POWER OF POETRY #34: “Some Slightly Connected Thoughts on Crafted Vulnerability, Stage Fright, Beauty, and Gratitude” – STEVIE EDWARDS

I am trying to write poems that stand inside of uncertainty and still find things to praise. And I don’t think it matters if I praise my sore legs that keep walking me home from work each night, or if I praise the relief of night rain in my first Carolinian July, or if I praise an idea of a home I miss, or if I praise the mild infection in my right nipple for not being cancer, or if I praise my friend who has stomach cancer but keeps living beyond the rational limits doctors have suggested—it is all praising living. It is all beholding the terrible beautiful uncertainty of being human and saying thank you. I don’t think there’s anything more beautiful than gratitude, and poetry helps me to access it. Continue reading POWER OF POETRY #34: “Some Slightly Connected Thoughts on Crafted Vulnerability, Stage Fright, Beauty, and Gratitude” – STEVIE EDWARDS

THE POWER OF POETRY #33: AMY SAUL-ZERBY

  THE POWER OF POETRY – Amy Saul-Zerby   In order to explain the power of poetry to you, I need you to understand about metaphors. EXAMPLE: TIME IS AN OCEAN It brings things to you then takes them away It seems bottomless but is not If you stop moving, you will sink and drown It terrifies you. You might write this and think you’ve … Continue reading THE POWER OF POETRY #33: AMY SAUL-ZERBY

THE POWER OF POETRY #32: LEE ANN RORIPAUGH – SOUTH DAKOTA’S POET LAUREATE

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 world and through that desire, that yearning, perpetually becoming consumed by the world. A linguistic … Continue reading THE POWER OF POETRY #32: LEE ANN RORIPAUGH – SOUTH DAKOTA’S POET LAUREATE

THE POWER OF POETRY #31: SARA HENNING

    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 telephoned me, the tone in her voice desperate and fearful. Through rushed, slurred whispers, she … Continue reading THE POWER OF POETRY #31: SARA HENNING

THE POWER OF POETRY #30: LAUREN GILMORE

  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 memory so the page wouldn’t shake.  After the show, I was flooded with enthusiastic praise. … Continue reading THE POWER OF POETRY #30: LAUREN GILMORE

THE POWER OF POETRY #29: A.M. O’MALLEY

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 yard—a place where I spent many hours as a kid in the solitude that only-children … Continue reading THE POWER OF POETRY #29: A.M. O’MALLEY

THE POWER OF POETRY #28: “Warrendale, a Chance Medley with Lines from “Brother of Leaving”” – Cal Freeman

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 Catholic neighborhood with St. Peter and Paul Parish anchoring the community on the north side … Continue reading THE POWER OF POETRY #28: “Warrendale, a Chance Medley with Lines from “Brother of Leaving”” – Cal Freeman

THE POWER OF POETRY #27: Shannon Elizabeth Hardwick

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 is in an empty hall, either physically or metaphorically speaking, though, during a time of … Continue reading THE POWER OF POETRY #27: Shannon Elizabeth Hardwick

THE POWER OF POETRY #26: “REVENGE OF THE NERDS” – ROB STURMA

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. He called his music “edutainment”. He was teaching history and sociology over sparse beats. He … Continue reading THE POWER OF POETRY #26: “REVENGE OF THE NERDS” – ROB STURMA

THE POWER OF POETRY #25: DONNEY ROSE

   The Power of Poetry      – Donney Rose I came into poetry in a way that many young Black boys find an entry point to the world of creative writing, through hip hop. My older brothers were hip hop fans, thus I grew up in the culture and my appreciation of the music was heavily influenced by my appreciation of the lyricism its … Continue reading THE POWER OF POETRY #25: DONNEY ROSE

THE POWER OF POETRY #24: LOGEN CURE

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 talked a few of my friends into being my editors, then lucked into the opportunity … Continue reading THE POWER OF POETRY #24: LOGEN CURE

POETS ON POETS #1: “Muriel Rukeyser’s “Calling” and the Power of Poetry” – JOANNA PENN COOPER

  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 are doing? ​​​​​​–Muriel Rukeyser, The Life of Poetry When I came across Muriel Rukeyser’s The … Continue reading POETS ON POETS #1: “Muriel Rukeyser’s “Calling” and the Power of Poetry” – JOANNA PENN COOPER

POWER OF POETRY #22: “I WANT TO KEEP HAPPENING” – SARAH XERTA

  “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. I can’t talk about the power of poetry without recognizing the limits of the power … Continue reading POWER OF POETRY #22: “I WANT TO KEEP HAPPENING” – SARAH XERTA

