Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Thursday Think Tank #55 - Freedom



"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable."  ~ Helen Keller

This week our prompt is freedom. I will admit the looming American holiday kind of forced this week’s prompt. Yes, it may be a somewhat obvious one but we have never touched on it here at Poets United. To quickly turn this topic away from the political aspects I would like to point out that freedom is so much more than a country or mind set. One can experience freedom in a million ways.  You can be a free spirit.  Freedom is being eleven years old and experiencing the first time your parents trusted you enough to leave you home alone. Freedom is the ability to have silence in a bustling household because dad decided to take the kids to the park.

Freedom can mean so much to so many people. Freedom may be fireworks on the 4th of July or a wonderful hike in the woods. Freedom is the right to be naked in your own backyard and damn the neighbors prying eyes. Freedom is a long soak in a hot bath with no sounds save for the drip of the faucet. As seen in the pictures above freedom is a horse on an open plain, a person on a mountain top, the 4th of July or the simple right to be slob.  There are no bounds to what freedom is to a single individual.

This week take time out to write and tell us what makes you feel the most free and alive. My freedom is the ability to write. No one can stop me from doing it and if I want I can fly to the tops of mountains and breathe while walking on the moon. The pen is my freedom.

We look forward to seeing what you set free with the stroke of your keyboard or the ink of your pen. Write and share what you please as you are free to do so.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Life of a Poet - Eric Alder

Time to feature one of our menfolk, kids, so I cast my eye around and who should pop into my field of vision but Eric, of Bubba’s Place. He was willing to Tell All, so pour yourself something delicious, toss in several ice cubes, and let’s get to know Eric better.


 Poets United: Eric, it is so nice of you to speak with us.  Tell us, is there a story behind when and why you started your blog?  A reason you call it Bubba’s Place?
Eric: I started off with a Windows Live Space a few years ago.  I got an e-mail telling me all about it and thought it sounded fun, since I’d been looking for a creative outlet.  I already had a photo account at deviantArt (http://buddharocks.deviantart.com/gallery) but I wanted to explore my writing more.  I’d done some writing in college and had recently gotten into poetry, so I was feeling inspired to write.
After posting to my Live Space for awhile, it started to feel like I was just talking to myself.  So I started looking for a more ‘social’ blogging experience, and that’s when I discovered Blogger.
I have three blogs there:
*         My ‘main’ blog:  http://thisisbubbasplace.blogspot.com/
*         My haiku blog:  http://haiku-koo-koo.blogspot.com/
*         My photo blog:  http://bifocalunivision.blogspot.com/
“Bubba” is a family nick-name of mine, so I thought “Bubba’s Place” was a good name for my blog.  I also liked the juxtaposition of poetry (often regarded as an artistic and cultured art form) with my ‘low-brow’ nick-name. (Basically, you wouldn’t expect a guy called Bubba to be poetically-inclined)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Poem of The Week - Foals at Dawn (28 June, 2011)

Poets United is all about Community.  We wish to celebrate and acknowledge individual poets who are part of this group.  This week's poem of the week  is  Foals at Dawn which is written by  Jenne' R. Andrews, who lives in Colorado, U.S.A.

Foals at Dawn can be found at





Foals at Dawn

At dusk the palomino mare leaves the herd
Circling, wandering in tall grass--
Sweating, looking at her huge
Low-slung belly.

I watch through binoculars
Even then she recedes
From me, her shape inseparable
From the line of cottonwoods;  I fear for her
Foaling alone in the dark.

Then along the blurred frame of light
Comes one of the other mares, streaking
At a dead gallop, to the place
Where I see the lashing banner
Of the downed mare’s tail
before night obviates all things.

Speeding out again
At dawn
I look out once more through the binoculars
Steam rises from the field
The sky opens like a peach kimono
In its folds the two mares
Each with a new foal, each foal
Trying its legs. 

This is how I see heaven now:
A field in early June
Where we are strands
In the weft of light
Among the daybreak horses.


Thanks, Jenne, for being part of the Poets United community. It is nice to get to know you through your poetry.

We hope you have enjoyed reading this week’s selection. Each week we select a poem from one of our members which we feel is a wonderful read. It is the poetry penned by our members and their willingness to share that is the core of our community. If you enjoyed reading this poem we can guarantee there will be many more like it so be sure to stop by next week and read the poem that has been selected for your reading pleasure.

