Friday, November 30, 2012

Fledglings from the Nest


Dust is the only Secret—
Death, the only One
You cannot find out all about
In his "native town."

Nobody know "his Father"—
Never was a Boy—
Hadn't any playmates,
Or "Early history"—

Industrious! Laconic!
Punctual! Sedate!
Bold as a Brigand!
Stiller than a Fleet!

Builds, like a Bird, too!
Christ robs the Nest—
Robin after Robin
Smuggled to Rest! 

I chose this poem for its message and because of the metaphor inside.  The poem is very short and yet it talks about the ever mysterious topic of death.  I like that it talks about death with an air of mystery and adventure. We see this in the first stanza: "Until we are "In his 'native town.'" we cannot know what death is. I personally enjoy reading poems with dark and mysterious themes, because they leave quite a bit of blank area for us readers to fill in with our own images and descriptions. 

The other reason that this poem popped out at me was the metaphor of humans being portrayed as birds.  The poem mentions God "his Father" and compares him to a bird in the way that he builds his world, the Earth, just like a bird builds its nest.  Then the poem goes back to its theme of death and portrays us humans as the fledglings in the nest, helplessly plucked agains our will as we die. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Kathleen Hoover and poetry

Online recording software >>

Before this, I did not realize how much my mother liked poetry. I knew she had read a few poems to me when I was younger, but I didn't think much of it. Now I realize that she's enjoyed poetry since she was young. I find it interesting that my mother chose the poem that she did, it sort of has a dark twist at the end. According to her, she likes the poem because it shows how people may have everything going for them, and still be miserable. So you never know how people may actually feel.

Rob Stephens... Does poetry matter?

NOTE: This took an interesting turn... possibly an answer that most people want to hear.

What is so special about poetry?
I think its a relative terms. Its one of those things that is nice to have, but it isn't necessary per say. 

Why do you think people value it so much then?
It's an art form. Not everyone can do it. People tend to look up to those who can do amazing things and there are people who can better craft words.

What does it convey to people?
Poetry is written in an ambiguous fashion. People can read the same thing and all get different meanings out of it. 

Favorite poem?
The Cremation of Sam McGee by Robert Service. It's a child's poem. It is a poem that doesn't convey a deeper meaning. It is a story written in prose. It is simplistic and I like it.

No significance. It is just a story... It is about these people who live in Alaska. It is about Sam McGee... who is from Tennessee  Who dies. His friend finds him and sets him a blaze to 'respect him'. Sam wakes up and is thankful for the heat. Again no real meaning, it is just a story.

Ms. Boesch's Poetry Interview

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I interviewed Ms. Boesch and asked her the following questions:

What IS poetry?

Do you think poetry is important?

What does poetry mean to you?

What do you think of poetry and why?

Do you have a favorite poem and why?

Why does poetry matter?

Her favorite poem is:

                         "Smart" by Shel Silverstein 

      My dad gave me one dollar bill
      'Cause I'm his smartest son,
      And I swapped it for two shiny quarters
      'Cause two is more than one!
      And then I took the quarters
      And traded them to Lou
      For three times -- I guess he don't know
      That three is more than two!

      Just then, along came old blind Bates
      And just 'cause he can't see
      He gave me four nickles for my three dimes,
      And four is more than three!

      And I took the nickels to Hiram Coombs
      Down at the seed-feed store,
      And the fool gave me five pennies for them,
      And five is more than four!

      And then I went and showed my dad,
      And he got red in the cheeks
      And closed his eyes and shook his head--
      Too proud of me to speak!

Mom's Poetry Reflections

The Sin of Omission

by Margaret Sangster

    It isn't the thing you do dear,
    It's the thing you leave undone
    That gives you a bit of a heartache
    At setting of the sun.

    The tender word forgotten,
    The letter you did not write,
    The flowers you did not send, dear,
    Are your haunting ghosts at night.

    The stone you might have lifted
    Out of a brother's way;
    The bit of heartsome counsel
    You were hurried too much to say;

    The loving touch of the hand, dear,
    The gentle, winning tone
    Which you had no time nor thought for
    With troubles of your own.

