An April Quartet:  In Alto, Poets Face that Discordant Sound

This is how April will find us, still, in the throes of this great viral mystery. Who shall be next? Who will escape, sometimes, barely? Hold on! Persist. Where to find solace and perspective? In poetry, perhaps.

In honor of National Poetry Month, we have prepared a map of sorts. A poetic map of terrain only poets dare travel. Poets have not shied away from the most difficult moments of any day. We turn to poetry to reflect, find relief and to learn. A poem can teach us how to see our way through the most terrible of times.

The resource list An April Quartet:  In Alto, Poets Face that Discordant Sound, includes links to online poems, e-books and e-audiobooks.  You can partake of James Tate’s quirky way of teasing the heck out of the idea of death in The Government Lake or travel into depths reminiscent of Dante in The M: The Mobius Strip Club of Grief by Bianca Stone.

One excellent source for reading poems online is the Poetry Foundation.  Check out Janice Gould’s prose poem Flu, 1962 which demonstrates that, even, in the midst of illness the business of being a family never takes a rest.

A poem can change your world. It can bring a new perspective and understanding.  While there is no history without suffering, E.A. Markham has written a poem titled A History Without Suffering, proving the magical properties of poetry can dispel our worst nightmares.

While we see no end in sight. While no one is left untouched in these dire times, the library is a lifeline, still. Grab hold, we hope that you can take solace when and where you can in our offerings. The intent is that these poems will offer insight into the ways that pain can forge new ways of seeing the world and our place in it. They, also, demonstrate that someone will live to tell the tale. This is the future’s promise, hard though it be, in Desiree Alvarez’s Afterword.

The rest of this quartet will be sung in lighter tones and with lilting levity, that we may feast on the food that poetry can provide and pluck its flowering poems.

~ posted by Chris

Feminist Slam

Some of my favorite slam poetry fixes come from Button Poetry, founded in 2011 by Sam Cook and Sierra DeMulder, who were shortly joined by Rachele Cermak and Heidi Lear. They launched the first Button website and blog.

Sierra DeMulder was the first to pull me in with her poem “Today Means Amen,” from her poetry book with the same title.

Continue reading “Feminist Slam”

 Languages of Land: Poems of Immigration and Exile

Unaccompanied, you ventured into The Flayed City to find what? More Nomadologies, more Notes on the Assemblage and 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can’t Cross the Border.

Before the Afterland, there was that City of Rivers flowing beneath a Night Sky with Exit Wounds.  It was The Other Side of Paradise and, yes, the air tasted of SaltJanuary Children discover that Beasts Behave in Foreign Land[s], especially during the Hour of the Ox.

From Unincorporatied Territory, she arrived to new air brushing against blunt teeth, A Woman Without a Country, at last, arrived. She had Whorled around the world amid weather patterns, patterns of speech, inflections, stutters and lisps Looking for the Gulf Motel. On the tip of her tongue Dhaka Dust and determination. Continue reading ” Languages of Land: Poems of Immigration and Exile”

#BookBingoNW2017: Poetry

Bingo is a game of chance. Take a chance on poetry.

Reading a poem, for some, is akin to entering a country where everybody speaks a language, except the one you know. Poetry can be daunting.  It can, also, be a journey unlike any other.  Take, Josephine Yu’s Prayer Book of the Anxious, for instance. This work leads you into the unfamiliar familiar.  Her language is plain enough but with a twist and spin you’re traveling from the coast, back to third grade, to Wal-Mart only to find Noah’s wife along the way. Continue reading “#BookBingoNW2017: Poetry”

Seek the Story

Edward Hopper’s paintings were inspired as well as inspiring. Who could view his moody and spare piece, “Nighthawks,” and not look for a story therein? A recent short story collection, edited by Lawrence Block, called In Sunlight or in Shadow: Stories Inspired by the Paintings of Edward Hopper, makes that point. In the foreword, Block writes:  “Hopper was neither an illustrator nor a narrative painter.  His paintings don’t tell stories. What they do is suggest—powerfully, irresistibly—that there are stories within them, waiting to be told. He shows us a moment in time, arrayed on a canvas:  there’s clearly a past and a future, but it’s our task to find it for ourselves.” The authors that Block has gathered in this anthology are not your average fly-by-night writers—these ones have big names: Stephen King, Joyce Carol Oates, Michael Connelly, Jeffrey Deaver, Lee Child, Robert Olen Butler, to name a few. They all obviously have a ken for Edward Hopper as the depth of this collection demonstrates. Continue reading “Seek the Story”