This week's poem was selected by Pamela Sayers who writes poems at Words and Thoughts.
and prepared for posting by Mary Kling, author of the blog In the Corner of My Eye.  We hope you enjoy the poem.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Blog of the Week - Catapult to Mars ( 27 June, 2011)

At Poets United we are all about our community and enjoying each other's work, so please take the time support one of your fellow poets by visiting our Blog of the Week.

This week our Blog of the Week is

Catapult to Mars

by Gordon Mason, a  poet/blogger who divides his time between Scotland and Spain and who writes poetry in both English and Spanish.

Some poems of Gordon's we would like to highlight from his blog are:

Lot 667

Until

Early Riders

Hope you will take a look at those and explore his blog even more.

Thanks, Gordon, for being part of our community!  We appreciate you and your contributions.

Every week Poets United tries to introduce our members and readers to a poet and poetry blog found  in our community. This blog and the poems were suggested by  Pamela Sayers.  Thank you, Pamela. Poets United is about reading, writing, and enjoying one another’s poetry; and this is just one more way to show our support for one another. We would love to hear your comments on this poet’s blog and poetry; so please come back after visiting the blog of the week and let us know your thoughts.

We hope you enjoy visiting the highlighted blogs each week. Thank you for supporting your fellow poets with positive comments.  You may soon see your blog highlighted here.

Mary Kling (who hangs out at  In the Corner of My Eye) for Poets United.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Poetry Pantry Is Now Open! - #55



The Poetry Pantry
2nd Chance Poems or 1st time shares

Anything goes!! All Poems, all Poets, All Week!!

Do you have a poem you would like to share? Something that you just felt inspired to write and want others to read. Perhaps it’s a poem that didn’t get as much exposure on your blog as you would have liked. Maybe it’s a poem that you wrote a long time ago that you would like people to revisit. That’s what this section of Poets United is for.

Each Sunday we start a new post with a New Mr. Linky for you. This is so that you can post a link to anything you want us to read, anything at all related to poetry or prose found on your own poetry blogs. It will remain open all week so that you can show us your writings and thoughts. You can post links weekly should you chose to do so. What poetry you put here is up to you so don't be afraid to share with us!!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Classic Poetry - "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost

Robert Frost, 1874- 1963


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;


Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,


And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.


I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

- Robert Frost, 1916

Robert Frost (1874-1963) was born in San Francisco, California and moved to Lawrence, Massachusetts when his father died in 1885. He graduated from high school and attended Dartmouth College for a few months in 1892. He also studied at Harvard, but never received a degree. Over the next ten years he held a number of jobs including hourly work at a textile mill and teaching Latin, ultimately running his own New Hampshire farm. In 1894 Frost's poem “My Butterfly” was published in The New York Independent, the first of several to appear in various magazines. In 1895 he married Elinor White, with whom he had six children.

In 1912 Frost sold his farm and took his wife and family to England. He published his first collection of poems, “A Boy’s Will” in 1913, and then “North Boston” in 1914. The latter gained international attention and contained some of his best-known poems including “Mending Wall,” “The Death of the Hired Man,” 'Home Burial,” and “'After Apple-Picking.”

Frost and his family returned to the US in 1915 and bought a farm in New Hampshire. In 1916 he became a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters and published his third poetry collection, “Mountain Interval,” which included “The Road Not Taken,” “Birches” and “The Hill Wife.” He continued to work and write for nearly fifty more years.

An oft-lauded poet, Frost was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1930. Amherst College appointed him Saimpson Lecturer for Life in 1949, and in 1958 he was made poetry consultant for the Library of Congress. He was honored with tributes from the U.S. Senate (1950), the American Academy of Poets (1953), New York University (1956), and the Huntington Hartford Foundation (1958); and he received the Congressional Gold Medal (1962) and the Edward MacDowell Medal (1962). He participated in the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy in 1961, reciting two of his poems. In 1962 he traveled in the Soviet Union as a member of a goodwill group. At the time of his death on January 29, 1963, Frost was considered a kind of laureate of the US.

Friday, June 24, 2011

I Wish I'd Written This

Billy Collins is probably my favorite poet.  He gets knocked for being "accessible."  I don't understand why being easily understood when seeing big things in the ordinary is bad.  In the poem below, he shows-off his ability to use simple metaphors with good effect.  The line I most wish I'd written?  This is the thick of things.

