Friday, August 18, 2017

Poetry Friday: Sherman Alexie's HYMN

Sherman Alexie

 For Poetry Friday today, a quick link to a poem making its way around the world of social media this week. It's Sherman Alexie's stirring new song of protest, a poem titled "Hymn," which reads, in part, like the kind of poem you wish nobody in America had to write. It asks a lot of questions that need to be asked. And it ends on a positive note, one we can all stand behind:

           We will be courageous with our love. We will risk danger
           As we sing and sing and sing to welcome strangers.

You can read the whole poem at Early Bird Books (and just FYI: The photo at the top of the Early Bird post shows a young protester marching with a sign that reads "We can do better than this." I agree - we certainly can.)

The Poetry Friday round-up is being hosted this week by Kay over at A Journey Through the Pages. Head over there to see what other people have posted.

And don't miss Julie Paschkis's new post (about favorite books from her childhood) over at Books Around the Table

Friday, August 11, 2017

Poetry Friday: Elsewhere, Elsewhat, Elsewho

No poem for you today, just this wonderful reminder about where poetry comes from in children (...and does it still, hopefully come from the same place in us as adults?)  I found it in poet Dean Young's intriguing book The Art of Recklessness and thought I would share it with you today.

I ask you as a poet, reader, to always remember your first urges, why you wrote your first poem.     Everyone is a wonderful poet up until the third grade. I saw it when I taught as a poet in the schools. The sublime coincides with the ridiculous, babble with referent, the witnessed phenomena with the combustion of name in song of dazzling appeal, of play. The alphabet presents itself as an unsolvable mystery to be frolicked in. Words themselves create reality through music and incantation: "One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish." The proligacies of rhyme, its irrationalities bring forth new realities. The world arises from naming, and naming itself is a product of hilarity, invention, fortuitous accident, the elsewhere and elsewhat and elsewho, the imagination. So too darkness, the sense of desertion, profound isolation, inadequacy, that you will never be loved enough no not ever, connect us to the primary wellsprings of poetry as children. Same as now. 

We all need a calm moment every so often to reflect on the primary sources of our poetic imaginations. I know it's been a difficult week, if you read the newspapers, to find calm moments. But we do our best, right?
This week's Poetry Friday round-up is being hosted by Margaret over at Reflections on the Teche. Head over there to see what other people are sharing.

You can read my latest post at Books Around the Table here. And if you're in the mood to read my review of Megan Marshall's new biography of the poet Elizabeth Bishop, click here.