THE POWER OF POETRY #21: RONNIE K. STEPHENS

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 me. I don’t know how it came to be. I don’t know what it will … Continue reading THE POWER OF POETRY #21: RONNIE K. STEPHENS

THE POWER OF POETRY #20: “I USED TO HATE POETRY” – DENICE FROHMAN

 Photo Courtesy of Conrad Erb, LiveConnections “I Used to Hate Poetry” — Denice Frohman For many poets and writers the story goes like this: I always loved reading, I had books everywhere, and started writing poetry early on as a kid. I’m not that poet. My parents were concerned with me getting excellent grades (which I did), but didn’t instill a passion for reading, especially … Continue reading THE POWER OF POETRY #20: “I USED TO HATE POETRY” – DENICE FROHMAN

THE POWER OF POETRY #19: ANNA BINKOVITZ

   The Power of Poetry ​Last week I was sitting in a classroom at Lesley University, listening to my professor Rafael Campo open a seminar on the elegy, and the power of poetry to “speak the unspeakable.” One example we looked at was Martha Collins’ poem “Her Poem,” which addresses some of the biggest unspeakables in our lives; love, spirituality, and yes, death. It’s not … Continue reading THE POWER OF POETRY #19: ANNA BINKOVITZ

THE POWER OF POETRY #18: “THE VINEYARD OWNER” – Lewis Mundt

THE POWER OF POETRY: THE VINEYARD OWNER — Lewis Mundt I.   Let me tell you two stories. The first: Somewhere in California, a man named Rubén Vásquez leaves his house with a small knife, planning to go to a vineyard and kill his father. Instead of finding his father, Vásquez finds the vineyard’s owner, who disarms him by knocking his hand against a tractor. And … Continue reading THE POWER OF POETRY #18: “THE VINEYARD OWNER” – Lewis Mundt

THE POWER OF POETRY #17: “OUTSIDE THE NARROW GARDEN” PAULIE LIPMAN

Outside The Narrow Garden      — Paulie Lipman On an episode of “The Green Room With Paul Provenza” (a comic’s roundtable of sorts), the comedian Franklin Ajaye made a statement that really hit me where I live: He said that the majority of modern comedians wouldn’t inspire him to be one now, that they lacked the intellectual acumen of George Carlin and Richard Pryor … Continue reading THE POWER OF POETRY #17: “OUTSIDE THE NARROW GARDEN” PAULIE LIPMAN

THE POWER OF POETRY- “BRAVE NEW VOICES” SPECIAL EDITION – KHARY JACKSON

“BRAVE NEW VOICES” — KHARY JACKSON I am writing this while at the annual Brave New Voices poetry festival, in Atlanta, GA. Several hundred young poets ages 13­ to 19 are gathered, after months of dedicated practice, fundraising and team building, to connect and share their work with each other for four of the most exciting days of their lives. This festival is but a … Continue reading THE POWER OF POETRY- “BRAVE NEW VOICES” SPECIAL EDITION – KHARY JACKSON

THE POWER OF POETRY#16: “THE POWER OF POETRY AS CATHARSIS AND HEALING” – SaraEve Fermin

The Power of Poetry as Catharsis and Healing — SaraEve Fermin The brain is a muscle that can move the world.- Stephen King In 2003 My world shattered into a million pieces, rolling across a GAP outlet as my brain exploded under it’s first Tonic Clonic seizure. This was the beginning of what I call my ‘decade of discontent’, a decade of my life that I … Continue reading THE POWER OF POETRY#16: “THE POWER OF POETRY AS CATHARSIS AND HEALING” – SaraEve Fermin

THE POWER OF POETRY #15: “THE POETRY OF A PERFECT COCKTAIL” – SAM SLAUGHTER

The Poetry of a Perfect Cocktail – Sam Slaughter I’ve never been a poet. The closest I’ve come—“songs” about teen angst and the like—are in a few notebooks hidden in my childhood bedroom. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve opened those notebooks since I turned eighteen. I tried again as a creative writing major in college, but was told by … Continue reading THE POWER OF POETRY #15: “THE POETRY OF A PERFECT COCKTAIL” – SAM SLAUGHTER