 
This is the beginning.
Almost anything can happen.
This is where you find
the creation of light, a fish wriggling onto land,
the first word of Paradise Lost on an empty page.
Think of an egg, the letter A,
a woman ironing on a bare stage
as the heavy curtain rises.
This is the very beginning.
The first-person narrator introduces hirnself,
tells us about his lineage.
The mezzo-soprano stands in the wings.
Here the climbers are studying a map
or pulling on their long woolen socks.
This is early on, years before the Ark, dawn.
The profile of an animal is being smeared
on the wall of a cave,
and you have not yet learned to crawl.
This is the opening, the gambit,
a pawn moving forward an inch.
This is your first night with her,
your first night without her.
This is the first part
where the wheels begin to turn,
where the elevator begins its ascent,
before the doors lurch apart.


This is the middle.
Things have had time to get complicated,
messy, really. Nothing is simple anymore.
Cities have sprouted up along the rivers
teeming with people at cross-purposes—
a million schemes, a million wild looks.
Disappointment unshoulders his knapsack
here and pitches his ragged tent.
This is the sticky part where the plot congeals,
where the action suddenly reverses
or swerves off in an outrageous direction.
Here the narrator devotes a long paragraph
to why Miriam does not want Edward's child.
Someone hides a letter under a pillow.
Here the aria rises to a pitch,
a song of betrayal, salted with revenge.
And the climbing party is stuck on a ledge
halfway up the mountain.
This is the bridge, the painful modulation.
This is the thick of things.
So much is crowded into the middle—
the guitars of Spain, piles of ripe avocados,
Russian uniforms, noisy parties,
lakeside kisses, arguments heard through a wall—
too much to name, too much to think about.


And this is the end,
the car running out of road,
the river losing its name in an ocean,
the long nose of the photographed horse
touching the white electronic line.
This is the colophon, the last elephant in the parade,
the empty wheelchair,
and pigeons floating down in the evening.
Here the stage is littered with bodies,
the narrator leads the characters to their cells,
and the climbers are in their graves.
It is me hitting the period
and you closing the book.
It is Sylvia Plath in the kitchen
and St. Clement with an anchor around his neck.
This is the final bit
thinning away to nothing.
This is the end, according to Aristotle,
what we have all been waiting for,
what everything comes down to,
the destination we cannot help imagining,
a streak of light in the sky,
a hat on a peg, and outside the cabin, falling leaves.
 
 

from Picnic, Lightning. Copyright © 1998 by Billy Collins

Click on the title to go to poetryfoundation.org's posting of Aristotle, where you can hear Mr. Collins read this poem.  Click on the poet's name to learn more about Billy Collins.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Thursday Think Tank # 54 - Inanimate Objects





This week we give you a challenging prompt that can be both easy and difficult at the same time. Pick an inanimate object form anywhere and write from its perspective. It could be anything anywhere. Look at the things around you and imagine what poetry they would write. Imagine a tissue box in your office who hates being touched by sick people, a headstone in the cemetery who no longer gets visitors, a rusty fork who wishes it was plastic, an unused typewriter who is jealous of the new family computer, a merry go round who loves the laughter of children. Imagination has no limits here as the choices are endless. Imagine the feelings of any object and go with it.

When I first thought of this prompt I have to admit I had a cruel ironic thought. I can’t help but kind of laugh at the idea of my mom’s baking tin writing as if it were Sylvia Plath constantly being put in the oven and yet being rescued and coming back out again. Odd and maybe in poor taste but still it’s what I thought.

So this week show us the feelings of the things that surround you. Give a voice to the neglected, overlooked or overused.

We can’t wait to see what voice you lend to the inanimate objects in our world. What feelings we miss on a daily basis.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Poem of the Week - The Next Level (21 June, 2011)

Poets United is all about Community.  We wish to celebrate and acknowledge individual poets who are part of our group.  This week's poem of the week  is   The Next Level...which is written by  Eileen O'Neill, a poet from Cheshire, England, UK, who writes poetry on a variety of topics.  Eileen has been a long time member of Poets United, a great participant, and a wonderful supporter of fellow poets.

The Next Level... can be found at




The Next Level....

I want to live my life on the next level,
To take it to the very top.
I want to bend and almost break the rules,
Just for the thrill of it.
I want to sing another song,
Forgetting about those lonesome blues.
I want to maximize my potential,
Underutilized for far too long.
I want to see and feel life,
Rather than wait longingly for it to visit me.
I want to entertain those unknown pleasures,
Which were always for someone else.
I want what I never knew existed,
Because, now I have met myself.

Thanks, Eileen, for being an active participant in Poets United.

We hope you have enjoyed reading this week’s selection. Each week we select a poem from one of our members which we feel is a wonderful read. It is the poetry penned by our members and their willingness to share that is the core of our community. If you enjoyed reading this poem we can guarantee there will be many more like it so be sure to stop by next week and read the poem that has been selected for your reading pleasure.

