POWER OF POETRY #128: JANE ROSENBERG LAFORGE
Our classmates were the children of rock stars, writers, critics,visual artists, film editors and movie executives. But everyone in the neighborhood seemed famous to us, just for having been there.
POWER OF POETRY #127: ANNE FRICKE
Sometimes the moments are tense, and the uncomfortable stretching and growing of the audience are palpable. Other times, the open-hearted connections embrace the poet with unshakable support.
POWER OF POETRY #123: RAY MWIHAKI
I’m the kind of person who bottles things up till they froth and bubble with the wrath of an erupting volcano yet …I realize more pain has been lived by those brave ones who choose to share their lives with us through art.
POWER OF POETRY #122: CATHRYN McCARTHY
Poetry distils the voice to its very essence; if you have nothing to say, poetry betrays that instantly. – @katysue1828
POWER OF POETRY #121: MACKENZIE MOORE
I never had a revelation that completely hoodwinked me into poetry — my parents were more Bob Dylan than Anne Bradstreet.
POWER OF POETRY #120: NISHA BHAKOO
What will Nisha Bhakoo, author of “You found a beating heart” (The Onslaught Press, 2016) and “Black & White Dream (@brokensleep, 2018), include in today’s #TPQ5? Find out inside!
POWER OF POETRY #119: CHRISTOPHER W. CLARK
Allowing yourself to become absorbed by the poem means you lose a part of yourself too, creating a small fracture. We might think of this as another gap being created, allowing for the new potential of ideas to be explored. This is the joy of poetry—for writer and reader.
Despite my attempts to have a ‘legitimate’ kind of work-life, this was not going to happen, and my Swiss-cheese work history led me back to the pen yet again.
POWER OF POETRY #117: NOREEN OCAMPO
Staying silent for two years made everything build up and burst, and it turned out that poetry was still my favorite way to make peace, understand, and remember.
POWER OF POETRY #116: LUBOMIRA KOURTEVA
We were never meant to know it all anyway – and learning to feel comfortable in the unknowingness is a humility to be treasured. This is something that poetry teaches us very well….
POWER OF POETRY #115: SHULY XÓCHITL CAWOOD
The best poems ask us to think twice about something. They ask us to see a moment in a different light. The poem, for me, is about how difficult it can be to figure out who we are and what we want…. – @shulycawood
POWER OF POETRY #97: CASEY BOTTONO
My truth rarely comes to the page easily, but it is always worth the work. Abandoning ‘perfection’ has brought me to a point where I can be utterly honest.
POWER OF POETRY #95: AMY SHIMSHON-SANTO
Aging has meant gaining and losing things. Two stolen bikes. Careers. Partners. A parent. Poetry never left. It shows no sign of weariness. It is eager and ready.
POWER OF POETRY #94: JESSICA DRAKE-THOMAS
Poetry is far from dead or dying any time soon. Like all art forms, poetry adapts. It will endure, so long as poets exist to write it.
POWER OF POETRY #93: TRAVIS CRAVEY:
These are human passions, after all, more than lust or greed or God: we want to connect.
I present as White, but I am of mixed race heritage. My mom is Italian-American, my father Mescalero Apache. I grew up hearing at home that I was never to think of myself as White, yet no one would ever see me as anything else.
Poetry moves. It’s transformative, and that transformation can be a catalyst for what we choose to make of ourselves, our stories, and our passions. Poetry is a place we can learn about others and ourselves.
I wrote for the joy of it, I wrote to make my mark on the world, I wrote because it bled out of me so quickly dropping it onto paper was the only responsible act I felt I could make.
I turned to poetry to calm my encroaching anxiety, and I’ve turned to it since as a way to remind myself that I am a part of this world, that I exist within all the good and bad that it presents every day.
POWER OF POETRY #87: AMEE NASSRENE BROUMAND
To attempt to tell all the truth—the kind of truth that slumbers at noon and wakes at midnight—requires slantness. Slantness is the language of night. Slantness is a gap in the facade of mundanity, a way for reality in all of its mystery to seep through the boundaries of language.
POWER OF POETRY #88: THOMAS STEWART
A word can muster a thousand thoughts. A poem can create a universe.
POWER OF POETRY #85: WILL SCHMIT
The poem is an artifact. Art as fact in the face a world determined to ignore the contemplative plaintiff. To hold the pen lightly enough to allow perspective to shift is to be attentive to the ghosts of chance, challenge, and chagrin.
POWER OF POETRY #84: BARTON SMOCK
You can’t catch a fish with the shadow of a bird. But you tried, right? You tried in that poem your friend wrote, the one where a stone ate a star. And is maybe still eating.
POWER OF POETRY #83: KARI FLICKINGER
Poetry has turned me into a piece of broken technology, searching the horizon for symbols. It has estranged me from everyone I once loved, from every notion I ever thought to belong to.
