Thursday, June 13, 2013


I found some new (to me) poetry books at great prices!

The Dream Keeper and Other Poems - Langston Hughes

The title poem of this collection captures a great deal in its few lines. Langston Hughes is still one of my all time favorite poets.
The Dream Keeper

Bring me all of your dreams,
You dreamer,
Bring me all your
Heart melodies
That I may wrap them
In a blue cloud-cloth
Away from the too-rough fingers
Of the world.

Ardor: Poems of Life - Janine Canan

Ms Canan takes an unflinching look at the stuff of life, the mortar which holds our poems together.

Horrible acts of ignorance happen all the time.
Even as the bullet enters my heart too,
may I stand still and utter no harmful word.

May I be strong, invincible, honest and true—
understanding he is only an ignorant boy
who was told he was King—not vindictive,

laying my anger tenderly, with great love
into the casket I set on fire and burn to a cinder
Even as his bullet enters my heart, too.

To Gabrielle Giffords
in memory of Benazir Bhutto

The Woman Who Fell from the Sky - Joy Harjo

I think that this is my favorite poem from the book, although I'm not quite sure.

Sonata for the invisible

We are comfortable on the rich grass stolen frm the arid beauty, and
watch thesun beat on an ensemble of singers and dancers from a
horse people from the north who aren't used to the heat.

They illustrate different dances to the crowd, who were fooled into
thinking there's nothing left, but songs are a cue as to what walks
                                           among us unseen.

                                           Ancestors stand with jackrabbit and saguaro - all of us beneath the
                                           flight of dipping hawks.

                                           The drum makes a wedge into consciousness before the flute player
                                           begins a melodic flight on notes based on a scale that has nothing to
                                           do with the construction of a piano in Europe.

                                           This scale involves the relationship of the traveler's horse to the
                                           morning star and what the arc makes as it lovingly re-creates red

                                           Somewhere far from here it is raining as steady as the pattern the
                                           grass makes and it has been raining hard for years.

                                           The hawk makes an elegant scribble in the wing of mist and within
                                           this story is the flute player who acquires the secret of flying.

                                           I hear the opening of the Bear Dance I saw performed at the Holi-
                                           day Inn in Reno. Suddenly bears converged in that conference room
                                           as slot machines rang up pitiful gains and losses.

                                           We joined the bear world as they danced for us, the same as we join
                                           the dancers spiraling from this lawn.

                                           We have always been together.

The Ring and the Book - Robert Browning

For the longest time I could only find this in electronic formats (online, eBook). I finally found an old hard cover copy in a local used book store.

A novel in verse, coming in at 21,000 lines, it's probably not everyone's cup of tea. Here's an excerpt (remember, steep 3-5 minutes in fresh cold water brought to a rolling boil ... ):
And I am bound, the solitary judge, 
To weigh the worth, decide upon the plea, 
And either hold a hand out, or withdraw 
A foot and let the wretch drift to the fall. 
Ay, and while thus I dally, dare perchance 
Put fancies for a comfort 'twixt this calm 
And yonder passion that I have to bear, — 
As if reprieve were possible for both 
Prisoner and Pope, — ^how easy were reprieve ! 
A touch o' the hand-bell here, a hasty word 
To those who wait, and wonder they wait long, 
I' the passage there, and I should gain the life !- 
Yea, though I flatter me with fancy thus, 
I know it is but nature's craven-trick. 
The case is over, judgment at an end, 
And all things done now and irrevocable : 
A mere dead man is Franceschini here, 
Even as Formosus centuries ago. 
I have worn through this sombre wintry day, 
With winter in my soul beyond the world's. 
Over these dismalest of documents 
Which drew night down on me ere eve befell, — 
Pleadings and counter-pleadings, figure of fact 
Beside fact's self, these summaries to-wit, —  
If you are ever in Lincoln, CA, stop by The Book Cellar, on Hwy 65. It's a wonderful little store and if she doesn't have what you want, she'll do her best to find it.

. . . and a few new anthologies,
 which will be providing for many a post here in the future.

An Introduction to Haiku: An anthology of Poems and Poets - ed. Harold G. Henderson

This anthology includes a bit of interesting background information about the writing of Busson, Issa, Shiki, as well as a selection of their haiku and musings on the entire genre.

On translation:

An ideal translation should, I believe, reproduce the effect of the original, but I have found that the best any translator can even hope for is to reproduce the effect that the originals have had on him.
On writing haiku:
... to read through a number of haiku each evening until I found one that suited my mood; to learn it by heart; and then to go to bed with it.

Not a Muse: The inner Lives of Women - ed. Kate Rogers, Viki Holmes

Some delicious poetry in this anthology, and I've just started nibbling.

Male writers and poets throughout the centuries have turned to a feminine muse as a creative catalyst. But there is much more to us than providing a source of inspiration. Now the muse is finding her own voice. ...
The woman poet must invent her own metaphor for poetic inspiration; she must name a muse of her own.

Tracing the Tradition: An Anthology of Poetry by Women - ed. Linda Hall

My only complaint is that this is an impossibly slim volume, considering it's selections range from Anglo-Saxon times through 1995.

Classic Poetry: An Illustrated Collection - ed. Michael Rosen, illus. Paul Howard

A pretty book of classic poetry with wonderful illustrations. The style changes with each to capture the mood of the poem.


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