By Mary Kling, author of the blog In the Corner of My Eye

Monday, June 20, 2011

Blog of the Week - A Heart for Writing (20 June, 2011)

At Poets United we are all about our community and enjoying each other's work, so please take the time support one of your fellow poets by visiting our Blog of the Week.

This week our Blog of the Week is
A Heart for Writing

by  Judith C. Evans, a poet from Texas, USA, . Those of you who have frequented the Thursday Think Tank or Poetry Pantry have undoubtedly met her there.

Some poems we would like to highlight from her blog are:

Summer Argument

Last Day of School

The Fire of Unwelcome Ideas

Thanks, Judith, for being part of our community!

Every week Poets United tries to introduce our members and readers to a poet and poetry blog found  in our community. Poets United is about reading, writing, and enjoying one another’s poetry; and this is just one more way to show our support for one another. We would love to hear your comments on this poet’s blog and poetry; so please come back after visiting the blog of the week and let us know your thoughts.

We hope you enjoy visiting the highlighted blogs each week. Thank you for supporting your fellow poets with positive comments.  You may soon see your blog highlighted here.

Mary Kling (who hangs out at  In the Corner of My Eye) for Poets United.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Poetry Pantry Is Now Open! - #54

Happy Father's Day!



The Poetry Pantry
2nd Chance Poems or 1st time shares

Anything goes!! All Poems, all Poets, All Week!!

Do you have a poem you would like to share? Something that you just felt inspired to write and want others to read. Perhaps it’s a poem that didn’t get as much exposure on your blog as you would have liked. Maybe it’s a poem that you wrote a long time ago that you would like people to revisit. That’s what this section of Poets United is for.

Each Sunday we start a new post with a New Mr. Linky for you. This is so that you can post a link to anything you want us to read, anything at all related to poetry or prose found on your own poetry blogs. It will remain open all week so that you can show us your writings and thoughts. You can post links weekly should you chose to do so. What poetry you put here is up to you so don't be afraid to share with us!!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Classic Poetry- "Petals" by Amy Lowell




Petals by Amy Lowell

Life is a stream
On which we strew
Petal by petal the flower of our heart;
The end lost in dream,
They float past our view,
We only watch their glad, early start.
Freighted with hope,
Crimsoned with joy,
We scatter the leaves of our opening rose;
Their widening scope,
Their distant employ,
We never shall know. And the stream as it flows
Sweeps them away,
Each one is gone
Ever beyond into infinite ways.
We alone stay
While years hurry on,
The flower fared forth, though its fragrance still stays.



Amy Lowell (1874-1925), American Imagist poet, was a woman of great accomplishment. She was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, to a prominent family of high-achievers. Her environment was literary and sophisticated, and when she left private school at 17 to care for her elderly parents, she embarked on a program of self-education.

Her poetic career began in 1902 when she saw Eleonora Duse, a famous actress, perform on stage. Overcome with Eleonora's beauty and talent, she wrote her first poem addressed to the actress. They met only a couple times and never developed a relationship, but Eleonora inspired many poems from Amy and triggered her career.


Ada Russell, another actress, became the love of Amy's life. She met Ada in 1909 and they remained together until Amy's death in 1925. Amy wrote many, many poems about Ada. In the beginning, as with her previous poems about women, she wrote in such a way that only those who knew the inspiration for a poem would recognize its lesbian content. But as time went on, she censored her work less and less. By the time she wrote Pictures of the Floating World, her poems about Ada were much more blatantly erotic. The series "Planes of Personality: Two Speak Together" chronicles their relationship, including the intensely erotic poem "A Decade" that celebrates their tenth anniversary.

by A.M. Trumble

Thursday, June 16, 2011

I Wish I'd Written This

Here is a very good poem by Robert Hayden I wish I'd written.

By Robert Hayden

Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

I'd wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he'd call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,

Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love's austere and lonely offices? 

from Collected Poems of Robert Hayden, edited by Frederick Glaysher. Copyright ©1966

Click on the title to go to poetryfoundation.org's posting of Those Winter Sundays, where you can hear Mr. Hayden read this poem.  Click on the poet's name to learn more about Robert Hayden.

A New Online Paper - The River

As always we here at Poets United are about the community and anything poetry. We enjoy the chance to share other communities or places for poets to mingle and submit their work. It is the belief of the folks here at Poets United that the more exposure poetry and poets get the better. Today we would like to share one of those places with you.

