Skip to content
Advertisements

William Doreski (2 Poems)

Originally posted on Underfoot Poetry:
At the Grave of Randall Jarrell The clunk and rasp of building a wood fire distracts but warms me. You love the grunt and groan of chores, talking to the cats, paying bills we can’t afford to pay. Meanwhile I’m picturing a pair of cypress almost doubled over with ice in a North Carolina graveyard.…

Read More →

Wordsworth’s 1805 Prelude, Book 6: “No absence scarcely can there be, for those who love as we do.”

Excerpts from Book 6 of Wordsworth’s 1805 Prelude, on his friendship with Coleridge. Other excerpts are here.   There is no grief, no sorrow, no despair, No languor, no dejection, no dismay, No absence scarcely can there be, for those Who love as we do. Book 6, 253-256 I too have been a wanderer, but, alas, How different is the […]

Read More →

Sympathy for Suicide

From Bearing the Names of Many/The Lonely Young & the Lonely Old, just as illness and war are spreading: People are committing suicide all over the place. I am enjoying this in part because the people killing themselves were the type, only a year ago, most likely to condemn suicides as evil, as cowards, as cruel to themselves and to their […]

Read More →

Irene Hergottova (7 Poems)

Originally posted on Underfoot Poetry:
Nothing of Me on the Moon The moon where I live sucks up all darkness, it’s a pond upside down. The moon that I know casts a circle of brightness, a Chinese lantern in the sky. Like a pot of honey never falling, she just sits there, waiting for my glance. I no longer ask…

Read More →

Speaking of Short Stories

Back when I used to do a lot of readings, I would start out by sharing somebody else’s work, and I realize that I should do the equivalent of that with the release of my book of stories, The Lonely Young & the Lonely Old. The person that comes to mind is the late William Trevor, whose Last Stories was […]

Read More →

Review of Hymns & Lamentations

Hymns & Lamentations

Check out the poet Tom Laichas’s review, here, of my 2011 book Hymns and Lamentations, a collection poems on the unsolvable religious problems of suffering and joy. It’s an immensely generous and thorough look at the book, probably the best it’s gotten so far. You can still order the book here.  

Read More →

Pablo Cuzco (5 Poems)

Originally posted on Underfoot Poetry:
Flowers of Dawn A yellow moon over the rooftops—striking in silence—blue sky, dark and twinkling—stars meld into street light—alleyways cluttered with bottles clink | a cat howls in summer heat— water washes away the smear | bleary-eyed and broken, I stumble among dust bins and sediment of the living—crowned with a halo—spirits | God and…

Read More →

Wordsworth’s 1805 Prelude, Book 2: “The self-sufficing power of solitude”

Excerpts from Book 2 of Wordsworth’s 1805 Prelude. Other excerpts are here.   Thus the pride of strength And the vainglory of superior skill Were interfused with objects which subdued And tempered them, and gradually produced A quiet independence of heart. And to my friend who knows me I may add, Unapprehensive of reproof, that hence Ensued a diffidence and […]

Read More →

Robert Pinsky, “The Figured Wheel”

The Figured Wheel The figured wheel rolls through shopping malls and prisons, Over farms, small and immense, and the rotten little downtowns. Covered with symbols, it mills everything alive and grinds The remains of the dead in the cemeteries, in unmarked graves and oceans. Sluiced by salt water and fresh, by pure and contaminated rivers, By snow and sand, it […]

Read More →

Marie Marshall (3 Poems)

Originally posted on Underfoot Poetry:
104 The river’s in constant re-set mode, sighting by its hand against the banks what’s up and what’s down. It has the tattoo of the sky in its eye. Two girls, leaning against the wall, ignore it, choosing instead to contemplate : hills and the warmth of each other’s shoulder, but each has plashed puddles…

Read More →

Two Gods – poems by Tim Miller

Originally posted on Amethyst Review:
Two Gods I. Esus with an Axe As if he were winter itself Esus goes at the willow tree, goes to prune it back for a time, promising a spring without blades. And as if they were winter itself, the egrets in the willow tree consider how the cold must come, consider where all souls must go, and surrender the willow to fly. And as if it were winter itself the marsh beside the willow tree cools and freezes and hides beneath ice, beneath the cracking axe of Esus, beneath the iron sun, iron clouds, beside the low willow in winter. II. Sucellus: The Wine God Every now and then, why not, give your time to the drunk old man – the hammer he holds struck winter out of the earth after all, and gave us the grapes that got him all groggy, the barrel overflowing and the jar overturned, the amphorae running over. He’s not the most graceful god, not in spring, but remember that his hammer is thunder, that his hammer is the reliable wheel and his body is covered in the serious signs that the dark of deep winter were made for – so join him while his hammer is on the ground and while, stumbling, he gives a smile over at you. ? Tim Miller writes about religion, history and poetry at http://www.wordandsilence.com. These poems are from a larger collection on…

