Poem a day challenge- 1/13/15

Sorry the brief hiatus- a bad flu bug is no joke when 7 months pregnant!  Anyway, back to the poetry!

Poem: “Talking Back to the Mad World” by Sarah C Harwell

Source: Poetry Foundation

Favorite Line/Phrase: “I love/ the tattered/ camisole of/ nothing.”

Response: The past few days have been a blur of fever and sleep.  And then the guilt of not executing all that the days require.  And then I find a poem like this.  A poem of rough and “lazy. garbagey magic.”  Sometimes, the right poem feels like it is written just for us.

Poem a day challenge- 1/8/15

Poem: “The Summoning” by Joshua McKinney

Source: Diode Poetry Journal

Favorite Line/Phrase: “late in the dark I hear my blind ears panting”

Reflection: The lack of punctuation in this poem is unnerving.  Which is wonderful.  In the same way the speaker is summoned by coyotes, I feel summoned by the breathless pull of the enjambment.  And the line breaks feel even more crucial with the lack of formal punctuation.  I am pretty old fashioned when it comes to punctuation, but this felt relevant and powerful.

Poem a day challenge- 1/7/15

Poem: “Silence” by Andrea Cohen

Source: Construction Lit Magazine

Favorite Line/ Phrase: “Not an absence”

Response: This is such a short poem, you have no excuse not to click on it right now.  And I think it asks how much work one image can do.  If you look at this poem, one answer is: a lot.  And it makes me wonder, what silence exists in what I see on a daily basis that I mistake for absence.

Poem a Day Challenge- 1/6/15

Poem: “Dear James Wright,” by Sarah Dravec

Source: Dressing Room Poetry Journal

Favorite Line/Phrase: “James Wright, I want to know how it feels to have someone look at you and love you without any awareness of the monster you really are.”

Response: I don’t really understand prose poetry.  I don’t know how you know, as a poet, that your words and ideas need that vessel, since I am always thinking with line breaks in mind.  But here it works.  It reads so quickly, this telling of a secret.  Yet the clarity and weight of the moment feels more like poetry than prose.  I don’t know that is done.  But I like it.

Poem a day challenge- 1/5/15 (late)

Poem: “Ghosts on the Road” by David Rivard

Source: Poem a Day from poets.org

Favorite line/phrase:  “I think the need/ gets stronger, he said, it/ just gets stronger.”

Response:  This poem tricked me.  It felt too simple at first, too aware of its own intentions.  Then it swerved, and in swerving my heart became involved.  Don’t let my favorite line fool you, in the context of the poem, it packs a real wallop.

Poem a Day Challenge- 1/4/15

Poem: “Northern Corn” by Anders Carlson-Wee

Source: Litragger

Favorite Line/Phrase: “He pours/ rye whiskey from a thermos and sips/ the lidless excess of his private noon.”

Reflection: This summer, Andrew Hudgins talked about how dangerous it is to think you know where a poem needs to go.  This poems feels both completely necessary but also like a revelation.  Like there was no way to foresee the conclusion, but also that no other conclusion could be reached.  I wonder how much it surprised the poet.  It is a good reminder to me how satisfying surprises in poetry can be, how narrative and image can live side by side in a line, both pushing a poem forward.

Poem a Day Challenge- 1/3/15

Poem: “Knot” by Sarah Levine

Source: Green Mountains Review

Favorite Line/Phrase: “I stuffed your hair/ in my jacket pocket.”

Response: What an amazing first two lines.  What an amazing first stanza.  That hooks me.  And reminds me how simple and elegant a great beginning is.  I don’t know if I love the reference to the “heart,” but the poem certainly works hard to earn it.  And it doesn’t end there, thank goodness!

Poem a Day Challenge- 1/2/15

Poem: “Ekdekhesthai” by Emilia Phillips

Source: West Branch

Favorite Line/Phrase: “Sometimes I half/ expect to peel a clementine/ & find nothing inside.”

Response: Worth noting that my high school Ancient Greek failed me here, and I had to look up the title.  It means “to take up” and forms most of our term, synecdoche.  The two things I love most in this poem are the line breaks and the balance between daily, earthily details and profound contemplation.  I will need to read this one quite a few more times.

Poem a Day Challenge- 1/1/15

Poem: “The Dress”

Poet: Mark Strand

Source: Collected Poems: Mark Strand- bought new at Crow Bookstore in Burlington, VT

Favorite Line/phrase: “But if you step out of your dress and move into the shade,/ the mole will find you, and will the owl, and so will the poem,/ and you will fall into another darkness, one you will find/ yourself making and remaking until it is perfect.”

Response: For some reason, this reminds me of my favorite poem, “Hematite Lake,” by James Galvin.  The idea of darkness or nightfall being a home runs through both and calls to me for reasons I can’t quite name.  Maybe that is why we read poems, to have others name what we cannot.