Announcing a New Online Paper-  by River Urke


The world of blogs is a fast growing domain of people expressing their ideas and words in multitudes of ways. Recently, a new Friday paper appeared within the sphere called The River. An online paper designed to entice people around the world out of their boxes of routine with a created array of writings and art that entertain and inform.

The idea to create The River branched from my column, Rivers Ruminations. An idea I needed help with to achieve. I reached out to my network of writing friends asking if someone would want to embark on the adventure with me. Two wonderful women came forth, Annie and Shan. We became known as The Trio.

The River is a contributing paper of writings, photography, and other art forms. Submissions are welcome. Thank You

        The River

        -submission guideline page


**If you know of a wonderful community for poets and would like us to share it with our readers please feel free to email us at poetsunited@ymail.com and let us know all about it.  We love to spotlight communities and spread poetry throughout the blogosphere.

The Thursday Think Tank #53 - The Beach/Ocean





The summer is upon us and so begins the season where most of us are being lathered in sun bloc and cocoa butter. In my neck of the woods we are averaging triple digits right now so I have to think cool thoughts. Most of the kids in the states are currently wreaking havoc in the parent’s homes due to summer vacation. I am not sure how it is across the pond but I am certain there is a similar ritual to be had. The teachers are overjoyed and on holiday, freeing their minds and loosening those knots in their shoulders and necks. Everyone is headed for the local watering hole and some are lucky enough to find a beach.

So if you can’t quite make that escape yet and are like me stuck in an office pondering the good old surf days at least maybe this week’s prompt will help you stay cool and get away for a bit even if only in your mind.

This week sit down relax and think of the ocean, smell the salty breeze, listen to the waves crash on shore and maybe even feel the warmth of the hot sun on your skin. Escape the day’s worries and visit the beach on paper and with your pen. Write whatever comes to mind. Maybe it’s your own private island, a luau, a romantic evening, a weeklong cruise, being seasick. Whatever it is please share it with us.

We can’t wait for you to whisk us away to some tropical paradise with your words. Please hurry though my lunch break is only so long and I need a vacation now! (Hint play the YouTube clip to get you in the mood)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Life of a Poet - Annell Livingston

Kids, I am blown away by how many multi-talented creative folk there are, doing such great work, in this community.  Annell Livingston is such an artist.  At Some Things I Think About, you will find her poetry, but will soon discover she always has an art project on the go as well: paintings, exquisite miniature artists books, and her recent Red Shoes Project, which included the writing of some of the women in the Poets United community. Pour a cup of Lady Grey, or some iced tea on the rocks, and come along, as we scoot down to Taos, New Mexico, Land of Enchantment, and meet Annell, who is  rather enchanting herself!


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Poem of the Week - Gambler (14 June, 2011)

Poets United is all about Community.  We wish to celebrate and acknowledge individual poets who are part of this group.  This week's poem of the week  is  Gambler which is written by Andy McDonald, a poet from York, North Yorkshire, UK who writes some interesting poetry.

Gambler can be found at





The gambler likes to risk it
On the rolling of the die
He will place it on a number
With odds of one in thirty five

His last dollar
He will risk it
Even though life will be hard
Because there's nothing more enchating
Than the turning of a card

No this enchantment is not beauty
It's not love that gamblers see
It's the feelilng
The adrenaline
That fuels this mans disease

He may go hungry, may get thinner
But he does it and he's pleased
It's the meal he wants to hear
That drives his hunger of disease

"Ladies and Gentlemen we have a Winner!?
"Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!"

The craving hunger now it leaves
But will return when hunger pleads
The gambler will return to the casino
It is the home of his disease

Thanks, Andy, for being an active participant in Poets United.

We hope you have enjoyed reading this week’s selection. Each week we select a poem from one of our members which we feel is a wonderful read. It is the poetry penned by our members and their willingness to share that is the core of our community. If you enjoyed reading this poem we can guarantee there will be many more like it so be sure to stop by next week and read the poem that has been selected for your reading pleasure.

By Mary Kling, for Poets United, author of the blog In the Corner of My Eye

Monday, June 13, 2011

Blog of the Week - runaway sentence (13 June, 2011)

At Poets United we are all about our community. so please take the time support your fellow poets by visiting our Blog of the Week.

This week our blog of the week is





by  Marian.  Those of you who have frequented the Thursday Think Tank or Poetry Pantry have undoubtedly met her there.


Some poems we would like to highlight this week from this "thinking woman's" (by her own admission)  blog are:

existential whateverthe

bauble bubble

aeroplain

Thanks, Marian, for being part of our community!