    Those little acts of kindness
    So easily out of mind,
    Those chances to be angels
    Which we poor mortals find-

    They come in night and silence,
    Each sad, reproachful wraith,
    When hope is faint and flagging,
    And a chill has fallen on faith.

    For life is all to short, dear,
    And sorrow is all too great,
    To suffer our slow compassion
    That tarries until too late;

    And it isn't the thing you do, dear,
    It's the thing you leave undone
    Which gives you heartache
    At the setting of the sun.

Why This Poem?

     She likes this poem because it reminds her not to procrastinate acts of kindness.

Why Does Poetry Matter?

     Poetry matters because it's an art form for words. The words of poems help to awaken your senses to experience what the poet is describing. She likes the challenge of analyzing a poem.
                 "Poems move the soul." -Kathy Kramer

History with Poetry...

     My mom doesn't read much poetry. She remembers writing poems when she was young because she wanted to be a journalist at a young age.

Harris Lummis "Why Poetry Matters"

Harris Lummis's response to the question 'Why Poetry Matters'.

Response: I’m not much of a poetry guy but I definitely enjoy a bumpin’ tune every now and again. When I’m jamming out, I’m usually in it more for the rhythm of the words than the words themselves, but every now and again there’s that one lyric that really gets to me—gives  me chills or digs up some strong feelings. It’s that line that I look for in all my music, the one I can hear over and over again and still get that rush from. The mood created by the instruments and the voice of the singer is just as important though, because I’ve never gotten those same chills and feelings from poetry.

Harris's Favorite Poem: The Wasteland - T.S. Eliot
I’m all about the second stanza of this one:

“What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.”  

The Wasteland is way long, but this is definitely the standout section of it, at least for me. The imagery really lends to the idea of the desert: death, heat, bareness. The last line there is pretty great too, but I can’t say for sure why I like it.

7 Poetry Quotes

1. "Poetry is an echo, asking shadows to dance." -Carl Sandburg
     Echo stimulates closed mind (shadow) to flourish (dance)
2. "How do poems grow? They grow out of your life." -Robert Penn Warren
3. "Poetry is the journal of a sea animal living on land, wanting to fly in the air." -Carl Sandburg
4. "Poetry is an orphan of silence. The words never quite equal the experience behind them." -Charles Simic
5. "Poetry is the universal language which the heart holds with nature and itself." -William Hazlitt
6. "You campaign in poetry. You govern in prose." -Mario Cuomo
7. "Poetry is just the evidence of life. If you life is burning well, poetry is just the ash." -Leonard Cohen

7 Quotes on Poetry

7 Quotes on Poetry
makes nothing happen.
It survives
in the valley of its saying.
  Maxine Kumin

Poetry, like the moon, does not advertise anything. 
  William Blissett

You can't write poetry on the computer. 
  Quentin Tarantino

I gave up on new poetry myself thirty years ago, when most of it began to read like coded messages passing between lonely aliens on a hostile world. - Russell Barker

Poetry is thoughts that breathe, and words that burn.  ~Thomas Gray

Poetry is what gets lost in translation.  ~Robert Frost

Poetry is plucking at the heartstrings, and making music with them. 
  Dennis Gabor     

Poetry Quotes

Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history.
            - Plato
Poetry must be as new as foam and as old as the rock.
            - Ralph Waldo Emerson
With me poetry has not been a purpose, but a passion.
            - Edgar Allen Poe
A poem begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness. It finds the thought and the thought finds the words.
            - Robert Frost
Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen
            - Leonardo Da Vinci
Poetry is plucking at the heartstrings, and making music with them.
            - Dennis Gabor
Poetry is a mirror which makes beautiful that which is distorted
            - Percy Shelley

Thoughts on Poetry by Carol Gasper

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Poetry Quotes

Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood- T.S. Eliot

Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance- Carl Sandburg

Poetry is the opening and closing of a door, leaving those who look through to guess about what is seen during the moment.- Carl Sandburg

The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth. - Jean Cocteau

Breathe-in experience, breathe-out poetry. - Muriel Rukeyser

To read a poem is to hear it with our eyes; to hear it is to see it with our ears. - Octavio Paz

Poets are soldiers that liberate words from the steadfast possession of definition.- Eli Khamarov

The Assignment: Poetry Interview

Interview someone you know about their relationship with poetry: a parent, an older relative, a teacher (no English teachers).

The first question: What's your favorite poem?

Follow up questions: Do you know any poems by heart? How often do you read poetry? What poems do you remember from school or growing up?

Record their responses via notes or if they're not shy... video them with your phone (let them know they will be posted to this blog).

Take note of their attitude toward poetry. What did you find interesting? What did you learn about this person?

Extra credit: Record them reading their favorite poem.

(Youtube immortality and posterity can be a powerful motivator.)


A rapper is about being completely true to yourself. Will Smith 

Read more at 

I mean I write poems in these songs dedicated to you when
You're in the mood for empathy, there's blood in my pen
The tastes of country music fans are not limited to the narrow range defined by consultants and programmers and record company moguls. 
Charley Pride 

I came into music because I thought the presentation of poetry wasn't vibrant enough. So I merged improvised poetry with basic rock chords.
Patti Smith 

Read more at 

“Trees are poems the earth writes upon the sky, We fell them down and turn them into paper,
That we may record our emptiness.” 
― Kahlil Gibran

Quotes about Poetry

Poetry is all that is worth remembering in life. 
Percy Bysshe Shelley 

William Hazlitt 

Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world. 

Poetry is not only dream and vision; it is the skeleton architecture of our lives. It lays the foundations for a future of change, a bridge across our fears of what has never been before 
Audre Lorde

I write poetry in order to live more fully
Judith Rodriguez

The crown of literature is poetry. It is its end and aim. It is the sublimest activity of the human mind. It is the achievement of beauty and delicacy. The writer of prose can only step aside when the poet passes
W. Somerset Maugham

Every single soul is a poem. 
Michael Franti

Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful
Rita Dove

God is the perfect poet.  ~Robert Browning

Poetry... What is it good for?

To have great poets there must be great audiences too.
Walt Whitman

Poetry is not an expression of the party line.  It's that time of night, lying in bed, thinking what you really think, making the private world public, that's what the poet does. 
Allen Ginsberg

Writing free verse is like playing tennis with the net down.
 Robert Frost

We don't read and write poetry because it's cute.  We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race.  And the human race is filled with passion.  And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life.  But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.  
Dead Poet's Society

Poetry comes nearer to vital truth than history.

All good poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.
William Wordsworth

Poetry lifts the veil from the hidden beauty of the world, and makes familiar objects be as if they were not familiar.
 Percy Bysshe Shelley

Seven Thoughts on Poetry

1."A poem should not mean but be." - Archibald MacLeish

2."Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words." - Robert Frost

3."Everywhere I go I find that a poet has been there before me." - Sigmund Freud

4."Poetry is an orphan of silence. The words never quite equal the experience behind them." - Charles Simic

5. "Poetry lifts the veil from the hidden beauty of the world, and makes familiar objects be as if they were not familiar." - Percy Shelley

6."Poetry is more philosophical and of higher value than history; for poetry tends to express the universal, history the particular." - Aristotle

7."Poets utter great and wise things which they do not themselves understand." - Plato

The Crash of Relief


Relief flows over you 

like an ocean breeze, 
cool, refreshing with a lift. 
It brushes away the strife 
your life was clogged with 
that dragged your soul down.

Relief lifts you up 
from the depths 
that have saddened your soul 
making you feel whole again. 
Ridding you of the feelings 
that have slated your life.

Relief now lifts you 
and gone is the emotional turmoil 
that blighted your being. 
Refreshed you feel 
a new wellspring 
in which your life can unfold. 

