The Sunday Poem 2017-05-01T21:00:22+00:00

The Sunday Poem

The Sunday Poem: Tony Hoagland

There isn’t a word for walking out of the grocery store / with a gallon jug of milk in a plastic sack / that should have been bagged in double layers / —so that before you are even out the door / you feel the weight of the jug dragging / the bag down, stretching the thin / plastic handles longer and longer and you know it’s only a matter of time until / bottom suddenly splits.

By | 11.29.14|The Sunday Poem, Words|0 Comments

The Gorgeous Nothings: The Envelope Poems of Emily Dickinson

  For Proust," Susan Howe writes in her Preface to The Gorgeous Nothings, "a fragment is a morsel of time in its pure state; it hovers between a present that is immediate and a past that once had been present." The fragments Howe is specifically referring to are the envelopes left behind by Emily Dickinson, fascinating slips of paper scrawled with the poet's distinctive script (handwriting that one of Dickinson's correspondents compared to “the fossil [...]

By | 07.18.14|Books Worth Reading, Images, The Sunday Poem, Words|Comments Off on The Gorgeous Nothings: The Envelope Poems of Emily Dickinson

The Sunday Poem: Lauren Camp’s The Dailiness

Lauren Camp (Photo by Elena E. Giorgi)   The Dailiness by Lauren Camp from Edwin E. Smith, 2013 An Interview with Lauren Camp Michelle Aldredge: I like the close attention you pay to daily encounters in your book. The image of "folding" appears again and again throughout the collection. Can you tell me more about how this image creates a consistent thread through the book and why it has resonance for you? Lauren [...]

By | 04.26.14|The Sunday Poem, Words|1 Comment

The Sunday Poem: Jamaal May’s Hum

Jamaal May was born in 1982 in Detroit where he has taught poetry in public schools and worked as a freelance audio engineer and touring performer. His first book, Hum, received the Beatrice Hawley Award from Alice James Books and an NAACP Image Award nomination. (Photo by Tarfia Faizullah)   "I don’t always go into a poem wanting to address a specific issue," says Jamaal May. "I’m usually led by language and discover [...]

By | 04.05.14|The Sunday Poem, Words|Comments Off on The Sunday Poem: Jamaal May’s Hum

The Sunday Poem: Don Colburn’s Tomorrow Too-The Brenda Monologues

Brenda Arrieta Killian in the wig she wore after shaving her hair at the beginning of chemotherapy. Brenda was the subject of a series of articles Sunday Poet Don Colburn wrote for The Oregonian and is the subject of his new chapbook Tomorrow Too: The Brenda Monologues. (Photo by Stephanie Yao Long. © The Oregonian 2008. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.)   Journalism and poetry have become for me two ways of reporting [...]

By | 03.15.14|The Sunday Poem, Words|Comments Off on The Sunday Poem: Don Colburn’s Tomorrow Too-The Brenda Monologues

The Sunday Poem: Lauren K. Alleyne’s Difficult Fruit

Lauren Alleyne hails from the twin-island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. (Photo by Rachel Eliza Griffiths)   Poetry is like ice-cream," poet Lauren Alleyne recently told an interviewer when asked to compare poetry to a food. "It completes joy, but is also a natural remedy for heartache. You can enjoy it in all its flavors, and yet its essential nature doesn’t change. It’s good for your bones, will delight your tongue, and I don’t [...]

By | 02.22.14|The Sunday Poem, Words|1 Comment

The Sunday Poem: C.D. Wright Explores Civil Rights in “One With Others”

Poet C.D. Wright (Photo by W.T. Pfefferle via Flickr Commons)   I first encountered C.D. Wright's poetry through the back door of photography. Years ago, when I was studying contemporary artists working with 19th century photographic processes, I stumbled across Deborah Luster's collaboration with C.D. Wright, titled One Big Self, in which the two artists recorded Louisiana's prison population through tin type images and text (see photo below). “No single description adequately captures Wright’s work," [...]

By | 02.08.14|The Sunday Poem, Words|Comments Off on The Sunday Poem: C.D. Wright Explores Civil Rights in “One With Others”

The Sunday Poem: Judith Taylor’s Sex Libris

Judith Taylor (Photo courtesy the author)   As the psychoanalysts Jung and Freud both observed, fairy tales frequently reveal more about a culture than its sophisticated literary texts. These are the stories we hear at a young, impressionable age. Whether we're conscious of it or not, these tales of angelic and evil women, knights on white horses, and wolves in the forest shape our ideas about beauty, love, and danger. In her latest collection, Sex [...]

By | 02.02.14|The Sunday Poem, Words|Comments Off on The Sunday Poem: Judith Taylor’s Sex Libris

The Sunday Poem: Dean Young’s Bender

Do not encourage small children / to play the trombone as the shortness / of their arms may prove quite frustrating, / imprinting a lifelong aversion to music / although in rare cases a sense of unreachability / may inspire operas of delicate auras.

By | 01.11.14|The Sunday Poem, Words|Comments Off on The Sunday Poem: Dean Young’s Bender

The Sunday Poem: Patricia Fargnoli’s Winter

Patricia Fargnoli published her first book of poetry at the age of 62.   When Pulitzer-Prize-winner Mary Oliver chose Patricia Fargnoli's first book, Necessary Light, as the winner of The May Swenson Book Award, Fargnoli was 62 years old. "I began writing poems in high school and had a few (terrible ones) published in the school paper," Pat explained by email from her home in Walpole, New Hampshire. "And I had taken poetry classes [...]

By | 12.21.13|The Sunday Poem, Words|1 Comment

The Sunday Poem: Sophie Cabot Black’s The Exchange

(Attributed to) Caravaggio, Sacrifice of Isaac, c. 1598. Oil on canvas 46 in × 68 in. (Photo via Wikimedia courtesy the Piasecka-Johnson Collection, Princeton)   Sophie Cabot Black (Photo by Alexander Black) "For me, the act of writing comes out of query," poet Sophie Cabot Black explains in a recent interview with The New Yorker. "Each image turns to the next with its question and gets answered. Or with its answer it gets questioned. Poetry is [...]

By | 12.07.13|The Sunday Poem, Words|Comments Off on The Sunday Poem: Sophie Cabot Black’s The Exchange

The Sunday Poem: Miriam Sagan’s Seven Places in America

Lisa Elmaleh, Paurotis Palms, Everglades, Florida, silver gelatin print, 2010. On view in the Mythology of Florida exhibit at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans through January 5th. (Photo © Lisa Elmaleh via   "Miriam Sagan's Seven Places is a lovely collection of verbal souvenirs, resonant snapshots plumbing the mists, the touches, the footfalls that evoke place," writes art critic Lucy Lippard. "Before I started reading I knew some of these places. [...]

By | 11.23.13|The Sunday Poem, Words|1 Comment

The Sunday Poem: Alice Fogel on How to Not “Get” Poetry

(Carl Sandburg poetry manuscript photo by Ben Woloszyn via   Alice B. Fogel is poised to become the next Poet Laureate in New Hampshire, following in the footsteps of Donald Hall, Maxine Kumin, Jane Kenyon, Patricia Fargnoli, and others. Governor Maggie Hassan recently appointed Fogel to the five-year position. Fogel’s third book, Be That Empty, was a national poetry bestseller in 2008, and in 2009 Strange Terrain (on how to appreciate poetry without “getting” it) came out. Nominated six [...]