Every week Poets United tries to introduce our members and readers to a poet and poetry blog found  in our community. Poets United is about reading, writing, and enjoying one another’s poetry; and this is just one more way to show our support for one another. We would love to hear your comments on this poet’s blog and poetry; so please come back after visiting the blog of the week and let us know your thoughts.

We hope you enjoy visiting the highlighted blogs each week. Thank you for supporting your fellow poets with positive comments.  You may soon see your blog highlighted here.

Mary Kling for Poets United

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Poetry Pantry Is Now Open! - #53



The Poetry Pantry
2nd Chance Poems or 1st time shares

Anything goes!! All Poems, all Poets, All Week!!

Do you have a poem you would like to share? Something that you just felt inspired to write and want others to read. Perhaps it’s a poem that didn’t get as much exposure on your blog as you would have liked. Maybe it’s a poem that you wrote a long time ago that you would like people to revisit. That’s what this section of Poets United is for.

Each Sunday we start a new post with a New Mr. Linky for you. This is so that you can post a link to anything you want us to read, anything at all related to poetry or prose found on your own poetry blogs. It will remain open all week so that you can show us your writings and thoughts. You can post links weekly should you chose to do so. What poetry you put here is up to you so don't be afraid to share with us!!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Classic Poetry - "Ah, You Thought" by Anna Akhmatova



Anna Andreyevna Akhmatova (1889 – 1966)


AH, YOU THOUGHT

Ah, you thought I’d be the type
You could forget,
And that praying and sobbing, I’d throw myself
Under the hooves of a bay.

Or I would beg from the witches
Some kind of root in charmed water
And send you a terrible gift-
My intimate, scented handkerchief.

Damned if I will. Neither by glance nor by groan
Will I touch your cursed soul,
But I vow to you by the garden of angels,
By the miraculous icon I vow
And by the fiery passion of our nights-
I will never return to you.


Anna Andreyevna Akhmatova epitomized the poet dedicated to her work despite challenge and circumstance. Born in the Ukraine in 1889 and interested in poetry at a young age, Akhmatova was discouraged by her wealthy father who told her not to shame the family by becoming a "decadent poetess." She did not heed his command. At age 23, she married, wrote consistently and published her first book, Evening. Her son Lev was born that same year. Against her protestations, Lev was raised by his paternal grandmother, who disliked Akhmatova and allowed only holiday and summer visits between mother and child. She later wrote, "motherhood is a bright torture. I was not worthy of it."

Akhmatova continued writing and became much admired within the St. Petersburg literary scene. Her widely-praised second book, Rosary, was published in 1914 and cemented her reputation as a poet.

In 1922, Anno Domini MCMXXI was published, but because of the changing political environment, she could not find a publisher after that. From 1925 to 1940 her poetry was unofficially, but quite effectively, banned; so she focused on literary criticism and translations. In the late 1930s, she wrote, Requiem, dedicated to the memory of Stalin's victims. In 1940, a collection of previously published poems, From Six Books, was published. A few months later it was withdrawn. Following World War II, an official decree banned publication of her poetry and she was expelled from the Writer's Union.

In 1949 Akhmatova’s son Lev was arrested and jailed until 1956. In an effort to win his release, she wrote poems praising Stalin and the government, but later requested that these poems not appear in her collected works. She began writing and publishing again in 1958, but with heavy censorship. In 1964 she was awarded the Etna-Taormina prize and became president of the Writers' Union. A year later she received an honorary doctorate from Oxford University. She died in Leningrad, where she had spent most of her life, in 1966.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I Wish I'd Written This

I don't know what we poets love to write about more: love or regret.  Here is one that has some of both.

By Louis Simpson 

          Swing and sway with Sammy Kaye

Everyone at Lake Kearney had a nickname:   
there was a Bumstead, a Tonto, a Tex,   
and, from the slogan of a popular orchestra,   
two sisters, Swing and Sway.

Swing jitterbugged, hopping around
on the dance floor, working up a sweat.
Sway was beautiful. My heart went out to her   
when she lifted her heavy rack of dishes   
and passed through the swinging door.

She was engaged, to an enlisted man   
who was stationed at Fort Dix.
He came once or twice on weekends
to see her. I tried talking to him,
but he didn’t answer ... out of stupidity   
or dislike, I could not tell which.
In real life he was a furniture salesman.   
This was the hero on whom she had chosen   
to bestow her affections.

