Friday, December 30, 2011


Happy Almost-New-Year, Poetry Fridayites! Poetry Fridayistas? Poetry Fridaymeisters? 

I'm pleased to be hosting Poetry Friday on the last Friday of 2011! It's been an interesting year but I'm anxious for 2012 to begin - somehow, it does feel this year as if a renewal of sorts is around the corner. I'm looking forward to political conversations about the direction this country is headed, and a renewed commitment on my part to moving it the direction I think is best - kinder, more generous to those in need, more focused on the common good. I won't wax political here on The Drift Record, but I will say that a national election year always makes me feel a bit like it's 1968 and I'm back in Berkeley, nineteen years old, full of energy and hope, believing my friends and I can make a difference. In honor of the girl I used to be and of the hours I spent hanging out at City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco (I was a decade late for the Beats, but still - City Lights in the 60's!) and in honor of how much I read and loved both Whitman and Ginsberg, I offer up this strange, rebellious, charming, haunting poem by the pre-Howl Ginsberg himself. I hope teenagers are still reading poems with this kind of vitality, poems which have lines like "What peaches and what penumbras!" 

A Supermarket in California

What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whitman, for I walked
down the sidestreets under the trees with a headache self-conscious looking
at the full moon.
  In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went into the neon
fruit supermarket, dreaming of your enumerations!
  What peaches and what penumbras! Whole families shopping
at night! Aisles full of husbands! Wives in the avocados, babies in the tomatoes!
--and you, García Lorca, what were you doing down by the watermelons?

   I saw you, Walt Whitman, childless, lonely old grubber, poking
among the meats in the refrigerator and eyeing the grocery boys.
  I heard you asking questions of each: Who killed the pork chops?
What price bananas? Are you my Angel?
   I wandered in and out of the brilliant stacks of cans following you,
and followed in my imagination by the store detective.
  We strode down the open corridors together in our solitary fancy
tasting artichokes, possessing every frozen delicacy, and never passing the

  Where are we going, Walt Whitman? The doors close in a hour.
Which way does your beard point tonight?
(I touch your book and dream of our odyssey in the supermarket and
feel absurd.)
  Will we walk all night through solitary streets? The trees add shade to shade,
lights out in the houses, we'll both be lonely.
  Will we stroll dreaming of the lost America of love past blue automo-
biles in driveways, home to our silent cottage?
  Ah, dear father, graybeard, lonely old courage-teacher, what America
did you have when Charon quit poling his ferry and you got out on a
smoking bank and stood watching the boat disappear on the black waters of

[by Allen Ginsberg, Berkeley, 1955]
Please go to the Comments page and leave your Poetry Friday links and your descriptions. I'll gather them up and add them here as I find them throughout the day.  Happy New Year everyone!! 

Charles Ghigna (Father Goose) invites everyone to join him in posting a poem over at Poetry at Play, the blog of Poetry Advocates for Children and Young Adults. He answers the call with his own "Animal Metaphor Poem."

Myra Garces-Bascal offers us conch shells, split stones and other lovely images in a poem by Joel M. Toledo over at Gathering Books today.

The New Year promises to loom large today. Tanita Davis of [fiction instead of lies] is in with a poem about the new year by Ella Wheeler Wilcox. Tanita adds a dab of Walt Whitman and a smidgen of Stanley Kunitz.

Over at a wrung sponge, Andi Sibley has posted a poem by the new Poet Laureate of Philadelphia, Sonia Sanchez.

John Lithgow's Poetry Corner CD is the subject of Tabatha Yeatts's post today at The Opposite of Indifference. As an example of one of the poems included in the collection, Tabatha links readers to a video of William Blakes' The Tyger. 

Laura Purdie Salas has two excerpts and one entire poem from Paul Janeczko's multi-voiced evocation of the Holocaust, Requiem, at her blog writing the world for kids. She also offers us a writing challenge (I mean to take her up on it!) on today's 15 Words or Less

Maria Horvath ends her month-long study of the sonnet with one of my favorite poems (I've got it memorized and hope never to forget a word of it!), Pied Beauty by Gerard Manly Hopkins, over at A Poem a Day from the George Hail Library.

There are four offerings from Diane Mayr today! At Random Noodling, we are treated to a fascinating  explanation of the Japanese tradition called "nengajyou," an exchange of New Year postcards. Diane also treats us to an original poem at Kids of the Homefront Army, a poem by Muhammad-al-Ghuzzi over at Kurious Kitty's Kurio Kabinet, and - for dessert - a quotation from Robert Frost at Kurious K's Kwotes.