By | 11.16.13|The Sunday Poem, Words|Comments Off on The Sunday Poem: Alice Fogel on How to Not “Get” Poetry

The Sunday Poem: Ed Skoog’s Rough Day

Writer Ed Skoog (Photo by Kelly O courtesy the author)   We don't give much thought to the covers of the poetry books we read, but the genre is plagued by amateurish typography and ill-chosen imagery. Copper Canyon Press consistently has some of the strongest, most thoughtful designs, and Ed Skoog's Rough Day is the perfect marriage of style and substance. A 1939 photograph of Skoog's mother, looking rather displeased with a pet crow on [...]

By | 11.02.13|The Sunday Poem, Words|2 Comments

The Sunday Poem: Bridget Lowe’s At the Autopsy of Vaslav Nijinsky

Poet Bridget Lowe (Photo by Jennifer Wetzel courtesy the author)   The publication of Bridget Lowe's debut collection, At the Autopsy of Vaslav Nijinsky (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2013), is a bit of a full-circle moment for Gwarlingo. Bridget Lowe was one of the first Gwarlingo Sunday Poets, back in the early days when the Sunday Poem feature was limited to a single poem. Bridget's "In My Study of Hysteria," which is included in her [...]

By | 10.19.13|The Sunday Poem, Words|Comments Off on The Sunday Poem: Bridget Lowe’s At the Autopsy of Vaslav Nijinsky

The Sunday Poem: David Bottoms’ We Almost Disappear

Poet David Bottoms (Photo courtesy the author)   David Bottoms grew up in Canton, Georgia, the only child of David H. Bottoms, a funeral director, and Louise Ashe Bottoms, a registered nurse. Their home had only two books: a King James Bible and a book by preacher Billy Graham. It was his grandmother who was the "dreamer" in the family, Bottoms explains in an interview with the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame. She had [...]

By | 10.11.13|The Sunday Poem, Words|2 Comments

The Sunday Poem: Anne Valley-Fox

Poet Anne Valley-Fox in Oaxaca, Mexico (Photo courtesy the author) "A poet makes everything up, including one’s job description," says Anne Valley-Fox. "My job: to retrieve rejected or edgy bits of inner material and put them together in ways that illuminate and provoke. My poems seek connections, complications, and small astonishments." In her latest collection, How Shadows Are Bundled (University of New Mexico Press), Anne tackles topics as diverse as sexuality, aging, family, hurricanes, war, [...]

By | 10.05.13|The Sunday Poem, Words|Comments Off on The Sunday Poem: Anne Valley-Fox

The Sunday Poem: Joshua Beckman’s The Inside of an Apple

Writer Joshua Beckman (Photo courtesy of Wave Books)   The poems in Joshua Beckman's new book, The Inside of an Apple (Wave Books, 2013), have all the immediacy of a "V" of geese passing overhead: for a brief moment, everything else falls away. While not technically haiku, Beckman's latest work shares many characteristics with the form---the spareness, the juxtaposition of images, a focus on the natural world, and a sensory urgency. It makes [...]

By | 09.28.13|The Sunday Poem, Words|Comments Off on The Sunday Poem: Joshua Beckman’s The Inside of an Apple

The Sunday Poem: Janet Kaplan

Janet Kaplan (Photo by Silvia Sanza)   (Note: This introduction and interview with poet and publisher Janet Kaplan are by Adrienne Brock) While Janet Kaplan has her roots solidly in the New York area, her work reaches into the dirt of both American continents. Born and raised in the Bronx, she was educated at Lehman College of the City University of New York, and at Columbia University, and earned her MFA in poetry [...]

By | 09.21.13|The Sunday Poem, Words|Comments Off on The Sunday Poem: Janet Kaplan

The Sunday Poem: Michel Butor Translated by Jeffrey Gross

  “Every word written is a victory against death," says French writer Michel Butor (Photo via   According to The New York Review of Books, only 3 to 5 percent of books published in the U.S. are translations. Whether this is the result of American isolationism, or commercial practicalities is a subject for debate, but it's hard not to wonder what literary gems we're missing in this country. Gwarlingo has featured a [...]

By | 09.15.13|The Sunday Poem, Words|1 Comment

The Sunday Poem: Beth Copeland’s Transcendental Telemarketer

Writer Beth Copeland (Photo courtesy of Beth Copeland)   The poems in Beth Copeland's Transcendental Telemarketer evoke a range of emotions and places. They're colorful and playful, but also rich in meaning. Copeland writes about the Atomic Bomb Museum in Nagasaki, Hokusai's "great wave," and Japanese typhoons, but also Buddhist scrolls, Christian morals, and Afghanistan. Her poem "Russian Dolls" is cleverly shaped just like Russian nesting dolls, with long sentences stacked upon short ones, and [...]

By | 09.07.13|The Sunday Poem, Words|Comments Off on The Sunday Poem: Beth Copeland’s Transcendental Telemarketer

At a Time When Poetry Was Forbidden, Seamus Heaney Was a Lifeline

Seamus Heaney in 1970. Heaney, Ireland's foremost poet who won the Nobel literature prize in 1995, has died after a half-century exploring the wild beauty and political torment of Ireland. He was 74. Heaney's family and publisher, Faber & Faber, say in a statement that Heaney died Friday in a Dublin hospital. (AP Photo / PA file) We lost one of our greatest poets this week---Irish writer Seamus Heaney. The news of the [...]

By | 09.01.13|News, The Sunday Poem, Words|1 Comment

The Sunday Poem: Jim Harrison’s Songs of Unreason

Jim Harrison in his Livingston Montana writing cabin (Photo by Kurt Markus via   What a pleasure to have writer Jim Harrison re-launching Gwarlingo's Sunday Poem series this weekend. Harrison's poetry, fiction, and essays pack a visceral punch. His writing is steeped in the senses, in nature, and the American landscape's violent history of bloodshed. (If you haven't read his 87-page masterpiece, Legends of the Fall, put it on your reading list). [...]

By | 08.25.13|The Sunday Poem, Words|10 Comments

The Sunday Poem : Diane Gilliam Explores the Mine Wars of West Virginia

  Writer Diane Gilliam is the 2013 winner of the $50,000 Gift of Freedom Award from A Room of Her Own Foundation (Photo by Bob Weinberg) It's rare for a book of poetry to have the same narrative tension and sense of place as a novel. But it's a testament to Diane Gilliam's poetic imagination that she is able to capture the 1920-1921 mine wars of West Virginia with a power, depth, and [...]

By | 07.13.13|The Sunday Poem, Words|Comments Off on The Sunday Poem : Diane Gilliam Explores the Mine Wars of West Virginia

A 2nd Chance to Own Christine Shan Shan Hou & Audra Wolowiec’s Concrete Sound

Concrete Sound (Photos courtesy Audra Wolowiec) There is no new Sunday Poem post today because of the holiday weekend, but I do have Sunday Poem news to share.... Back in April, I featured the one-of-a-kind artist and poetry book Concrete Sound---a collaboration between interdisciplinary artist Audra Wolowiec and poet, critic, and artist Christine Shan Shan Hou. In conjunction with her one-person exhibition, Concrete Sound, at Norte Maar Gallery (shown below), Wolowiec worked with Hou to create a publication that [...]

By | 07.06.13|The Sunday Poem, Words|1 Comment

The Sunday Poem : Geoffrey Nutter

  Writer Geoffrey Nutter under the Gateway Arch in St. Louis (Photo by Maria Diaz)   The epigraph that opens Geoffrey Nutter's new collection, The Rose of January, (Wave Books, 2013), is from Ralph Waldo Emerson: "Lettuce, apple, or melon, in season---so long as it is good....When their hour is past do not try to move the hand back on the dial & do them again but try that undone something which is in season [...]

