an afternoon anthology: april 22

A literary friend asked for poetry suggestions. What an excellent reason to resurrect a dear old blog with a brand new post.

Here are your poetry suggestions, both classic and a touch ecclectic:

Anything by Emily Dickinson. Especially –

If-I-can-stop-one-heart-from-breaking

& even more captivating….

Emily Dickinson 3

Poems by e. e. cummings, like this favorite from a yellow poetry book I kept in my pocket and read over and over when I was eight and nine and ten:

in just spring

And another by him, I found in highschool in a favorite American anthology:

grasshopper

I don’t believe I’ve ever read something by Tagore which I haven’t loved, like this:

tagore poem

I love poetry in translation because it makes me re-examine the poetry of language, and especially poetry by the Deaf for it makes me re-examine the poetry of silence and of sound:

To a thrush on a mulberry bough,
Once on a time God said:
“Sing, little fellow, sing
A sweet tune for that girl there
On the lawn.
She is watching, she is waiting,
She is listening, listening, listening.”

The bird sang.

At the end God said:

“That was a good song. My choir
Back home was listening in,
And I think that We
Shall have better music from now on.
That girl there
Couldn’t hear you,
But she is satisfied too.”

– Earl Sollenburger

And because I am facinated by the words dancing and leaping and exploding off the page, I try to write poems myself like

I am finding my new voice
Amidst the sounds of these seas and cities
I am translating myself
From french, to English, to Hindi, to this
Amalgamation of the rest and unrest
I am capturing these actions, actors
Into nouns and verbs
I’m trying to fit the universe into words

– Ashlie Ariel

For more poetry, try the Poetry Foundation.

Where Inspiration Lives

In case of books, find your inspiration.

I only was able to read a passage in this book on an author who’s inspiration was his home town. He traveled the world to find himself back to the place that wrote him, and now, through his plenteous, sprawling antique and used book store, he’s rewriting his hometown.

I place this book on the shelves not far from where I found it. This is (one place) where my inspiration lives: The shelves of books.

 

word collection: abide

Going to make a word collection. You know, like hipsters collect obscure album art or children collect strange stones, I will collect words. I will put them in my pocket and at any possible moment reveal my treasure to the world.

My first word is Abide.

It’s one of the loveliest, softest, strongest words. It keeps going on – firm and golden and never ending as a wedding ring, tender and protective as a shallow, immovable as a fortress in the midst of a battle, or a cave in the onslaught of a raging storm.

The library is a boy and I have a crush on him

The library is a boy I have a crush on him. I try to never too forward, though I adore him. So, I tell you a secret, a funny secret: I know neither Dewey nor his decimals. I never learned. Why? Because I’m an absolute schoolgirl when it comes to this crush and I soak up every moment of the mystery of love. Mapless, I go exploring, and how I feel like a pioneer, how I feel like a conqueror! Today (I can’t help leaning into tell you this delight) I found his poetry. And it’s hidden in such a lovely way – there in the back right corner. Dickinson and cummings and Frost and Eliot – oh – I’m tingling from the sensation of words breaking out of their lines, words in revolution of thought and meaning and juxtaposition. Anthologies send a cool rush all over me. Complete Works awe me as mountains do. Then, in accord with sweet poetry’s fine nature of surprise I find a book like nothing I’ve ever read before – Deaf American Poetry. It eclipses any young man’s roses. No wonder I’m smitten.

 

a girl and a thousand books

Saturday afternoon. No one’s here.

Only a girl and a thousand books.

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No one is here…no one sees her as she runs through the book-lined cases.

No one observes the laughter.

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No one sees her peering through the shelves

like a small child

peering into a secret world

peering into fantasy.

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No one comes down the steps into the basement.

No one comes down the steps into the thick yet subtle

waters of old-bound hardbacks, fresh new paperbacks.

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In the place without sound

No one but the girl hears the words shout.

 

No one but the girl walks through and touches the empty spaces.

Not all of her finds them beautiful

Not all of her finds them tragic.

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Saturday afternoon.

A girl peers through the book-lined cases

Surrounded by laughter, shouting words, fantasy,

Surrounded by waters of old-bound hardbacks, fresh new paperbacks,

Surrounded by the empty spaces – beautiful and tragic.

She leaves without reading one of them.

She mumbles something about “the end.”

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…and a vintage coca-cola plate

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In case of books, read on a yoga mat with a Panera chocolate chip bagel smothered in sunflower seed butter on a vintage coca-cola plate.

Books in the picture: My comp class binder, a book on Communications, my travel-sized NASB (opened to Psalm 71), Blue Like Jazz, Adopted for Life, One Thousand Gifts, A Theology of Christian Counseling, and A Call to Spiritual Reformation.