What a treat! Heidi Mordhorst is posting all 27 poems from her experiment in November with writing a poem a day (MyPoPerDayMo.) Check it out at my juicy little universe.

At A Teaching Life, Tara ends the year with two lovely poems by Naomi Shihab Nye.

Linda Kulp graces us with an inspirational reflection on what the words of "Auld Lang Syne" mean to her as the year ends, at her blog, Write Time.

Mary Lee and I are definitely in sync with our presidential reflections. Check out her review of Susan Katz's book, The President's Stuck in the Bathtub: Poems about the Presidents over at A Year of Reading

Get ready for the New Year with Amy LV's original poem at The Poem Farm.

Irene Latham, proud new owner of a Kindle, shares thoughts at Live. Love. Explore! about the Poetry Tag Time, P*Tag and Gift Tag eBooks put together by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong, and offers us a poem from the talented (and I mean talented) Steven Withrow to illustrate what kinds of poems were chosen for those three downloadable collections.

Doraine Bennett's thoughts have turned to 2012, too - specifically to New Year's resolutions -  with a poem by Kenn Nesbitt over at Dori Reads.

Ever lose a great idea because you didn't have a pen to write with, or no pencil, or no paper, or...? Check out Donna's origianl poem about these moments at Mainely Write.

Over at Hey, Jim Hill!, Jim shares wonderfully wacky wordplay full of w's. (Jim, congratulations on your acceptance to Vermont College of Fine Arts - you are going to LOVE IT, that's a promise. Welcome! I'll see you soon out in Vermont.)

On Sunday the list of Cybils Finalists in Poetry will be posted over at Check It Out. Meanwhile, take a look at the found poem which emerges when a list of titles of the year's Poetry Friday poems is put together. Even unplanned, poetry is amazing!

David Elzey, who loves real words like "folderol" and fake words like "gunplaxi" as much as I do, delivers on the folderol part of that over at Fomagrams. (Then do as David suggests and "imbibe freely" of poetry this weekend.)

Poetry is all about compression, right? Try a short and sweet poem with a long title - it's an original by Greg Pincus of GottaBook.

Kerry Aradhya interveiws author Doreen Cronin over at Picture Books & Pirouettes about three books Cronin collaborated on with artist Scott Menchin.

Carol over at Carol's Corner found some favorite passages from Anne LaMott's book Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith and turned them into found poems.

The bittersweet moment when you say goodbye to a child headed off to college is evoked in an original poem by Lorie Ann Grover this week at On Point.

And what a pleasure it is to finish up my Poetry Friday round-up (I think) with a poem by Pablo Neruda, thanks to Ruth at There Is No Such Thing as a God-Forsaken Town.

Judy at Learning to Let Go is in with a poem by Howard Moss. 

Don't miss Sylvia Vardell's Favorite Poetry Books of 2011, which I've posted at the very beginning of this round-up, too. Don't want you to miss the list - it's wonderful. Run out and find those books and read them.

Happy New Year, One and All!
Ginsberg - Young
Ginsberg - Old
Whitman - Young
Whitman - Old
Julie  - Young (serious short one on the right)
Julie  - Old (serious studious one on the left)


  1. Hello Julie! Thanks so much for hosting. Here is our contribution for Poetry Friday this week:

    I love Walt Whitman. :)

  2. Wow. Ginsberg always leaves me blinking just a little. Oddly, I was reading some Whitman just this morning - he always seems to be the right touch for New Year's. My post wasn't exactly meant for Poetry Friday, but since it contains poetry, and it's Friday, I'll share it anyway.

    Thanks for hosting today. Here it is.

  3. Wow that is a smoker!! Thanks for waking us up this morning. I have a post on Sonia Sanchez, Poet Laureate of Philadelphia.

  4. Yes to starting the new year with hope!

    My appreciation for the poem you shared today is growing -- I should re-read it more often.

    I talk about The Poets' Corner and share a Tyger video:

    Thanks for hosting!

  5. Hi Julie--thanks for hosting! I am not a Ginsberg nor Whitman fan, but I did enjoy the energy here. I really liked the melancholy of:

    Will we walk all night through solitary streets? The trees add shade to shade,
    lights out in the houses, we'll both be lonely.
    Will we stroll dreaming of the lost America of love past blue automo-
    biles in driveways

    I'm in with excerpts from Paul Janeczko's Requiem at

    And also with 15 Words or Less Poems on the photo trend of Batmanning at Everybody welcome to come play!

    Happy New Year!