Read More →

Images: Egon Shiele Predicts the 20th Century

Egon Schiele - Self Portrait (1911)

The Austrian artist Egon Schiele’s bizarre and brutal self-portraits, many dating from before World War One, seem to presage all the carnage and atrocity and alienation that were to come. And even as the more famous artists from the period, and their perhaps “better” work still feels dated and rooted to the time they were created. Shiele seems like he […]

Read More →

Risking the Sacred – an essay by Tim Miller

Originally posted on Amethyst Review:
RISKING THE SACRED Many years ago now, while living in California, I was sitting in a mostly-empty university library, surprised to find a literary manifesto in a fairly prominent US magazine. Seeing almost immediately that it was just a lot of posturing and attitude, I gave up. Turning, I saw that behind me on a shelf was a set of books, Civilizations of the Ancient Near East, an area of history whose religion and mythology—from Egypt to Mesopotamia and early Judaism—had always held my interest. I gladly pulled the first volume off the shelf, and put the magazine aside. Up until now, hindsight always made this the moment when I chose an interest in “the sacred in literature” over the much larger net of “literature” itself. But just as the order and meaning derived from religion is often used to oppose the random cruelty of everyday life, I’ve spent more than a decade writing a short book that seeks to deny this characterization and unite the religion and everyday life. I’ve also never bought the argument that science and religion are necessarily opposed to one another. So why would I have continued so long loving the rift (for lack of a better phrase) between sacred and secular literature? The first answer is because it was helpful. Any bold attempt to carve out an identity or a boundary for oneself, even if it is not technically…

Read More →

T. S. Eliot hits the highest notes

Some poetry can become so much a part of our own personal scripture that its status as “literature” is pretty much irrelevant. This is near the top for me: From “East Coker” I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon you Which shall be the darkness of God. As, in a theatre, The lights are […]

Read More →

Adrienne Rich: 4 Love Poems

from 21 Love Poems: 1 Whenever in this city, screens flicker with pornography, with science-fiction vampires, victimized hirelings bending to the lash, we also have to walk . . . if simply as we walk through the rainsoaked garbage, the tabloid cruelties of our own neighborhoods. We need to grasp our lives inseparable from those rancid dreams, that blurt of […]

Read More →

Ted Hughes: 2 War Poems

Six Young Men The celluloid of a photograph holds them well – Six young men, familiar to their friends. Four decades that have faded and ochre-tinged This photograph have not wrinkled the faces or the hands. Though their cocked hats are not now fashionable, Their shoes shine. One imparts an intimate smile, One chews a grass, one lowers his eyes, […]

Read More →

James Merrill: A Poem to Begin Things

Here is how James Merrill begins his 560 page poem, The Changing Light at Sandover, published between 1976 and 1982; it being the record of his conversations with a Ouija board, &  with the spirits of W. H. Auden & many many others: Admittedly I err by undertaking This in its present form. The baldest prose Reportage was called for, that […]

Read More →

Emily Dickinson Affirms a Soul

#1142 The Props assist the House Until the House is built And then the Props withdraw And adequate, erect, The House support itself And cease to recollect The Augur and the Carpenter – Just such a retrospect Hath the perfected Life – A Past of Plank and Nail And slowness – then the scaffolds drop Affirming it a Soul –

Read More →

Allen Ginsberg, “Paterson”

Paterson What do I want in these rooms papered with visions of money? How much can I make by cutting my hair? If I put new heels on my shoes, bathe my body reeking of masturbation and sweat, layer upon layer of excrement dried in employment bureaus, magazine hallways, statistical cubicles, factory stairways, cloakrooms of the smiling gods of psychiatry; […]

Read More →

Robert Frost: “Out, Out – ”

“Out, Out – ” The buzz saw snarled and rattled in the yard And made dust and dropped stove-length sticks of wood, Sweet-scented stuff when the breeze drew across it. And from there those that lifted eyes could count Five mountain ranges one behind the other Under the sunset far into Vermont. And the saw snarled and rattled, snarled and […]