David Harris 

  It took me forever to quickly find a poem, when it should have take about ten minutes. I was being picky for some reason and then felt a sense of relief over and over again when I found poems that I thought were winners. Soon enough, I looked up "relief poems" and found this one in particular that reminded me of Edna Pontellier from The Awakening. This protagonist suffers through hardships and confusion, waiting until the end of the book to feel a sense of relief which she obtains by death. As the waves consume her body, Edna no longer has to feel burdened by her decisions, but relieved that she no longer has to face the consequences of her actions. This poem described how relief overwhelms a person like high tide, swallowing its victim, but saving him at the same time. 

A Poison Tree - William Blake

A Poison Tree                               

I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.

And I watered it in fears,
Night and morning with my tears;
And I sunned it with smiles,
And with soft deceitful wiles.

And it grew both day and night,
Till it bore an apple bright.
And my foe beheld it shine.
And he knew that it was mine,

And into my garden stole
When the night had veiled the pole;
In the morning glad I see
My foe outstretched beneath the tree. 

The poem "A Poison Tree" by William Blake constitutes an angry tone in the beginning using words such as "wrath" and and "foe". The narrator's anger, watered in his fear and tears, grows just as the tree that produces the poisonous apple. He hides his anger, though, through smiles and wiles bringing him closer. In the end his foe's death came by stealing and eating the apple from the tree that belonged to the narrator. Concluding the poem with a happy feeling glad to see his foe lie unresponsive. "In the morning glad I see/ My foe outstretched beneath the tree." 

Walking Alone

Walking Alone

"Walking Alone" by Michael Anderson is a poem that I found over Thanksgiving break. I was able to relate to this poem because on Thanksgiving break, rather than sharing it with my own family, I was forced to share it with the family of my mother's boyfriend; an awkward experience to say the least. This experience was one to make me feel very alone; just as Anderson expatiates on in his poem "Walking Alone".

The imagery in the third stanza is invoked as a response to Edgar Allan Poe's "Alone". In Poe's work, he writes: "Then- in my childhood- in the dawn/ Of a most stormy life- was drawn/ From ev'ry depth of good and ill". Anderson sympathisizes with this in his second stanza. He says that he was also born in this storm, and the lightning flash surprised him. The word "embering" suggests that this image of the lightning flash is burned into his mind forever. And he continues to say that this storm is "followed closely by silent rain,/ Blood-red, falling from the sky in vain." These images project a negative sense of this 'aftershock' following the beginning storm of which Anderson claims having been born during. This image of blood falling from the sky alludes to an assumption that Anderson not only does not enjoy life, but he feels different, as if he is always smothered by this dreary cloud, just as Poe did. However, in my opinion, I believe that Anderson's response and agreement to Poe suggests a more negative perception of this lonely lifestyle, and thus, I enjoyed reading more to an extent.

Walking Alone

Michael R. Anderson [1/90]

Response to: "Alone", by Edgar Allan Poe.

I, too, was born of a world not the same,
Amongst white snow, a raindrops' shame.
In life's garden, a dormant seed.
A heart held of dissimilar need.

I, too, was awed by lightning's flash,
Embering in mind even after the crash.
Followed closely by silent rain,
Blood-red, falling from the sky in vain.

The wind chimed and the earth shook from thunder,
And my mind was but befixed to wonder;
How could I stand amidst this storm,
Seek shelter not, yet still seem warm?

But I, too, take my sorrow at a site-
Other souls would nonchalantly slight.
And I, too, have felt the need for love,
But could only love that need which I dreamt of.

And as I peered deep through the skies,
The clouds grew black to shut my eyes.
The demon that came in your view,
Now's taken from me what he took from you.

In the garden the seed has sprang,
A nameless child unearths the pang.
Felt for the flower, both eyes in close.
Took twenty thorns to touch the rose.

A wondering mind looked to the sky,
So beautiful it had to die.
Laid it to rest upon the stone,
And turned away a man full grown.

Singing the same song at a different tone,
In thoughts, destined to die, unknown.
Born unto a world not of our own,
We walked together, walking alone.