By | 06.29.13|The Sunday Poem, Words|1 Comment

The Sunday Poem : Patricia Smith

  Patricia Smith (Photo by Rachel Eliza Griffiths)   What was your least favorite age? For many of us, 13 stands out as a particularly hellacious year. Today's Sunday Poem "13 Ways of Looking at 13" by writer and performer Patricia Smith takes us back to those early, tormented growing pains. Patricia Smith has been called “a testament to the power of words to change lives.” Not only is she is the author of [...]

By | 06.22.13|The Sunday Poem, Words|1 Comment

The Sunday Poem : Nancy Simpson

  For 15 years poet Nancy Simpson was Resident Writer at the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, North Carolina   Note: This introduction is a guest post by Kathryn Stripling Byer, a writer who has also been featured as a Gwarlingo Sunday Poet. Kathryn's essay appears in Nancy Simpson's Living Above the Frost Line: New and Selected Poems from Carolina Wren Press (2010).   Nancy Simpson has enriched the literary community [...]

By | 06.15.13|The Sunday Poem, Words|12 Comments

The Sunday Poem : Gregory Orr’s River Inside the River

Poet Gregory Orr reading at the 2012 Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival (Photo by Michelle Aldredge)   With his new book, River Inside the River: Poems, Gregory Orr set a high bar for himself. His intention: to write three lengthy pieces that combine the intensity of lyric poetry with the thematic scope of narrative and myth. Fortunately, Orr's literary talent and personal experience make him the ideal poet to realize such an ambitious [...]

The Sunday Poem : Hyesim Translated by Ian Haight & T’ae-yong Ho

      Chin’gak Kuksa Hyesim was the first Zen Master dedicated to poetry in Korea. As translator Ian Haight explains in his introduction to Magnolia and Lotus: Selected Poems of Hyesim (White Pine Press, 2012), the tradition of Zen Buddhist poetry begins with his writing. Translating poetry by a revered monk of Korean antiquity has its challenges. Very little is known about Hyesim’s life as a recluse. We do know that he opted to study [...]

By | 06.01.13|The Sunday Poem, Words|1 Comment

The Sunday Poem : James Crews

  Writer James Crews (photo courtesy the author) James Crews' latest collection, The Book of What Stays, is full of evocative landscapes and secret lives. There is the old woman in Chernobyl who refuses to leave her home and the bent, one-eyed swallows. There is ice fishing with Patsy Cline and a pack of Coors. There is "the purpling, churning CGI sky" over I-80 out West. There is both a farmer's wife, and [...]

The Sunday Poem : Diane Lockward

  Poet Diane Lockward of West Caldwell, New Jersey, discusses her work at Chatham High School (Photo by Stephen Briggs)   Diane Lockward's latest collection of poetry, Temptation by Water, is a book of dualities. These closely observed poems, which are largely free verse, are both witty and fierce and explore themes like domesticity and sensuality, grief and humor, aging and reawakening. As Marjorie Tesser writes in the Harvard Review, "the theme of [...]

By | 05.11.13|The Sunday Poem, Words|6 Comments

The Sunday Poem : Kate Kingston

  Writer Kate Kingston lives in Trinidad, Colorado (Photo by Ron Thompson)   I knew I was going to like the poet Kate Kingston the minute she shared this story during our first dinner together at Brush Creek Ranch in Wyoming: "When my youngest son was a teenager, he told me me, 'No one over thirty can snowboard.' I said, 'Do you want to make a bet?' We did. I won. I was [...]

By | 05.04.13|The Sunday Poem, Words|1 Comment

The Sunday Poem : Christine Shan Shan Hou & Audra Wolowiec’s Concrete Sound

  Concrete Sound (Photos courtesy Audra Wolowiec) Last year Gwarlingo readers responded enthusiastically to Mary Ruefle and Jen Bervin's erasure poems. Today's Sunday Poem features another unique project that defies categorization---a collaboration between interdisciplinary artist Audra Wolowiec and poet, critic, and artist Christine Shan Shan Hou. In conjunction with her one-person exhibition, Concrete Sound, at Norte Maar Gallery (shown below), Wolowiec worked with Hou to create a publication that is an extension of her installation. The limited-edition artist book, [...]

By | 04.21.13|Images, The Sunday Poem, Words|Comments Off on The Sunday Poem : Christine Shan Shan Hou & Audra Wolowiec’s Concrete Sound

The Sunday Poem : Mari L’Esperance

  Mari L'Esperance (Photo by Martin Takigawa)   "My hope is that my readers approach a poem – any poem – in order to be transformed in some way," says Sunday Poet Mari L'Esperance. "Not dramatically, but to feel by the end of the poem as though something has shifted for them internally so that they then perceive themselves and the world a bit differently. That’s what I want as a reader: to [...]

By | 04.13.13|The Sunday Poem, Words|1 Comment

The Sunday Poem : Marina Tsvetaeva – A Reading by Ilya Kaminsky & Jean Valentine

  Russian writer Marina Tsvetaeva in 1914   “I am happy living simply/ like a clock, or a calendar,” Russian poet Marina Tsvetaeva wrote in 1919. Tsvetaeva's life was anything but simple, for she had the misfortune of living through some of the most turbulent years in Russian history. She married Sergei Efron in 1912, but was soon separated from him during the Civil War. She had a brief love affair with writer Osip [...]

By | 04.06.13|The Sunday Poem, Words|Comments Off on The Sunday Poem : Marina Tsvetaeva – A Reading by Ilya Kaminsky & Jean Valentine

The Sunday Poem : Michelle Bitting

  Writer Michelle Bitting (Photo by Alexis Fancher) Today's Sunday Poet was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. Michelle Bitting was a dancer and chef before devoting herself to poetry. Her collection, Good Friday Kiss, was chosen by Thomas Lux as the winner of the 2007 DeNovo Prize for 1st Book of Poetry. Michelle lists Dylan Thomas, Sharon Olds, Tony Hoagland, Anne Sexton and Kevin Young as some of the writers who [...]

By | 03.23.13|The Sunday Poem, Words|1 Comment

The Sunday Poem: Terrance Hayes

  Writer Terrance Hayes (Photo by Becky Thurner Braddock)   "Language is just music without the full instrumentation," says Terrance Hayes. Music is a constant touchstone in Hayes's poetry. "I’m chasing a kind of language that can be unburdened by people’s expectations. I think music is the primary model—how close can you get this language to be like music and communicate feeling at the base level in the same way a composition with [...]

By | 03.16.13|The Sunday Poem, Words|2 Comments

The Sunday Poem : Kathryn Stripling Byer

  Writer Kathryn Stripling Byer (Photo by Chris English)   As a fellow Georgia native, Kathryn Stripling Byer's poem about a young girl enduring Sunday church service in "a girdle and hose" and singing the hymn "Just As I Am" brought back memories. Byer's latest collection, Descent, is brimming with scrub pines, chicken and biscuits, and drunk drivers playing "Dixie." One minute dirt yards are parched by drought, and the next, the Flint [...]

By | 03.09.13|The Sunday Poem, Words|6 Comments

The Sunday Poem : D. Nurkse’s “A Night in Brooklyn”

  Poet D. Nurkse   D. Nurkse's latest collection, A Night in Brooklyn, captures a Brooklyn of both the past and present in lyrical poems that are both intimate and political. Here is Nurkse discussing his book with Andy Kuhn of the Katonah Poetry Series: My family came here from Europe as the Nazis were coming to power, and we moved back to Europe briefly in the early sixties. My family members got [...]