  6. Thank you for hosting, Julie.

    At my blog, it's the conclusion to a month-long look at the sonnet, with one of my favorites by Gerard Manley Hopkins, celebrating the wondrous variety of natural beauty.

  7. Happy New Year to you Julie! Interesting Ginsburg poem! Can you imagine what Whitman would have thought of the exotic and the convenience foods of the 21st century?

    I have a New Year's greeting at Random Noodling.

    Kids of the Homefront Army has "A Ceremonial Launch," a poem that is based on an incident in the childhood of a friend.

    Kurious Kitty ends the year with a small poem called "The Pen," and, Kurious K's Kwotes' has a delightful quote from Robert Frost.

  8. Good morning, Julie! I love, love, love the idea that "the lost America of love" might be found in the supermarket, if only one shops with the right guides. Or maybe with the right spirit--Occupy the Grocery Store? I'll share this poem with my nearly teen-ager and see what she says.

    I've taken a sliver of holiday time to create a new page on my blog to hold the results of my November "MyPoPerDayMo"--all 27 are posted here, for better or worse.

  9. What a great poem to wake up to! You are right about the energy and vitality - I was quite swept away. Today, at "A Teaching Life" I have two rather reflective poems by Naomi Shihab Nye to close the year with:

  10. Hi Julie-thanks for hosting! I'm in at Write Time today with an update and thoughts on what "Auld Lang Syne" means to me. Happy New Year to all!


    We seem to be on the same wavelength today, Julie! Thanks for hosting -- happy New Year to all!

    PS -- HTML code for the Jan-June PF roundup hosts is here: Email me if that doesn't work for you!

  12. What words to begin the new year! Thank you, Julie, for the inspiration and hope. I, too, want to follow Whitman's beard! "Which way does your beard point tonight?"

    Today I have a light little poem about being ready for a New Year's celebration -

    Happy 2012!


  13. Happy New Year, Julie, and thanks for hosting Poetry Friday! I love visiting City Lights when I am in SF -- especially the upstairs. Wonderful, inspiring store. I'm in today sharing about my experience reading P*TAG, POETRY TAG TIME & GIFT TAG.

  14. Thanks for hosting, Julie. I'm in with Ken Nesbitt's "On New Years Day."

  15. My original thought poem for days you wish you had written it down: Unwritten Thoughts...<

  16. Hi Julie. Here's my Poetry Friday offering:

    I start my first semester at VCFA in *gulp* 9 days. Look forward to meeting you there.

  17. Hi,
    I have a yeard-end wrap up in the form of a list poem of all my Poetry Friday posts.
    I like A Supermarket in California. I was 15 in 1968 and living in SoCal. Remember those days. Thank you for hosting.

  18. Happy New Year, Julie!
    We'd like to invite you and all our Poetry Friday friends to come share a poem at PACYA.

    The Animal Metaphor Poem

  19. ah, ginsberg. a girl i like in high school once told me my poems reminded her of ginsberg's and i was ignorant enough to be offended. never did tell that girl i liked her. she probably figured it out by my cool exterior.

    anyway, all i've got for the end of the year is a whole lot of folderol.

    word verification: gunplaxi

    i feel another poem coming on....

  20. Hi, Julie! Thanks for hosting.

    I'm up with an original today (with another coming tomorrow, btw):

    Thoughts While Sweeping the Kitchen (After Taking Out the Trash)

    And happy almost new year!

  21. Thanks for hosting today. I've been losing track of the days over the holidays a little bit. Can't believe it is Friday already! Today I'm contributing a short interview with author Doreen Cronin about three of her picture books written in rhyme: Wiggle, Bounce, and Stretch! Happy New Year to you, too!

  22. Hi Julie,
    I'm in with a few found poems from Anne LaMott's book PLAN B. I was thinking about life with three teenagers (especially after two weeks of "vacation") as I was writing, but interestingly, LaMott was actually expressing her frustration with the political climate lduring our previous administration. Didn't know it was going to be such a political Poetry Friday! Thanks for hosting!

  23. I hope I'm not too late for the party! Here's my contribution, a Pablo Neruda poem. Thanks for hosting and have a happy New Year!

  24. What a lovely place to end the year. Thank you, Julie!

    At On Pointe I'm rejoicing and grieving my daughter transferring into WSU. Bittersweet!

    College Transfer

  25. Hi, Julie. Hope it's not too late to join the New Year's Eve Eve Poetry Party. I've posted my annual list of favorite poetry books of 2011. Check it out:

  26. Thanks to everyone who posted something for Poetry Friday this week!

  27. I'm almost too late, but just skating under the wire. Here's one from Howard Moss that I love. Thanks.