I told her of my ambition:
to write novels conveying the excitement   
of life ... the main building lit up
like a liner on Saturday night;
the sound of the band ... clarinet,   
saxophone, snare drum, piano.
He who would know your heart (America)   
must seek it in your songs.

And the contents of your purse ...   
among Kleenex, aspirin,   
chewing gum wrappers, combs, et cetera.

“Don’t stop,” she said, “I’m listening.   
Here it is!” flourishing her lighter.

         *

In the afternoon when the dishes were washed   
and tables wiped, we rowed out on the lake.   
I read aloud ... The Duino Elegies,
while she reclined, one shapely knee up,   
trailing a hand in the water.

She had chestnut-colored hair.
Her eyes were changing like the surface   
with ripples and the shadows of clouds.

“Beauty,” I read to her, “is nothing
but beginning of Terror we’re still just able to bear.”

         *

She came from Jersey, the industrial wasteland   
behind which Manhattan suddenly rises.   
I could visualize the street where she lived,   
and see her muffled against the cold,   
in galoshes, trudging to school.   
Running about in tennis shoes   
all through the summer ...   
I could hear the porch swing squeak   
and see into the parlor.
It was divided by a curtain or screen ...   

“That’s it,” she said, “all but the screen.   
There isn’t any.”

When she or her sister had a boyfriend   
their mother used to stay in the parlor,   
pretending to sew, and keeping an eye on them   
like Fate.

At night she would lie awake
looking at the sky, spangled over.
Her thoughts were as deep and wide as the sky.   
As time went by she had a feeling
of missing out ... that everything
was happening somewhere else.
Some of the kids she grew up with
went crazy ... like a car turning over and over.
One of her friends had been beaten   
by the police. Some vital fluid   
seemed to have gone out of him.
His arms and legs shook. Busted springs.

         *

She said, “When you’re a famous novelist   
will you write about me?”

I promised ... and tried to keep my promise.

Recently, looking for a toolbox,
I came upon some typewritten pages,
all about her. There she is
in a canoe ... a gust of wind
rustling the leaves along the shore.
Playing tennis, running up and down the baseline.   
Down by the boathouse, listening to the orchestra   
playing “Sleepy Lagoon.”

Then the trouble begins. I can never think of anything   
to make the characters do.
We are still sitting in the moonlight
while she finishes her cigarette.
Two people go by, talking in low voices.
A car door slams. Driving off ...   

“I suppose we ought to go,”   
I say.
                   And she says, “Not yet.”

from The Owner of the House: New Collected Poems 1940-2001











Click on the title to go to poetryfoundation.org's posting of Sway. Click on Mr. Simpson's
name to learn more about this poet.

The Thursday Think Tank #52 - Animals






"I know at last what distinguishes man from animals: financial worries."
~Romain Roland

This week we offer a very broad topic for you to run wild on with your imagination. When you see the word “Animal” what is the first creature that pops in your head? A lion, a tiger, a bear…oh my! Ok that was a bit of a reach there I know it, but seriously, what is the first thing that you think when you see the word animal. Do you envision cute and cuddly or large and ferocious? Does your favorite pet capture your thoughts or do you wonder about nature? Whatever you think of we hope that it inspires you to write.

This week’s prompt does not have to be specifically about an animal, just as long as the poem mentions an animal of any sort that will suffice. It can be deep, dark and dreary like Poe’s “The Raven” or it can be as subtle as saying “my heart fluttered as if it were the wings of a butterfly” and the rest of the poem pursues the idea of…gag, cough, wheeze…true love.

Unleash your inner animal and let it come roaring out of your pen and onto your paper. We can’t wait to see what kind of zoo you will turn Poets United into this week.

Monday, June 6, 2011

One Year Anniversary this week!



Tomorrow Poets United will celebrate its first official anniversary. Our very first 3 posts were posted this day last year and to be honest they have long since been overwritten or deleted. I don’t find that a negative though. I feel it’s more a testament to the growth and progression of this community. I initially started Poets United to be nothing more than a simple blogroll and as we can all see, we have gone well beyond that concept. We have moved from a simple listing page to an entire community that is 250 plus strong and constantly growing.

Poets United has become a wonderful community for poets and writers. Over time we have grown so much that no one person is responsible for this amazing collection of poets. Our members can be found in every corner of the world and are always willing to step forward and help in whatever way they can. For that we are so very grateful.

We have had a few failed concepts: a Forum Page, Poet Trading Cards and Small Group Particpation just to name a few but we have also had many successful and thriving activities: The Poetry Pantry, The Life of A Poet Interview Series and our very own Poetry Anthology are just a few of the many positives we have experienced and are still experiencing. We have many more that are not listed here but we all participate in them in one way or another. Poets United has become more than just an online community. I’d like to think we are poetic family.