By | 03.02.13|The Sunday Poem, Words|2 Comments

The Sunday Poem: Brenda Shaughnessy

  Brenda Shaughnessy (Photo by Sylvia Plachy)   Brenda Shaughnessy's Our Andromeda had positive buzz in the literary community before it was even released by Cooper Canyon Press late last year, and the glowing reviews and accolades from publications like The New Yorker, the New York Times, Bookforum, and Publisher's Weekly just keep pouring in. And rightly so. Not since Sylvia Plath has a poet written so vividly about the challenge of being a [...]

By | 02.23.13|The Sunday Poem, Words|2 Comments

The Sunday Poem : G.C. Waldrep

  G.C. Waldrep's hat (Photo courtesy of G.C. Waldrep)   For a writer who has lived a fascinating, unconventional life, the poetry of G.C. Waldrep is remarkably devoid of ego. While other writers with Waldrep’s life experience might be tempted to use their own story as window dressing, Waldrep never succumbs to such a temptation. Instead, he allows his personal experience to drive his aesthetic choices. The end result is poetry that is both [...]

By | 02.16.13|The Sunday Poem, Words|Comments Off on The Sunday Poem : G.C. Waldrep

The Sunday Poem : Patricia Spears Jones

  Patricia Spears Jones (Photo by Carl E. Hazelwood)   Patricia Spears Jones grew up in Arkansas, but moved to New York City in the 1970s. Painkiller is her third collection, and the book's elegant, empathetic poems show her flair for capturing urban life, particularly New York's metamorphosis over the past three decades. As poet Scott Hightower writes, " [Spears] Jones takes on the persona of a flaneuse [a stroller,] in that she grapples with understanding, participating [...]

By | 02.09.13|The Sunday Poem, Words|2 Comments

The Sunday Poem: Thomas Rain Crowe

    Writer Thomas Rain Crowe     About The Laugharne Poems by Thomas Rain Crowe   “While visiting Wales for the first time in 1993, I immediately adopted a love for the culture and community, was fondly given the name of ‘Tierec’, and was given permission (in fact, the keys) by the Carmarthen District Cultural Council to be the first person since Dylan Thomas's death in 1953, Welsh or otherwise, to use the boathouse in [...]

By | 02.02.13|The Sunday Poem, Words|Comments Off on The Sunday Poem: Thomas Rain Crowe

The Sunday Poem : Paula Bohince

  Paula Bohince (Photo by Patrick Mullen)   "There’s movement in [Paula] Bohince’s ­poems, but it’s gradual and subtle — an eye passing like Ken Burns’s camera over a still image, discovering new details," writes Eric McHenry in today's New York Times Book Review: The nouns pile up like snow while the reader waits for a verb that will never arrive...Even in narrative passages, Bohince lets participles do the work of predicates: “In [...]

By | 01.26.13|The Sunday Poem, Words|Comments Off on The Sunday Poem : Paula Bohince

The Sunday Poem : Evie Shockley

  Writer Evie Shockley on Signal Hill in Cape Town, South Africa (Photo by Stéphane Robolin)   "Evie Shockley seems to step to us wearing an alluring silk gown and steel-toe guerilla boots. She possesses that rare combination of grace and subversiveness." This is poet Terrance Hayes commenting on Evie Shockley's most recent book the new black. I couldn't agree with Terrance more. Art that tackles topics like politics, race, injustice, and identity can be [...]

By | 01.19.13|The Sunday Poem, Words|2 Comments

The Sunday Poem : Erica Funkhouser

    "I think I don't really know who I am, or what I think, or what I believe unless I'm in the process of writing," says poet Erica Funkhouser. "That's where all of my discovery takes place, that's where all of my confrontation takes place -- I would say not just with my own interior life but with the exterior life, the rest of the world. I wouldn't know what I thought, or who [...]

By | 01.12.13|The Sunday Poem, Words|Comments Off on The Sunday Poem : Erica Funkhouser

The Sunday Poem : John Lane

  John Lane (Photo by Helen Correll)   John Lane is a poet with the eye of a naturalist. Quarries. Cottonmouths in a creek. Civil War battlefields. Suburban lawns. These are the places he turns to for meaning. Lane understands that our relationship to the environment is a symbiotic one --- that there is a connection between the plastic objects we put into our shopping carts and a strip-mined hill in Kentucky. "John Lane [...]

By | 01.06.13|The Sunday Poem, Words|Comments Off on The Sunday Poem : John Lane

The Sunday Poem : Mark Doty

  Mark Doty at Readers' Books in Sonoma, California, after the publication of his New York Times bestselling memoir Dog Years (Photo courtesy the author)   Finding a memorable contemporary poem about Christmas is a lot like discovering a jaw-dropping piece of Christmas music. In other words, the task is nearly impossible. I'm a softy, it's true, but my tolerance for sentimental goo is as low as a cockroach in a crawl-space. I'd [...]

By | 12.22.12|The Sunday Poem, Words|4 Comments

The Sunday Poem : Janlori Goldman

  Janlori Goldman   It's hard to believe that the winter solstice is this week. For residents of the Northern Hemisphere, December 21st is both the longest night, and the shortest day, depending on your perspective. On December 21st, there will be 24 hours of daylight south of the Antarctic Circle and 24 hours of darkness north of the Arctic Circle. Today's Sunday Poem, "Winter Solstice," by Janlori Goldman marks the event, while also [...]

By | 12.15.12|The Sunday Poem, Words|Comments Off on The Sunday Poem : Janlori Goldman

The Sunday Poem : Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz

  Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz with poet Taylor Mali at the WordXWord Festival in Massachusetts   Thanks to all of the readers who have contributed to the Gwarlingo Membership Drive. Just over $4000 of the $15,000 goal has been raised in the first three days, which has exceeded my expectations. Thank you! Art work by Matthew Northridge, Bill Jacobson, and Rachel Perry Welty quickly sold out, and the interactive Member Profiles available to donors [...]

By | 12.09.12|The Sunday Poem, Words|1 Comment

The Sunday Poem : Caitlin Doyle

  Poet Caitlin Doyle (Photo by Mike Robinson)   Rhyme is tricky business for a contemporary poet. In an environment where free-verse dominates, how can a writer make a traditional technique like rhyme meaningful and innovative, and not simply a hollow, reactionary gesture against the status-quo? Poet Caitlin Doyle has been exploring this question through highly original poems steeped both in meaning and musicality. Whether she is constructing in free verse or in [...]

The Sunday Poem : W.S. Merwin & the Debut of the Sunday Poem Index

  Poet W.S. Merwin   I want to wish you and your loved ones a belated Happy Thanksgiving this Sunday. This holiday I'm exceedingly grateful to you for reading Gwarlingo and to all of the artists and poets who have contributed work to the site. In gratitude I have a new addition to the site that I'm excited to share with you... As Gwarlingo grows, browsing and locating older posts becomes more difficult. [...]

By | 11.24.12|The Sunday Poem, Words|5 Comments

The Sunday Poem : Anzhelina Polonskaya, Translated by Andrew Wachtel

  Anzhelina Polonskaya   I first met Russian poet Anzhelina Polonskaya several years ago at the MacDowell Colony, where many of the poems in her new collection, Paul Klee’s Boat, were written. While in New Hampshire, Anzhelina graciously offered to share her work at a local poetry event. She read each poem in the original Russian, while another MacDowell artist read the English translation. In casual conversation, Anzhelina seems quite soft spoken, but [...]

