the clenched frustration is. Then the poem veers back to solid ground of poeterly expansive.

Jeff Latosik, however, finds poetry in the everyday urban of Toronto Island, Summer, (an excerpt from page 20) and dares to integrate that which gets cropped out of poetry, the refuse we are often remiss in mentioning.

We were scared to swim because of what was down there.
We were down there.
                         Or, we counted everything that could be dumped
from our vast reservoirs of taste: magazines, subway ads, Hollywood
movies that bobbed like buoys in our conversation.
                                     We listed our favourite natural disasters.
We heard some kids has swum out past the roped-in shallows
so we booked it over, expectations dog-paddling their way
             through reasons against, even hate.

Like the sharper energy and the mix of expected and unexpected. Something is communicated. And thru his turns thru more of the poem, he has opinions rather than just attempting to be neutral observer. Also nice to see in this communicative genre.

Related posts:

  1. A Few Daily Challenge Poems It’s good to exercise the composition muscles. Today’s challenge at Poetic Asides is to title a poem as “All I want is ______”. I added a second constraint for myself...
  2. The Poems I Turn To Anthology The Poem I Turn To: Actors & Directors Present Poetry that Inspires Them is a new title this year by Sourcebooks. It’s edited by Jason Shinder, a poet himself of...
  3. 30 Poems in 30 Days Poewar has a 30 poems in 30 days prompt set [found via Cherry Floyd Miller] Each prompt has a page elaborating, and sample poems from a focus poet and recommended...

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