This week last year we posted our first ever Poem of the Week "Untitled" by Alexis Hallum

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This poem can be found at:


    "Finding Prose in the Laundry and Poetry in the Dishwasher"                         


(Untitled)

Emotion
fizzles lightly in the belly
then
tickling the diaphragm
building up it grows
Heavier and harder
moving towards the neck,
taking over the back of the throat
pushing the tears out of eyes:
angry and dark
Salt water dripping past tonsils,
sobs spring forth from the chords
first silent then uncontrollable

All she wanted was a glass of milk.


                           Alexis, Monday, February 15, 2010

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We also posted our very first Blog of the Week:  Out of My Ocean by Susannah Bec

Out of my Ocean - "Out of my Ocean" is a poetry blog written by Susannah Bec. Her poems are refreshing while avoiding the cliché. She has a knack for taking everyday life and displaying it from a different angle. If you do not have the time to float through her blog then at least take a moment to read “A Container for the Flow”. This poem by Susannah has to be one of my personal favorites. It makes me reflect on my own need for writing as a release. Her writing is vivid and creates wonderful visuals for her readers.  Susannah's blog is well done, easy to navigate and just like her writing a pleasant escape from the every day grind that is life. Please take a few momemts to visit her blog most folks will really enjoy reading her work.

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If you pull back the curtains and peer behind the scenes of Poets United you will see I am no longer the only one pulling strings. As we have grown so have the responsibilities. We currently have roughly 10 people helping to ensure Poets United doesn’t lose its edge. Should you get the chance please visit our Staff/Contributors Page so you can see all the folks who could use a pat on the back or two.

Ultimately Poets United is your community and we are just lucky to play a part in it. This is a place to meet and make friends. It is a place to lean on when times are rough, a place to share smiles, tears, aliens, fantasies and everything else in between. Your creative talents and imagination are what fuels this wonderful corner of the blogosphere. Do not stop putting pen to paper. Thank you for shaping this community. We look forward to another great year here at Poets United so keep writing, keep reading and keep sharing.

Thank you for the chance to be a part such a great community!!

Robert Lloyd

In the comments section below share your thoughts about Poets United?  What is your favorite apsect and or activity at Poets United?  What do you expect from us in our second year?  Are there areas we can improve on? Please feel free to share anything youd like as this is your community!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Poetry Pantry Is Now Open! - #52



The Poetry Pantry
2nd Chance Poems or 1st time shares

Anything goes!! All Poems, all Poets, All Week!!

Do you have a poem you would like to share? Something that you just felt inspired to write and want others to read. Perhaps it’s a poem that didn’t get as much exposure on your blog as you would have liked. Maybe it’s a poem that you wrote a long time ago that you would like people to revisit. That’s what this section of Poets United is for.

Each Sunday we start a new post with a New Mr. Linky for you. This is so that you can post a link to anything you want us to read, anything at all related to poetry or prose found on your own poetry blogs. It will remain open all week so that you can show us your writings and thoughts. You can post links weekly should you chose to do so. What poetry you put here is up to you so don't be afraid to share with us!!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Classic Poetry - "I look into my glass" by Thomas Hardy


Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)

I LOOK INTO MY GLASS

I look into my glass,
And view my wasting skin,
And say, “Would God it came to pass
My heart had shrunk as thin!”

For then, I, undistrest
By hearts grown cold to me,
Could lonely wait my endless rest
With equanimity.

But Time, to make me grieve,
Part steals, lets part abide;
And shakes this fragile frame at eve
With throbbings of noontide.

Thomas Hardy (2 June 1840 – 11 January 1928), an English novelist and poet, considered himself a poet who wrote novels to make a living. Despite this personal distinction, throughout his lifetime he was best known for his novels, including Tess of the d'Urbervilles and Far from the Madding Crowd, which earned him a reputation as one of the world’s great novelists.

Like most writers, Hardy drew details from his personal experience to bring life to his written work. The Dorchester region of England, where he grew up, provides the setting and backdrop for most of his fictional pieces. He then populated these places with characters struggling against their personal natures or social circumstances.

Hardy's poetry, first published when he was in his fifties, ultimately grew to be as well regarded as his novels and significantly influenced modern English poetry. In the 1950’s and 1960’s, a group of English poets collaborated to create “The Movement” and cited Hardy as a major figure, firmly establishing his poetic reputation.