By | 11.17.12|The Sunday Poem, Words|Comments Off on The Sunday Poem : Anzhelina Polonskaya, Translated by Andrew Wachtel

The Sunday Poem : Bruce Snider

  Poet Bruce Snider   Bruce Snider's latest poetry collection, Paradise, Indiana, is a book steeped in place, from Midwestern farms, to taxidermy conventions, to interstates dotted with roadkill, to the Pick 'N Save, where the narrator's grandmother shoplifts. Reading the collection sequentially, a moving narrative unfolds about adolescent love and loss set in the cornfields and rest stops of Indiana. Although the suicide of the speaker's cousin, Nick, is the centerpiece of the book, Snider's [...]

By | 11.10.12|The Sunday Poem, Words|1 Comment

The Sunday Poem : Martha Collins

  Poet Martha Collins (Photo by Doug Macomber)   As a five-year-old boy, Martha Collins' father sold fruit in front of the Blue Front Restaurant in Cairo, Illinois. One November day in 1909, he was lifted onto a relative's shoulders to watch a bloodthirsty mob of 10,000 people kill a black man, and then hang an accused white murderer. In her critically acclaimed book, Blue Front (Graywolf 2006), Collins carefully examines the horrific event and [...]

By | 11.04.12|The Sunday Poem, Words|Comments Off on The Sunday Poem : Martha Collins

The Sunday Poem : James Arthur

  Poet James Arthur (Photo by Sean Hill)   "That feeling of becoming a new person in a different place, even if it's an illusion, is intoxicating to me, and always has been," says poet James Arthur. "I love writing about places, but only places where I don't belong." James's debut collection, Charms Against Lightning from Copper Canyon Press, captures places that are both strange and familiar. He is fascinated with the smallest details [...]

The Sunday Poem : Bruce A. Jacobs

  Bruce A. Jacobs   The Sunday Poem is back! Apologies to readers who missed the poem in their inbox last weekend. I appreciate your emails and messages. It's good to know that the series has become such an integral part of your weekend and that you genuinely look forward to it. I've just returned from a nine-day arts trip that included visits to Norwalk, New York, Newark, and Boston. Because the Sunday [...]

By | 10.20.12|The Sunday Poem, Words|2 Comments

The Sunday Poem : John Yau

      Poet, art critic, and curator John Yau was born in Lynn, Massachusetts to Chinese emigrants. Like a painter obsessed with the physicality of paint, Yau takes pleasure in words as words. His poetry is playful, surprising, and pushes the limits of language. “I do not speculate about ceaseless wonders,” Yau writes. “I go out and see if I might/ Find another remote and insubstantial form.” Yau is also a noted art critic [...]

By | 10.06.12|The Sunday Poem, Words|6 Comments

The Sunday Poem : Jean Valentine

  Poet Jean Valentine (Photo © Star Black courtesy Star Black)   No one has captured the essence of Jean Valentine's poetry as eloquently as the late writer Adrienne Rich: "Looking into a Jean Valentine poem is like looking into a lake: you can see your own outline, and the shapes of the upper world, reflected among rocks, underwater life, glint of lost bottles, drifted leaves. The known and familiar become one with [...]

By | 09.29.12|The Sunday Poem, Words|7 Comments

The Sunday Poem : Jim Daniels

          Last Day in Coldwater Our phone died due to lack of payment. I left her a note and trudged down the gray splintered stairs. She was sleeping the weekly sleep of the dead, the morning crash after the stairs burned down beneath her. After days of artificially sustained floating above the scorched earth. Paying bills required a certain sustained attention. We had cold water and nothing more. The unwritten debts [...]

By | 09.22.12|The Sunday Poem, Words|3 Comments

The Sunday Poem : Joan Murray

  Joan Murray (Photo by David Lee)   Today's Sunday Poem is a special excerpt from poet Joan Murray's project The Visitor: Poems from the Eastman House. The last time I saw Joan she was working on this series of poems at The MacDowell Colony. I asked Joan to tell us more about this project, which was inspired by photographs in the collection at the George Eastman House, the world's oldest photography museum... [...]

By | 09.15.12|Images, The Sunday Poem, Words|Comments Off on The Sunday Poem : Joan Murray

The Sunday Poem : Judith Kitchen

      (Note: Today’s Sunday Poem is part of Ted Kooser’s “American Life in Poetry” series and is made possible by The Poetry Foundation This one is for all of the gardeners out there!)   By describing the relocation of the moles which ravaged her yard, Washington poet Judith Kitchen presents an experience that resonates beyond the simple details, and suggests that children can learn important lessons through observation of the natural world.        -Ted [...]

By | 09.08.12|The Sunday Poem, Words|4 Comments

The Sunday Poem: Natalie Diaz

    New poetry publications have been piling up in my post office box, a sure sign that the fall book season is here. One of the best surprises that's appeared in my mail in recent weeks is Copper Canyon's When My Brother Was an Aztec by poet Natalie Diaz. Diaz, a member of the Mojave and Pima Indian tribes, began writing poetry in college. Many of her poems deal with the harsh realities of reservation life: [...]

The Sunday Poem : Hayden Carruth

          For Geof   I'm eighty-four now. Now I know what I Should have done. After the war I should Have stayed in the army. And now I'd be A retired sergeant or captain with a pension Much bigger than social security. Instead All those years of puzzling with a stubby pen- Cil over a dog-eared tablet of scrawly lines, Synonyms listed in the margins and arrows flying This way and [...]

By | 08.19.12|The Sunday Poem, Words|Comments Off on The Sunday Poem : Hayden Carruth

The Sunday Poem : Frank O’Hara

  Frank O'Hara by Alice Neel, 1960. Oil on canvas (85.7 x 40.6 x 2.5 cm). Gift of Hartley S. Neel. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. © Estate of Alice Neel. Art critic and New York School poet Frank O'Hara studied piano at the New England Conservatory in Boston from 1941 to 1944 and served in the South Pacific and Japan as a sonarman on the destroyer USS Nicholas during World War II. [...]

By | 08.12.12|The Sunday Poem, Words|2 Comments

The Sunday Poem : Merry Fortune

        God Quest   And when I have toilet paper I say thank you toilet paper god and when I have food I say thank you food god. Clothes: thank the clothes' god, shoes and accessories- thank the same god. For lifts: the elevator god, and wine- the god of grapes till I see stems and pits and oranges then I am lost in contemplation of that which is good and may [...]

By | 08.04.12|The Sunday Poem, Words|1 Comment

The Sunday Poem : Jorge Carrera Andrade’s Micrograms

  Ecuadorian poet, historian, author, and diplomat Jorge Carrera Andrade   "The images of Jorge Carrera Andrade are so extraordinarily clear, so connected to the primitive I imagine I am...participating in a vision already lost to the world. It is a place melancholy but grand."      — William Carlos Williams     Largely overlooked by American literary critics, Ecuadorian Jorge Carrera Andrade has long been considered one of the most important poets in Latin [...]

By | 07.28.12|The Sunday Poem, Words|7 Comments

The Sunday Poem : Adrienne Rich

  The late poet Adrienne Rich during her student days at Radcliffe (Photo courtesy Harvard University and the Radcliffe Archive) The Sunday Poem returns today after a two-week hiatus. Thanks to all of you who wrote and told me how much you missed receiving the Sunday Poem in your inbox. It only confirms what I suspected all along: that Gwarlingo has some of the best readers on the planet! Work-related deadlines and travel [...]

By | 07.21.12|The Sunday Poem, Words|5 Comments

Ruin & Repetition: Margaret Lanzetta & Susan Briante’s Utopia Minus Project

  I'm excited to share this special expanded edition of Gwarlingo's Sunday Poem series with you. The Utopia Minus Project is an art and poetry collaboration that has been in the works for nearly twelve months now. Poet Susan Briante and visual artist Margaret Lanzetta have been long-time admirers of each other's work, but when Lanzetta began a new series of paintings inspired by American highways and Briante published her [...]

By | 07.07.12|Images, The Sunday Poem, Words|2 Comments

The Sunday Poem : Kobayashi Issa Translated and Read by Robert Hass

        Translating haiku seems like a natural fit for Robert Hass, a United States Poet Laureate and recipient of both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for poetry. Hass says he likes poems that "get to the point." In the below video, Hass reads selected haiku by Kobayashi Issa from his book of translations The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, and Issa. Issa is considered [...]

By | 06.23.12|The Sunday Poem, Words|1 Comment

The Sunday Poem : Ravi Shankar

          Sam the Super   You wouldn’t take my bald father for a quirky man, since his bearing is quintessentially Tamil-Brahmin, a Tam-Bram for the uninitiated, with the firmest hand when it comes to discipline or studies. He leers at ham and beer alike. Believes what genes conspire within him makes him purer than you. Not the sort of man you’d ever imagine would in top hat willingly stand [...]

By | 06.16.12|The Sunday Poem, Words|Comments Off on The Sunday Poem : Ravi Shankar

The Sunday Poem : Carl Dennis

        Missing   If I told you simply that the bed in the Baptist Hospital Last occupied by Cora Stokes is empty again, And the patient didn’t go home, you’d be likely Not to feel much interest.  So I’m adding here The news that she’s gone missing, that any tip On her whereabouts will be highly prized. Cora Stokes, female, African-American, Forty-seven, five feet, five inches, Slender, with a mole on her [...]

By | 06.02.12|The Sunday Poem, Words|2 Comments

The Sunday Poem : Gregory Orr

        Memorial Day   1 After our march from the Hudson to the top of Cemetery Hill, we Boy Scouts proudly endured the sermons and hot sun while Girl Scouts lolled among graves in the maple shade. When members of the veterans’ honor guard aimed their bone-white rifles skyward and fired, I glimpsed beneath one metal helmet the salmon-pink flesh of Mr. Webber’s nose, restored after shrapnel tore it.   [...]

By | 05.26.12|The Sunday Poem, Words|1 Comment

A Sunday Poem Exclusive : The Debut of Mary Ruefle’s Erasure “Melody”

    When Mary Ruefle's book Melody: The Story of a Child arrived in the mail several weeks ago, I could smell the musty, antique pages and the faint whiff of stale cigarette smoke before I even opened the package. The beige envelope arrived by U.S. Postal Service, without insurance and without tracking--a method that is not only cheaper, but also less conspicuous, as Ruefle explained to me on the phone one afternoon. Ruefle is [...]

The Sunday Poem : Carol Muske-Dukes

    Home-Boys: Baby & Me (a Sapphic) Ex-gang members. Driveby days over. Zero Tattoos, tagging. Sippy cups, hoodies. Baby Daddies gather, stubble-cheeked, holding infants. Rock-a-bye Central.   Awkward former enemies, rubbing elbows, Slow-bounce babies: parachute cradle. X-nay Gangsta language – A is for Apple, only. Alphabet shakedown.   Toddler nap-time. Whispering pretty teen-age Mothers. Foxy counterparts, purple lipstick, Dreamy I-Pod lullaby, off-key. Next up: Diapering for two.   Outside: L.A. traffic jam, [...]

By | 05.13.12|The Sunday Poem, Words|Comments Off on The Sunday Poem : Carol Muske-Dukes

The Sunday Poem : Alicia Suskin Ostriker

    (Note: Today's Sunday Poem is part of Ted Kooser's "American Life in Poetry" series and is made possible by The Poetry Foundation) Alicia Suskin Ostriker is one of our country’s finest poets. She lives in Princeton, New Jersey. I thought that today you might like to have us offer you a poem full of blessings. --TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE, 2004-2006       The Blessing of the Old Woman, the Tulip, and [...]

By | 05.05.12|The Sunday Poem, Words|3 Comments

The Sunday Poem: Maureen McLane

        Adventure in the Clover or Today’s Destruction, Averted   Adventure in the clover cleaving the hours & the bees on a lawn thus far immune to a fungus elsewhere killing them. Why write music anymore why have a family the composer unmade the world in advance of its predicted end. We cannot bear his suspension which only the careless robins resolve and a low drone of bees whose venturing [...]

By | 05.01.12|The Sunday Poem, Words|1 Comment

The Sunday Poem : Noelle Kocot

    Noelle Kocot's latest book of poetry, The Bigger World, is a collection of  character sketches. Told in a straightforward, surreal style---one that recalls folktales, ancient myths, and fairytales---Kocot has stripped each piece down to its essentials. These short, accessible poems are funny, moving, and sometimes absurd, but always entertaining. "I wrote these poems in fifty days," Noelle explained in an interview with the Rumpus Poetry Book Club. "It was a grueling process, because I [...]

By | 04.21.12|The Sunday Poem, Words|3 Comments

The Sunday Poem : Gennady Aygi, Translated by Sarah Valentine

    Gennady Aygi (1934-2006) is widely considered to be one of the great avant-garde poets from the former Soviet Union. He was born in Chuvashia, a territory located in the western part of Russia. In 1958 he was expelled from the Literary Institute in Moscow for his first book of poems, which was condemned by the censors as "hostile poetry" because it was written in Chuvash. Being an outsider in the Russian empire had a profound [...]

By | 04.07.12|Images, The Sunday Poem, Words|2 Comments

The Sunday Poem : Aimee Nezhukumatathil

        Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia —The fear of long words   On the first day of classes, I secretly beg my students Don’t be afraid of me. I know my last name on your semester schedule is chopped off or probably misspelled— or both. I can’t help it. I know the panic of too many consonants rubbed up against each other, no room for vowels to fan some air into the room of a box [...]

By | 03.31.12|The Sunday Poem, Words|2 Comments

The Sunday Poem : Kwame Dawes

  Today's Sunday Poem, "Tornado Child" by Kwame Dawes, is one of many powerful poems in Dawes' book Wisteria, Twilight Songs from the Swamp Country. The poems in this collection are based on Dawes' conversations with the elders of Sumter, South Carolina, who shared their memories of growing up in the Deep South under Jim Crow. Dawes skillfully channels the voices of Sumter's elderly African-American women---beauticians, seamstresses, teachers, domestic workers and farmers who [...]

By | 03.24.12|Greatest Hits, The Sunday Poem, Words|Comments Off on The Sunday Poem : Kwame Dawes

The Sunday Poem : Jane Kenyon

        After an Illness, Walking the Dog   Wet things smell stronger, and I suppose his main regret is that he can sniff just one at a time. In a frenzy of delight he runs way up the sandy road— scored by freshets after five days of rain. Every pebble gleams, every leaf. When I whistle he halts abruptly and steps in a circle, swings his extravagant tail. Then he rolls and [...]

The Sunday Poem : Nick Flynn

    I've been a long-time admirer of the writer Nick Flynn. Unlike some writers who struggle to find their subject matter, Nick has had more than his fair share of life experience--the kind that can either eat a writer alive or supply a writer with an entire career's worth of memorable material. Nick has worked as a ship's captain, an electrician, and as a case-worker with homeless adults. His parents divorced when he [...]