Read More →

Elizabeth Bishop, “The Shampoo”

The Shampoo The still explosions on the rocks, the lichens, grow by spreading, gray, concentric shocks. They have arranged to meet the rings around the moon, although within our memories they have not changed. And since the heavens will attend as long on us, you’ve been, dear friend, precipitate and pragmatical; and look what happens. For Time is nothing if […]

Read More →

The Poet Speaks #13: Richard Wilbur & John Berryman: “The artist is extremely lucky who is presented with the worst possible ordeal which will not actually kill him”

Even though I’ve never read a word of his poetry, John Berryman has been haunting me lately. Two friends who are also poets that I admire deeply have both praised his work, and recently I’ve come across remarks from a handful of Berryman’s peers, reflecting on his life and his suicide in 1972. Here are two quotes, the first from […]

Read More →

Wordsworth & Eternity at St. Paul’s

I’m stunned every time I read this: one of Wordsworth’s best short poems (& that’s saying something), & perhaps one of the great poems period: St. Paul’s Pressed with conflicting thoughts of love and fear I parted from thee, Friend! and took my way Through the great City, pacing with an eye Downcast, ear sleeping, and feet masterless That were […]

Read More →

The Great Myths: Climbing the World Mountain (To the House of the Sun)

autographed copies of To the House of the Sun are always available directly from the publisher at 40% off (includes shipping), by clicking here   SELRES_1bdcfa3c-300a-48ef-b10e-893100acd61SELRES_1bdcfa3c-300a-48ef-b10e-893100acd& the mountain I ascended came from heaven: & the rock I walked on broke away once long ago from the vault of heaven— & so as I walked, I was walking on heaven: & […]

Read More →

The Poet Speaks #11: George Eliot, Ernest Hemingway, Philip Levine, Stephen King, Seamus Heaney: “struggling erring human creatures”

George Eliot, on empathy: The greatest benefit we owe to the artist, whether painter, poet, or novelist, is the extension of our sympathies…. Art is the nearest thing to life; it is a mode of amplifying experience and extending our contact with our fellow-men beyond the bounds of our personal lot. The only effect I ardently long to produce by […]

Read More →

The Poet Speaks #9: Geoffrey Hill, Robert Frost, Allen Ginsberg, James Merrill, Ursula K. Le Guin: “We are difficult”

On the supposed “difficulty” of his poetry: We are difficult. Human beings are difficult. We’re difficult to ourselves, we’re difficult to each other. And we are mysteries to ourselves, we are mysteries to each other. One encounters in any ordinary day far more real difficulty than one confronts in the most “intellectual” piece of work. Why is it believed that […]

Read More →

The Poet Speaks #8: Patti Smith, Toni Morrison, T. S. Eliot, Hart Crane: “I shall make every sacrifice toward that end”

As even “nerd culture” and all the rest just becomes another snobby fad and pop culture corner to hide in, Patti Smith suggests where the real “next” actually is, out of view completely:…when people ask me Who’s the new people?, well to me the new people are the unknown people. The new people that I embrace are the people that […]

Read More →

Reading between the lines in early medieval England: Old English interlinear glosses

Originally posted on Dutch Anglo-Saxonist:
A great portion of the extant Old English corpus survives between the lines of Latin manuscripts, as interlinear glosses. Generally, these glosses provide a simple word-for-word Old English translation of the Latin text in order to aid the reader, but various alternative glossing methods existed.  This blog post takes a look at what could be…

Read More →

Melissa Rendlen (6 Poems)

Originally posted on Underfoot Poetry:
Snowless Woods In snowless winter woods, tree trunk skeletons raise brown branches toward grey skies suspended softly inches above. Oaks cling to their few remaining dry dead leaves, like a mother, aware too soon her children will be lost. Under foot, crunch of leaves mold into the feel of soft mulch as dog and human…

Read More →

Go Ahead and Fuck Up

I’m not sure who the equivalent is for you, but Albert Camus was one of the first authors I found outside of Stephen King and Dean Koontz. The high school teacher who introduced me to him also laid an egg it took years to get over: the apparently insurmountable gulf between “popular” and “serious” literature; and so even more than […]

Read More →

How daily my life.