POWER OF POETRY #82: MDSHall
We are soothsayers and truthsayers; warriors armed with words to be placed into action; protectors of the Univearth in search of the multiverse…
POWER OF POETRY #80: LAUREN BRAZEAL
Her words pressed onto my consciousness with the immediacy of a blade to the throat, “It is not your right to feel powerless. Better people than you were powerless.”
THE POWER OF POETRY #80: STEPHEN FURLONG
He only stopped when he recognized his shoe was untied. He held such reverence for the laces and he asked us how we tied our shoes.
POWER OF POETRY #79: VENUS DAVIS
I knew that writing wasn’t about being the best – it’s about expressing yourself and being happy with what you’ve written. It’s not a chance for validation.
POWER OF POETRY #77: G.E. SCHWARTZ
And with that light poetry has the power to usher us into a brave new world, filling our senses with the energy of creation where every bird, tree, branch, and blossom vibrates as if by immance.
POWER OF POETRY #77: CHRISTINA CIUFO
Each poetic word, each lyrical line, each tone evoked and each enchanting rhyme within a poem ignites the orange-golden flames within the recesses of our minds and flickers its’ illuminating light behind our eyes.
POWER OF POETRY #76: TAMARA BURROSS GRISANTI
Entering that space of creation is the only type of churchgoing that has ever spoken to me. It is paying tribute to what I know of the sacred, it is the only way I know how to be prayerful.
Paying for it again felt dirty. I didn’t want to. Didn’t mean to. Tried so hard to just move along, but my fingers edged in that direction, teased at where they wanted to be. And I gave in. Closed my eyes, relaxed. Took out my debit card, and gave into the demons.
POWER OF POETRY #74: URNA BOSE
One can’t quite put a firm, decisive finger on when, where and how poetry collides, mingles, smudges and spills over into our lives
POWER OF POETRY #73: JOSEPH RATHGEBER
Poets excise words, omit and elide them. They break lines. Might as well break pane-glass windows.
POWER OF POETRY #72: MATT NAGIN
Poetry cuts through the bullshit. It declutters spiritually. It is an opportunity to dance, to experiment, to hone new answers to complex problems.
POWER OF POETRY #72: NOAH C. LEKAS
I wanted unrestrained access to the divine and I wanted to never have to ask permission or apologize for my ambition.
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR – CHRIS MARGOLIN
We are a community that thrives because once in a while people find a poem or poet or press they like, and purchase a book. I do this because I love the art of putting words together and making people think about life and all it entails.
POWER OF POETRY #70: KASHIANA SINGH
Poetry was the heirloom; I took along with me as I walked into a marriage arranged by my parents.
Omg. In my lifetime, moms were actually accused and hated, disabused themselves, for “making their sons homos.”
Poems can express themselves as fixed and as plastic, as grounded in space and liminal, heterotopic. They can be lively and spectral- palms kissing at the intersection of here and every elsewhere imaginable.
POWER OF POETRY #66: GIVING VOICE – CHRISTINE BRANDEL
“When I was growing up, the term for people who didn’t talk was dumb.”
I mean that “The Journey” by Mary Oliver changed the way that I thought about my own voice and value. Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass” brought me back to the world…
And sharing is hard; poetry has an awful stigma due to academia’s institutional stranglehold on the concept. Thankfully, however, poetry will always be of, by, and for the people.
Poetry doesn’t give me the power, doesn’t licence me, to say whatever I want in whichever way I choose. It rather forces me to attend to the potentials of language and to generate meanings beyond my private prerogatives.
This is when I realized that I needed to stop running from my fate and fear of failure and face the destiny of stanza, rhymes and climaxes waiting to be crafted before me.
Once I divested myself of my image of a poet with a capital P, as an old dead white man from the early 20th century or earlier who had intoned poems in an English accent whilst stroking his sizeable beard, my whole world opened up.
It’s clear to me now that poetry isn’t just a way for me to locate meaning in experience but is the very organizing principle behind my thinking. Because I can’t visualize in my mind, I conjure through language.
If there’s one thing that probably rings truest for me among all the things I could say about the power of poetry, it would be that poetry has the capacity to make us better people.
Maybe, sometimes, it’s because a particular poem needs revisiting more than once to understand what it’s trying to say. Or maybe it’s because the power of a poem is beyond the actual words, and needs time to discover.
In poetry, you find the life stories of each of us and as a reader, you interpret each poem in your own way, despite the real meaning behind the poem or regardless of the reasons why the writer wrote it.
“….the act of creating, of writing or of speaking a poem into existence, is an act of discovery, of discovery of meaning, an act of self-discovery—who I am at this given moment in time?
“We Blacks in space are Hoovers.
Who gonna be cryin’ in the 23rd century? / Not this hole’s grand grands. We define / the light until we all done letting stars be bright / ‘N suck up all the credit for nothing / they do ‘cept sit there burning.”