By | 03.04.12|The Sunday Poem, Words|3 Comments

The Sunday Poem: Sierra Nelson and Loren Erdrich

  If you're close to me in age and were a voracious reader as a young person, you undoubtedly remember the Choose Your Own Adventure books, a series created by Edward Packard and originally published by Constance Cappel's and R.A. Montgomery's Vermont Crossroads Press in 1976. The books were written from a second-person point of view, with the reader making choices to determine the protagonist's actions and the plot's outcome. Choose Your Own [...]

By | 02.25.12|Images, The Sunday Poem, Words|1 Comment

The Sunday Poem: Seamus Heaney

    I must admit that I have a soft spot for the Irish poet Seamus Heaney. I scored a copy of his book Poems: 1965-1975 when I was a teenager. The collection is a compilation of Heaney's earliest books, Death of a Naturalist, Door into the Dark, Wintering Out, and North. Along with the collected poems of T.S. Eliot, Heaney's book was a volume I turned to again and again in my [...]

By | 02.18.12|The Sunday Poem, Words|5 Comments

The Sunday Poem: Naomi Shihab Nye

      This Sunday I have a humorous, poignant poem by Naomi Shihab Nye to share. Nye's found poem, which is comprised entirely of statements made by her young son, is a reminder that we're surrounded by comic, inventive language on a daily basis, but that we often overlook the poetry in these everyday encounters. In her introduction, Nye quotes the poet William Stafford. When people asked him, "When did you become [...]

The Sunday Poem: Rodney Jones

      The Eviction   My privilege to have witnessed this, so late in the middle of the twentieth century that already it seemed historical, almost like having seen Erasmus or Thucydides: a shack at the end of a field road, an eczema of garden, domineckers on the porch-- the whole place stank of sweat, coal oil, and excrement, and under it, the ghosts of things rotted and desiccated so far past the organic [...]

By | 02.04.12|The Sunday Poem, Words|2 Comments

The Sunday Poem: Kevin Young

  I have a special video version of the Sunday Poem for you today by Kevin Young, one of my favorite contemporary poets. In this short clip from the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival, Young reads his poem "Aunties," which appears in his collection Dear Darkness: Poems. Young is a talented reader of his own work, and a recitation really makes his poetry shine. Enjoy the poem and your Sunday!         About Kevin [...]

By | 01.29.12|Greatest Hits, The Sunday Poem, Words|Comments Off on The Sunday Poem: Kevin Young

The Sunday Poem: Donald Hall

      The Coffee Cup The newspaper, the coffee cup, the dog's    impatience for his morning walk: These fibers braid the ordinary mystery.    After the marriage of lovers the children came, and the schoolbus    that stopped to pick up the children, and the expected death of the retired    mailman Anthony "Cat" Middleton who drove the schoolbus for a whole    schoolyear, a persistence enduring forever in the soul of Marilyn    who was six years old [...]

The Sunday Poem: Tung-Hui Hu

        Early Winter, After Sappho   Some say the air of early winter moving through windows. For some, black ships coming towards the city are the quietest sounds on earth. But I say it is with whomever one loves. And very easily proved: when we are trying to think of something to say to each other, each remembering back who said what, the ground we’ve already covered, you can hear all the [...]

By | 01.14.12|The Sunday Poem, Words|Comments Off on The Sunday Poem: Tung-Hui Hu

On the Anniversary of the Tucson Shooting: A New Work by Deanne Stillman

  Today marks the one-year anniversary of the Tucson shooting that killed six and injured Representative Gabrielle Giffords and twelve others. In place of the usual Sunday Poem, I'm delighted to share with you a new work by Deanne Stillman called "Reflections in a D’Back’s Eye," which is a literary meditation on the events in Tucson. Also exceptionally, the piece is preceded by an interview with the author that provides additional context. Stillman is [...]

By | 01.08.12|News, The Sunday Poem, Words|2 Comments

The Sunday Poem: Iain Haley Pollock

        Child of the Sun   Great Great Aunt Aida trained her lapdog to attack dark-skinned men. A shake of her high-yaller head and a suck on her ivory teeth, and the Scottish terrier slipped through the fence pickets to nip at a tar baby's ankles. Somewhere in her heaven, Aunt Aida fusses today: the lightest Haley yet, naked to the waist in a plastic lawn chair, I'm a line cook browning [...]

By | 12.30.11|The Sunday Poem, Words|1 Comment

The Sunday Poem: Matthew Zapruder

        Poem Without Intimacy   the other day I was shopping in one of those giant incredibly brightly lit stores you can apparently see from space wheeling a massive empty cart thinking this is a lot like thinking why do I go to sleep not having brushed my teeth and dream of the giant failure known as high school again on the loudspeaker was a familiar song by Quicksilver Messenger Service there [...]

The Sunday Poem: Jen Bervin

        From The Desert           About Jen Bervin Jen Bervin's work brings together text and textile in a practice that encompasses poetry, archival research, artist books, and large-scale art works. The Desert is a poem Bervin wrote by sewing row by row, line by line, across 130 pages of John Van Dyke's, The Desert: Further Studies in Natural Appearances (1901). She used atmospheric fields of pale blue zigzag stitching [...]

The Sunday Poem: Christopher Robinson

        Hotdog     They salvaged only what was vital, leaving behind their most precious belongings, including Aunt Beale’s watercolors, which were lost, and the thousand paper cranes Dad had folded to win Mom over, placing them on her usual routes, at the post office, in the library bathroom, that after the wedding they’d hung from the dining room ceiling—lost. They lost several leisure suits, Star Wars T-shirts, baseball cards and G.I. [...]

By | 12.03.11|The Sunday Poem, Words|Comments Off on The Sunday Poem: Christopher Robinson

The Sunday Poem: U.A. Fanthorpe

      Reindeer Report   Chimneys: colder. Flightpaths: busier. Driver: Christmas (F) Still baffled by postcodes. Children: more And stay up later. Presents: heavier. Pay: frozen. Mission in spite Of all this Accomplished – MERRY CHRISTMAS!       What the Donkey Saw   No room in the inn, of course, And not that much in the stable What with the shepherds, Magi, Mary, Joseph, the heavenly host – Not to mention the baby [...]

By | 12.01.11|The Sunday Poem, Words|Comments Off on The Sunday Poem: U.A. Fanthorpe

The Sunday Poem: Conrad Hilberry

      Negative Space   Where the body isn't - that's how dancers know me. Sculptors bend their clay and steel against my emptiness. Somehow, though I'm not giving it a thought, I nudge a shadow from a twist of bronze or change the way a breast and elbow size each other up. Writers like to wrap white space around their wit, but I'm not white, not bound or folded. I'm your zero with [...]

By | 11.26.11|The Sunday Poem, Words|4 Comments

The Sunday Poem: Matthew Dickman

          Lents District   Whenever I return a fight breaks out in the park, someone buys a lottery ticket, steals a bottle of vodka, lights a cigarette underneath the overpass. I-5 rips the neighborhood in half the way the Willamette rips the city in half, it sounds like the ocean if I am sitting alone in the backyard looking up at the lilac. This is where white kids lived and listened [...]

By | 11.12.11|The Sunday Poem, Words|1 Comment

The Sunday Poem: Matthew Yeager

      Alarm Clock   Cheap black plastic and green digital, in arm’s reach from a mattress on the floor, my oldest possession. Surrogate sun in a dormer, surrogate mother in a fuzzed early form – the unthanked voice, the backlit shape at the door – surrogate rooster, surrogate gaze of a lover propped on her elbow watching sleep vanish like wetness off a painted wall. Tiny raft atop twelve years, unsinkable shingle. Cheap [...]