THE POWER OF POETRY #14: “POEMS ARE MAGIC SPELLS WRITTEN BY WITCHES” – ISOBEL O’HARE

Poems are magic spells written by witches. Ten years ago I had a dream that the Icelandic musician Björk appeared in the corner of my ceiling and sang to me about poetry and witchcraft. I think it took me this long to figure out what she, or at least the Björk-informed part of my brain, was trying to tell me. And this might be why … Continue reading THE POWER OF POETRY #14: “POEMS ARE MAGIC SPELLS WRITTEN BY WITCHES” – ISOBEL O’HARE

THE POWER OF POETRY #13: “YOU TALK TOO MUCH” – CRISTOPHER GIBSON

  You Talk Too Much – Cristopher Gibson   “CRISTOPHER!” Is what I recall most about school, the dinner table, church, or really anywhere I was with other people as a child. Anyone who knows me knows that I talk…a lot. As a kid this was in hyper drive. I just couldn’t seem to find my vocal box off switch. My father found it funny … Continue reading THE POWER OF POETRY #13: “YOU TALK TOO MUCH” – CRISTOPHER GIBSON

“POETRY SPEAKS FOR ITSELF (EXCEPT IT CAN’T ACTUALLY SPEAK AT ALL)” – TAYLOR MALI

Poetry Speaks For Itself (except it can’t actually speak at all) —- Taylor Mali Deconstructing the difference between the message and the messenger. I sat on a panel at the Brooklyn Book Festival recently called something like Poetry in Performance. Four poets were asked to perform a poem and then partake in a moderated Q&A. Normally I would have felt quite at home on such … Continue reading “POETRY SPEAKS FOR ITSELF (EXCEPT IT CAN’T ACTUALLY SPEAK AT ALL)” – TAYLOR MALI

THE POWER OF POETRY #12: “THE POWER OF GRIEF” – KIERAN COLLIER

   Power of Grief       – Kieran Collier I. My mother passed when I was 14. I say passed because it’s gentle in the same way she was. I could say she was taken from us, killed by ALS, but then the disease would be the subject instead of her. Or, she died, which always sounds so passive. As if she didn’t put up … Continue reading THE POWER OF POETRY #12: “THE POWER OF GRIEF” – KIERAN COLLIER

THE POWER OF POETRY #11: DUNCAN SHIELDS

The Power of Poetry – Duncan Shields Poetry uses language to surpass language. That is the central thought I’ve come to believe during my relationship with the spoken and written word. Effective poetry resonates with people. It evokes a response in the listener (or reader) that’s different from looking at a sculpture or hearing a symphony.  I find that music and imagery access a different … Continue reading THE POWER OF POETRY #11: DUNCAN SHIELDS

THE POWER OF POETRY #10: “WHAT POETRY MEANS TO ME” – CLEMENTINE von RADICS

WHAT POETRY MEANS TO ME            – CLEMENTINE von RADICS What Poetry Means To Me   “Make your own Bible. Select and collect all the words and sentences that in all your readings have been to you like the blast of a trumpet.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson Three years ago, I was in a bad relationship. One night, we had an argument … Continue reading THE POWER OF POETRY #10: “WHAT POETRY MEANS TO ME” – CLEMENTINE von RADICS

THE POWER OF POETRY #8: “THE SUPER POWERS OF POETRY” – JESSICA HELEN LOPEZ

The Super Powers of Poetry – Jessica Helen Lopez Listen here. When I write poetry I take on an extraordinary ability to warp, utterly break, and then mend again the rules of physics. Teacups may melt in the cabinets of my kitchen and my braided hair is able to drip with sadness. Or vengeance if the mood is right. My tongue is forked and I … Continue reading THE POWER OF POETRY #8: “THE SUPER POWERS OF POETRY” – JESSICA HELEN LOPEZ

THE POWER OF POETRY #7: BLYTHE BAIRD

   THE POWER OF POETRY By Blythe Baird The first time I was exposed to spoken word poetry, I was a sophomore in high school. It was a strike of pure luck. My first day back at school after months of intensive rehabilitation for mental and physical health issues, a special event called Writers Week was happening. I sulked into the auditorium with my English … Continue reading THE POWER OF POETRY #7: BLYTHE BAIRD

THE POWER OF POETRY #6: “A POND, A STICK” – DIANE SEUSS

  A Pond, a Stick I just finished grading final portfolios for two of my poetry courses, here at the tail end of the academic year when teachers feel foul, ragged, bone-tired, and heartbroken. I have found myself wondering if poetry is in a losing battle with Kim Kardashian’s ass and everything it represents. By now, even her ass is a distant memory. The image … