Monday, August 27, 2012

The Mnemosyne Weekly: Poem Twenty-Six (Wilbur)

Richard Wilbur
From Things of This World

I've long admired Richard Wilbur's beautiful poetry, which is playful, formal, and perfectly polished. This poem, which I pulled from New and Collected Poems, but which originally appeared in Things of This World, is a little more whimsical than the typical Wilbur poem, so if you aren't familiar with his work, I urge you to take a look at one of his books to bask in his incredible range. Almost two years ago, David Orr of The New York Times Book Review stated, "At 89, Richard Wilbur still cuts a straight path through the shifting landscape of American poetry." How true this is!

And for your enjoyment, here is a link to Wilbur reading "Apology":

Have a great week!


A word sticks in the wind's throat;
A wind-launch drifts in the swells of rye;
Sometimes, in broad silence, 
The hanging apples distil their darkness.

You, in a green dress, calling, and with brown hair, 
Who come by the field-path now, whose name I say
Softly, forgive me love if also I call you
Wind's word, apple-heart, haven of grasses.

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Mnemosyne Weekly: Poem Twenty-Five (Rukeyser)

Muriel Rukeyser
"The Sixth Night: Waking"
From Out of Silence

Sometimes it only takes a few words to make a stunning poem that shoots into the heart of truth. These poems seem to roll into the waking world as if from a dream--effortless and surreal. Bless Muriel Rukeyser for this one!

If you're not familiar with Rukeyser's work, she was an extraordinary poet and human being. She was also a reporter and political activist, and she's known for her poems about feminist issues, social justice, and equality. 

In an interview with the Paris Review, former US Poet Laureate William Meredith said, "She was a very amazing human being and any traces of honesty in my life come from having seen how beautifully honest she was in administering her life and her poetry without any separation—you couldn't get a knife between the two things with her."

This poem, though short, so perfectly exemplifies the central role that poetry played in Rukeyser's life and what her poetry meant to other people. I hope you will join me in memorizing it this week!

The Sixth Night: Waking

That first Green night of their dreaming, asleep beneath the
God said, "Let meanings move," and there was poetry.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Six Weeks to Yehidah Back to School Tour

My darling Annalise and her two furry, bleating pals are touring like rock stars to ring in the new school year. Here are the first three reviews. Many thanks to the reviewers, especially, Amanda, who read Six Weeks to Yehidah twice to write hers. And thanks to the amazing Sage, who put it all together with such finesse!  :)

And here is the rest of the tour schedule:

August 18th @A Dream Within A Dream
August 20th @Breath of Life
August 21st @The JuGgLiNg Mama
August 22nd @my name is: Sage
August 23rd @Geo Librarian
August 24th @Crunchy Farm Baby
August 25th @The Reading Pile
August 26th @Broad-Minded Books
August 27th @Nomi's Paranormal Palace
August 28th @Beneath the Moon and Stars
August 29th @Little Hyuts
August 30th @Simply Shan
August 31st @The Things You Can Read
September 1st @Hidden Adventures of a Teenage Reader
September 3rd @Just Me, Myself and I
September 4th @Magical Manuscripts
September 5th @Choice Reads
September 6th @Appraising Pages
September 7th @Book Fidelity
September 8th @Miles to Go Book Reviews
September 10th @My Life. One Story At A Time.
September 11th @For The Love of Film And Novels
September 12th @Turning The Pages

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Mnemosyne Weekly: Poem Twenty-Four (Jeffers)

"Praise Life"

First, just let me say that, without question, there should be more postage stamps of poets. I'm sure all of you reading this entry would agree--and you might even tell me that there should be more magazine layouts, billboards, coffee cups, and t-shirts too. I wholeheartedly concur. But more importantly, we should be reading poems and carrying them with us in our hearts and minds. 

This week, I'll be carrying "Praise Life," by Robinson Jeffers, with me wherever I go.  "Praise Life" strikes me because it reminds me that anguish and despair are a very true and intrinsic part of this glorious thing we call life. Every time I think I'm so happy that I can never feel low again, some deep sorrow drops into my life to remind me that I am not immune--that, really, every moment carries the twin seeds of suffering and joy. Yet, like Jeffers, I choose to make the brave decision to praise life anyway and to remember, even when I'm happy, that suffering exists and needs our care and compassion.

Praise Life

This country least, but every inhabited country
Is clotted with human anguish.
Remember that at your feasts.

And this is no new thing but from time out of mind,
No transient thing, but exactly
Conterminous with human life.

Praise life, it deserves praise, but the praise of life
That forgets the pain is a pebble
Rattled in a dry gourd.

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Mnemosyne Weekly: Poem Twenty-Three (Berry)

"The Peace of Wild Things"
Photo Credit: Dan Carraco

I believe in serendipity, destiny, and what is meant to be. Not too long ago my friend Paula Todd King suggested this poem for The Mnemosyne Weekly, and then, last week, for Tiferet Talk, I interviewed Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, who told me that it's one of her favorite poems. Next, my boyfriend walked up to me with a printed out copy of the poem to suggest that I use it for Mnemosyne. At that point, I was already sold, but to top it all off, my Facebook friend, Corey Mesler, posted a list on my wall yesterday of people who share my August 5th birthday, and Wendell Berry was on it! So, here it is, the much beloved, highly recommended "The Peace of Wild Things." The poem comes from The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.