Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Fall Parties (Becca Klaver)

I adore a good fall party, so I assumed that this poem by Becca Klaver would be right up my alley.

And it's fine, I mean, yeah, but I'm just not excited by it. Despite the couplets, I don't find much thrill in this poem's language. What a bunch of boring nouns and verbs.

 And really, isn't the real point not that she loves fall parties more than summer ones, but that she loves the present more than the past? I get a 'grass is always greener' vibe from the poem.

But then again, maybe my problem with the poem simply has to do with the silliness of comparing the seasons of parties. Dunno.

Favorite line: "I'll warm your house."

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

forgetting something (Nick Flynn)

forgetting something by Nick Flynn.

I love the format of this poem. It's a prose poem with line breaks. So neat! To see the fissures in the whole. Neat, neat, neat.

The poem itself - well, in the middle I get confused - it seems muddled. Maybe that is the forgetting. The ends though, are sharp. For instance, I adore the concluding line:

Favorite line: "if we see each other again is to make / a cage of our bodies—inside we can place / whatever still shines."

Monday, November 11, 2013

You Can't Survive on Salt Water (Kalamu ya Salaam)

You Can't Survive on Salt Water by Kalamu ya Salaam.

I think this poem is kind of great. It's a political poem about a modern crisis (Katrina) done in an old form that tends to have Nature at its heart. Water is at the center of both the poem and the form. Every haiku has water in it. The poem as a whole is drowning in it. So's the City. Ooh, maybe the fact that there are 7 haiku reflects the 7 seas? Too far a reach? Perhaps, but it's still a cool poem and concept.

Favorite line: "rejecting wet people's funky stank"

Sunday, November 10, 2013

It's obvious (Greg Hewett)

Wee, it's been some days since my last post. A mini-vacation, if you please. (I do.) But back now, so today's poem is by Greg Hewett.


This is the Frida Kahlo stamp that is referenced in the poem. I can see why it made him write a poem on beauty - this art is not very reminiscent of what I know of Frida Kahlo and her art. The blush and the large necklace seem off, since what I know of Frida Kahlo's art is of oddities and pain and harsh looks. This stamp does seem to be a glamorized version. It's her body, but not her soul.

Favorite line: "beauty is a postage stamp"

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Cartoon Physics, part 1 (Nick Flynn)

Cartoon Physics, part 1 by Nick Flynn.

I just want to squeeze hug this poem. Real world physics is hard and frightening (the universe is just slowly spreading out into nothingness..... why?????), but cartoon physics? A balm of clearly defined rules. It's so sweet, the different examples he uses - how children play at being heroes, defining their own solutions to their self-defined problems. How, cartoon, childish physics work as long as you believe. As long as you refrain from looking down once you run off the cliff, as long as you keep your faith, your naivete, your childishness, you'll be fine.

Just, >HUG<

Favorite lime: "if you jump / you will be saved"

Monday, November 4, 2013

American Sonnet (35) (Wanda Coleman)

I read my first poem by Wanda Coleman the other day and liked it, so I thought I would try another. This one is another American Sonnet.

I like that you can easily get a sense of America out of the words - the jazz, the boogy, the cars, the blackness. Maybe it's set in more modern times, but I see the poem taking place in the 60s or 70s.

The beginning of the poem reminded me of Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man. A black woman moving like a ghost through society. How wonderful, that in the end, the woman of the poem has more corporeal complaints - her outrageous hair, her sagging skin. And yet, the last word of the poem, the last word, perhaps, for the woman in all versions of herself, is her blackness.  It would seem to be as intrinsic to her as the America-ness of the poem - unavoidable and defining.

Favorite line: "this umpteenth time she returns--this invisible woman"

Sunday, November 3, 2013

November (William Cullen Bryant)

A few days in, but since this is my month (hey, birthday!), today's is the aptly title November by William Cullen Bryant.

This is an old fashioned poem - a sonnet by the book and the subject matter never swerves from its titled purpose. So it's kind of unexciting and I wish a different view had been given the month. A month of transition. Meh. Although, I did like the words about how November has some sun and warmth, some hope. However, it is, overall, a rather dull poem. And since November is one of my favorite months, I wish that were not emotion elicited.

Favorite line: "the russet lea"

Saturday, November 2, 2013

American Sonnet (10) (Wanda Coleman)

American Sonnet (10) by Wanda Coleman.

It's both American in its subject and in that, as a sonnet, it does not rhyme. Slavery is, unfortunately, in America's blood and that injustice and that history should never, can never be put away. In this poem, slavery as history is everpresent and acts as a motivation to avenge and to want. Is that healthy? Who knows, but it does make for a gripping poem.

I love the way she uses language in this poem. Unique phrasing and images. It was such a good read. Though, I don't get the reference to Lowell. Anyone?

Favorite line: "our mothers wrung hell and hardtack from row and boll"

Friday, November 1, 2013

Bats (Paisley Rekdal)

Bats by Paisley Rekdal.


I missed writing a post yesterday, on Halloween. Today's is kind of holiday related - what with its dark themes of fear and bats and things that go bump in the night. I like that it is mostly about bats, but that in the end it encompasses anything you might fear. "Alseep, / you tear your fingers / and search the sheets all night." Things you fear are as ever present as to be in your bed and in your thoughts as you sleep. It's a terrifying thing to never be able to escape such terrors.

Bats don't scare me, but in this poem, they serve as a stand-in for whatever haunts your being. Creepy, creepy, creepy.

Favorite line: "the sound / we imagine empty wombs might make / in women who can't fill them up."

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Like Him (Aaron Smith)

Like Him by Aaron Smith.

I am always a little in awe of narrative poems like this. Because even though I see it there on the page and hear it when as I read it aloud, I still marvel that this everyday speech about common emotions and relations can somehow be a poem.

I like how this poem talks about fathers/sons and maleness. There is such a current of anger tinged with sadness through it.

Favorite line: "like him, like men: / the meanest guy wins, don't ever apologize."