By | 11.05.11|The Sunday Poem, Words|1 Comment

The Sunday Poem: Elisabeth Frost

Poet Elisabeth Frost       Monarch Those of us who survive are waiting for normal life, believing in the idea, though everybody knows from months of TV that the wait has extended impossibly, like a line in space or a rope stretched beyond all capacity. We see signs. Who doesn’t want some small thing to interpret? A dumb movie plastered on a fresh billboard, the diesel stink of a packed bus. Everything [...]

By | 10.29.11|The Sunday Poem, Words|Comments Off on The Sunday Poem: Elisabeth Frost

The Sunday Poem: Gregory Pardlo

Gregory Pardlo (Photo by Jay Franco)     Problema 3   The Fulton St. Foodtown is playing Motown and I’m surprised at how quickly my daughter picks up the tune. And soon the two of us, plowing rows of goods steeped in fructose under light thick as corn oil, are singing Baby, I need your lovin, unconscious of the lyrics’ foreboding. My happy child riding high in the shopping cart as if she’s cruising [...]

By | 10.22.11|The Sunday Poem, Words|Comments Off on The Sunday Poem: Gregory Pardlo

The Sunday Poem: Stephen Dunn

      Quieter   After grandmother's funeral, I rode home in a black limo built to hide faces like mine, and to schlep the famous to their galas, or high rollers to their ruin. Next day, in my little Toyota, I headed north to price the cost of forgetfulness at Saratoga, and give myself permission to scream. The nags I bet on that afternoon permitted only mutterings, though in the last race twenty-to-one Big [...]

By | 10.15.11|The Sunday Poem, Words|1 Comment

The Sunday Poem: Cristián Flores García

      an invitation to lunch   we tailgate the ambulance escaping the explosion of midday holiday shoppers gridlocked there’s the assaulting antiseptic odor and the head nurse suggesting we wait outside perhaps go for a bite to eat nothing for us yet not allowed in condition critical but stable to be back in an hour is an option and before we turn to walk out the doctor asks my father if he would [...]

By | 10.08.11|The Sunday Poem, Words|Comments Off on The Sunday Poem: Cristián Flores García

The Sunday Poem: Virginia Konchan

      American Gothic   I. Regionalist painter Thomas Hart Benton was naturally stunned by the commercial success of his pupil Jackson Pollock, whose No. 5, 1948, a “nest-like drizzle of yellows and browns on fiberboard,” sold for 140 million, becoming the most expensive painting in the history of modern art, and this, after the (near) seduction of his one wife Rita! Pollock: “She was the ideal woman.” II. Childhood:  hunger.  His mother Stella, [...]

By | 10.01.11|The Sunday Poem|2 Comments

The Sunday Poem: Jean Valentine

  Jean Valentine (Photo by Max Greenstreet)   In Prison   In prison without being accused   or reach your family or have a family            You have   conscience heart trouble   asthma manic-depressive   (we lost the baby) no meds   no one no window   black water nail-scratched walls   your pure face turned away embarrassed   you who the earth was for.         About Jean Valentine Jean Valentine [...]

By | 09.24.11|The Sunday Poem, Words|Comments Off on The Sunday Poem: Jean Valentine

The Sunday Poem: John Poch

      Forgiveness   Because justice must recede like a page number and because the dictionary of under is a tedious read, more simply consider the ground as those who pour concrete think of how it rained or will. Consequently, consider the sky, and pray like a murderer has died. When a person dies, it’s not a page ripped out of a book. It’s a chapter in another language nearly written. When toasting your [...]

By | 09.17.11|The Sunday Poem, Words|Comments Off on The Sunday Poem: John Poch

The Sunday Poem: Peter Balakian

        World Trade Center / Mail Runner / 73   There was no languor, no drowsy trade winds, or stoned-out stupor of lapping waves, only news, the big board of crime, corporate raiding, selling short and long. It didn'’t matter, I was no Ishmael. I just hovered there in the thick of the material--— at the edge of a skyline of money, rising in a glass box. It was comic to think [...]

By | 09.10.11|The Sunday Poem, Words|Comments Off on The Sunday Poem: Peter Balakian

The Sunday Poem: Bridget Lowe

  Poet Bridget Lowe       In My Study of Hysteria     The sofa is pleather. My gorgeous thighs stick in the late summer heat. Your cigar is papier-mâché, but you keep insisting it’s real; you even light it, in order to prove your genuine concern for my concern for truth. In my study of hysteria, we are riding on a train. It is autumn now. I am tired. My hair [...]

By | 09.03.11|The Sunday Poem, Words|1 Comment

The Sunday Poem: Jane Hirshfield

        Of Yield and Abandon   A muscular, thick-pelted woodchuck, created in yield, in abandon, lifts onto his haunches. Behind him, abundance of ferns, a rock wall’s coldness, never in sun, a few noisy grackles. Our eyes find shining beautiful because it reminds us of water. To say this does not make fewer the rooms of the house or lessen its zinc-ceilinged hallways. There is something that waits inside us, a nearness [...]

By | 08.27.11|Greatest Hits, The Sunday Poem, Words|Comments Off on The Sunday Poem: Jane Hirshfield

The Sunday Poem: Anzhelina Polonskaya

      Paul Klee's Boat Soon it will be winter and soon a nightingale with a bandaged throat, a plum tree in bloom, and a white hill pushed up against the door. Illness arrives like Mozart, sits down at the black piano and its voice touches with a single note. I see January, a blockade, you’re sketching Paul Klee’s boat, big on petite. It sails along, the fool, not knowing -- can’t brush the [...]

By | 08.13.11|The Sunday Poem, Words|Comments Off on The Sunday Poem: Anzhelina Polonskaya

The Sunday Poem: Eduardo Corral

          The Blindfold I draw the curtains.     The room darkens, but the mirror still reflects           a crescent moon. I pull             the crescent out,        a rigid curve that softens                        into a length of cloth. I wrap the cloth around                [...]

By | 08.06.11|The Sunday Poem, Words|Comments Off on The Sunday Poem: Eduardo Corral

The Sunday Poem: D. Nurkse

      The Present   We made models: this is a moment of happiness, this is a maple-shaded street, its yellow median line littered with double wings: some day we might know such things in our real lives, not just in desire. We invented Cherryfield, Maine, nine pearl-gray Capes with sagging porches held together by coats of gesso. Behind the scrim of birches the Middle Branch River glittered like the galvanized roof to a [...]

By | 07.28.11|The Sunday Poem, Words|Comments Off on The Sunday Poem: D. Nurkse

The Sunday Poem : Meghan O’Rourke

  Meghan O'Rourke (Photo by Sarah Shatz)       Extraneous The wind is alive, it lifts and swings; the river is alive, it drifts past the sugar factory; the grass is alive, it trembles or shakes, the ants are alive, they move through the brown grass; the dirt is alive, moist with rain. In endeavor and industry the stones among the earth all live. What then are you, captive of glass, moving [...]

By | 07.23.11|The Sunday Poem, Words|1 Comment

The Sunday Poem by Andrea Cohen

I'm excited to announce the first installment of Gwarlingo's new Sunday Poem series. I want to thank Andrea Cohen for sharing her new poem "Tender" with Gwarlingo readers. I'm a long-time fan of Andrea's work, and I'm grateful she agreed to be the featured poet for the series debut. Why a Sunday Poem Series? Of all artistic mediums, poetry may be the one that is criticized most for "preaching to the choir." How [...]

By | 07.16.11|The Sunday Poem, Words|Comments Off on The Sunday Poem by Andrea Cohen