I can’t go to work and say to a colleague: I stay up late at night imagining animals being hit in the road over and over…
In this way I am an outfielder, mobilized on the balls of his feet, crouched, glove hand and free hand never far apart, poised for the seed of poetry to head my way following the sharp crack of wood at the plate.
Poetry has spread itself thick throughout my life much like this mint. I’ll write a line, put it in my pocket, roll it around a bit, and then hours or days or months later, it’ll have rooted itself and grown into something.
The landscape intensified into a fever dream of hail and sun, deep woods, shadows on the sea and boomeranging, shrieking swifts in the sky. I was watching Six Feet Under…[and] listening to PJ Harvey.
Today, writing this in a parking lot while my son gets ready for a hockey game, I have the word “miracle” stuck in my throat. But, poetry is not the miracle. Life is. And poetry has allowed me to embrace that.
For me, writing evolved into a way to better comprehend, articulate and even reshape the world. Now the work that excites me is writing that is exploratory
It is how both can have their salvations split in two in a single process. I think it was Jericho Brown that said: “Poetry has its own language”. Nothing can be truer in my opinion.
The whole time, I thought I was alone. But there were people just as pained and confused as I was. I found my community. I found my church. I kept returning every Sunday, sharing work I had written during the week.
Yes, I’m a poet and proud of it, and I don’t think I’ll ever want to be anything else. It’s what I would have said in answer to that old chestnut, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Wow! How many people actually get to have their dreams come true?
Some poems will remain within the confines of the therapist’s office. Some poems will never be known to anyone other than myself. Some poems I share with the world.
The power of poetry, then, is its ability to show us ordinary things in an extraordinary light.
I believe the intensity of a poem, the dense nature of a line, the possibilities of syntax, and all aspects that make up a poem work together to become a fitting medium for tragedy.
I don’t only want people to be entertained, but also for them to feel something. And the fastest way to do that is through poetry; you are framing a feeling and passing it on, even if it’s only for a brief moment.
Poetry is the real game of exposure. Really great poetry shows holes, the smallness, the seeking. We seek a connection to others that comes often from exposing moments on a page that you might be most embarrassed to put down on paper.
If done well, a poem can be far more powerful than a photograph, because you are capturing not just the image, but the emotional context and resonance of that thing.
I saw poetry as much more complex and rewarding than I had originally thought it would be over the years. Poetry is the one form that can take the readers to another level of meaning and power.
LEE ANN RORIPAUGH – SOUTH DAKOTA’S POET LAUREATE Poetry is the shape-shifting ouroboros of language, image, sound, form, and content held in infinite tension. It is the muscular pulse of sheened coil, forked tongue tasting the air. It is a voraciousness of language, hungry to apprehend and take in the
The Power of Poetry – Sara Henning I’d like to tell you a story about life’s untamable narrative that leaves us transformed. In other words, I’d like to tell you a story about my relationship to poetry. At 1:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning this past July, my mother
Two years ago, as part of my hometown’s annual literary festival, I competed in a teen poetry slam. For winning, I was given the opportunity to open for two of the headliners, Major Jackson and Robert Wrigley. It was a poem about my father dying. I read it from
THE POWER OF POETRY — A.M. O’Malley I first found poetry when I was nine years old in a beat up paperback copy of Alfred Tennyson’s collected poems that my father had. One Saturday, when no one was around, I stole the book away to my corner of the back
Warrendale, a Chance Medley with Lines from “Brother of Leaving” The Warrendale neighborhood sits on the far west side of the city of Detroit. I describe my childhood home and the neighborhood in which it rests in my first collection of poems, Brother of Leaving. Historically it was a Polish
Poetry, like any art, is about connection, either to our inner-self or to another being. In the darkest or most joyous times of our life, everything is meaningless unless our thoughts, emotions, feelings, desires are shared and not simply reverberated back to us in an empty hall. Let’s say one
The Power of Poetry: Revenge of the NerdsBack in the day when I was still a fledgling emcee with the acronym FIRST-MC, I wanted to be KRS-ONE so much. I loved his music and his proclamations that he was a Teacher and a Poet with the skills of an Emcee.
I self-published a book of poems when I was 19. Print-on-demand websites like Lulu were just beginning to gain popularity. I’m one of those people who has been a writer her whole life. By 19 I had plenty of work to create a book and I figured, why not? I
Faith is found here, not in a destiny raiding and parceling out knowledge and the earth, but in a people who, person by person, believes itself. Do you accept your own gestures and symbols? Do you believe what you yourself say? When you act, do you believe what you
“The Power of Poetry: I Want to Keep Happening” Sarah Xerta I’m hesitant to write about the power of poetry because I don’t want to romanticize anything. Anne Sexton said “It’s the poetry that seems to be saving me” and she still eventually killed herself. I can’t forget this.
THE POWER OF POETRY – Ronnie K. Stephens There is no origin story, here. No single point on the broadside of this universe. For me, poetry has been a series of planets dotting up the sky when I’m not looking, and suddenly I’m thirty-two with a galaxy spread out around