Originally posted on Awake & Asleep:
View from my desk, at this hour 25 March 2017 1:26 AM Manila, Philippines Dear M., What a holy mess, my desk is, at this hour. And every day, I suppose, looks like this. I sit at my desk and write and work, and somehow, without looking, the days have turned into another week,…

Read More →

Emily Dickinson (Forerunners)

Originally posted on Underfoot Poetry:
While some of Emily Dickinson’s more well-known lines had been in my head for years, I didn’t sit down with all of her poems until a flight from Atlanta ages ago, to attend my grandmother’s funeral back home. As Dickinson says, time does not assuage; but her strange words and stranger company of her presence…

Read More →

Art Must Be Political

Should anyone tell you that the primary duty of art (and of life) is to be political, to constantly choose sides and to turn one another into mere categories and the most minute identities, here are a few replies by Jean Guéhenno, written while living in Nazi-Occupied Paris. All come from his Diary of the Dark Years: December 23, 1940 […]

Read More →

Ken Craft (6 Poems)

Originally posted on Underfoot Poetry:
from the collection The Indifferent World Trigger This is where I held my breath— a stand of red pine, needles and snowdust scribed about my boot, cold crescent resisting a swollen finger itchy-numb with November. This is where a buck held its breath— mouth mid-meal amid the mast, a single line of berry drool spiking…

Read More →

Deep History & Old Childhood: 3 New Poems at Isacoustic

Immense thanks to Barton Smock, who just published three of my poems at Isacoustic. You can read them here. They are among my favorites from the past few years, and so it’s wonderful to see them all together; whatever it is I’ve been trying to say with history and mythology, landscape and autobiography, are all there.  Thanks also and obviously and […]

Read More →

The Great Myths #17: A Sacrifice for the Feast (Greek)

The cow came in from the field, and the companions of great-hearted Telemachos came from beside their fast black ship, and the smith came, holding in his hands the tools for forging bronze, his handicraft’s symbols, the anvil and the sledgehammer and the well-wrought pincers with which he used to work the gold, and Athene also came to be at […]

Read More →

The Great Myths #15: The Horse Sacrifice (Hindu)

Rig Veda 1:162 – The Sacrifice of the Horse Mitra, Varuṇa, Aryaman the Active, Indra the ruler of the Ṛbhus, and the Maruts – let them not fail to heed us when we proclaim in the assembly the heroic deeds of the racehorse who was born of the gods. When they lead the firmly grasped offering a in front of […]

Read More →

The Great Myths #12: The Corn Mother (Penobscot)

When Kloskurbeh, the All-maker, lived on earth, there were no people yet. But one day when the sun was high, a youth appeared and called him “Uncle, brother of my mother.” This young man was born from the foam of the waves, foam quickened by the wind and warmed by the sun. It was the motion of the wind, the […]

Read More →

The Great Myths #7: The Tree of Souls (Jewish)

God has a tree of flowering souls in Paradise. The angel who sits beneath it is the Guardian of Paradise, and the tree is surrounded by the four winds of the world. From this tree blossom forth all souls, as it is said, “I am like a cypress tree in bloom; your fruit issues forth from Me.” (Hos. 14:9). And […]

Read More →

The Great Myths #5: A Ghost Story (Icelandic)

After Thorolf died, a good many people found it more and more unpleasant to stay out of doors once the sun had begun to go down. As the summer wore on, it became clear that Thorolf wasn’t quiet, for after sunset no one out of doors was left in peace. There was another thing, too: the oxen which had been […]

Read More →

Happy Black Friday

For those who are out stampeding each other for flat-screen TVs, and for those forced to work so others can get their amazing deals, here’s my usual Black Friday post: When asked if the news of the day surprised him anymore, the poet Joseph Brodsky—who grew up in Soviet Russia and came to America in his early thirties—said in part, […]

Read More →

Daniel Bennett (6 Poems)

Originally posted on Underfoot Poetry:
Bermondsey Spaces By the corner forecourt of the Shell station the man eating ribs from a paper bag lets a crutch dangle on one elbow, as he picks his way through want and circumstance, under the gloaming, the overpass, beyond the river’s abstract mass. A light like fine quartz inside concrete ghosts our day. Low…

Read More →

Early Ted Hughes (Forerunners)

Originally posted on Underfoot Poetry:
Here are fourteen early poems from Ted Hughes, all of them from before the more well-known collections Wodwo and Crow. The powerful voices he gives to the animal and natural world, to history and mythology, to the experience of war, even to the theology of a sixteenth-century martyr burned at the stake, are well worth…

Read More →