Talking Poetry & 2nd Quarter Favs

Photo by Trust “Tru” Katsande on Unsplash

For me, Poetry is like the weather. It comes in a lightning strike, a fully formed flash, or like a hurricane gathering strength and building as it grows. I can’t decide to write a poem. It decides to allow me to write it. Inspiration sometimes strikes when reading other poets so when I jot down a line or a few words, the poem might emerge, might let me shape it. Usually, though, the poem becomes what the poem wants to be.

I’m sharing today a few poems that I enjoyed and inspired me to take up the poet’s pen again. Enjoy!

All of the poems by Shuly Xóchitl Cawood, Susan O’Dell Underwood, and Marianne Worthington in Appalachian Places is breathtaking. I recommend reading them all but the piece linked below struck a particular chord with me.

“It flew all over me, but I was determined not to make a scene in the Walmart like that time I saw poor old Mr. Moses have a nervous breakdown right there in front of everybody because he couldn’t find the Campbell’s tomato soup. You can’t find anything in the Walmart I swear.”

—- Overheard at the Dollar General by Marianne Worthington in Appalachian Places
“Here’s to the discards & remnants, the unnecessary add-ons:
the screws & washers left over when assembly is complete,
the wheat & sugar dust at the bottom of the bag in a cereal box”

—- The Eleventh Bowling Pin by Ross White in Southeast Review
“how the earth felt in the mouth
of late-September: the dirt
kept breathing in ashen traces of dreams
deferred, and leaves eddied in the silent,
startled, icy, black language of the oak”

—- (Cento) Because the world is… by Stephanie Harper in The Night Heron Barks
“There should be more silence, less applause.
We should be more like Neptune grass. It persists.
Time is like a sandal in a cave: here I was.“

—- Time and Distance by Martha Silano in The Night Heron Barks
“how deadly this breath
of fresh air
so I cover them
with a rag wetted in the ocean”

—- Prawns by Lynne Burnett in Halfway Down the Stairs
“The way the night sometimes weeps and rain suicides itself into the street. Molecules blown apart. Seeps into the drains and the pores of the earth. Becomes vapor. Returns to the air, to our lungs, our blood.”

—- Poor Kid’s Obituary by William R. Soldan in Anti-Heroin Chic
“What is moss if it isn’t
memory? It hangs off these branches,

sways on the breeze like Merton’s
prayers, the closest these trees

will get to needles again. Everything else
here is dead still, waiting for the storm”

—- Ghost Forest by Jack Bedell in Psaltery and Lyre
“The hillsides wait, endlessly treeless
and ready to receive the report,
the echo,
the fallout. The felling.
Only shells remain.”

—- Shotgun Shells and Other Empty Vessels by Christine Barkley in Rust + Moth
“In their hair I smell the desert, and starlight
pathways into the old medina, and when they sing,
it is more beautiful than figs still warm
from the sun, or mint in tea glasses, or even your name.”

—- They Find Me at Night by Torchlight by Megan Gieske in Rust + Moth

Following are three books of poetry I’m currently reading and I’m savoring all three like fine wine. Cheers!

River Ghosts by Merril D. Smith

The Hurting Kind by Ada Limon

The Girl Singer by Marianne Worthington

And do not miss this wonderful craft interview with two of my favorite poets, Shome Dasgupta and Alina Stefanescue.

12 thoughts on “Talking Poetry & 2nd Quarter Favs

  1. I like to respond. Is that my sin or vanity? I have much the same regard for how poems arrive, and who is writing who. Your snippets of poems, wonderful. Thanks. Only thing I missed was learning more detail how the process is for you. Process gets my attention a lot. Me, I’m scattered, especially of late. Physical issues make my focus, my listening less than they might be.

    Although I’ve come to regard form as not much interest at all beyond what it does or does not contribute. An essay or “journal” written with a poetic sensibility works for me. At the risk of being uncouth. My latest effort is only two lines in volume. Do I make it more? Should I care? Maybe I gotta say that much to hear whatever is next? Like usual, I don’t know. regards, N.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Neil, personally I don’t think too much about form. I let the poem unfold organically then, after it feels finished, I go back and work on form a little. I might insert line breaks or space, if it feels right. A two line poem is just fine! I love short forms in poetry and prose. I like compression, making every word count. Too many words and I probably will lose interest. That’s just me. 😊


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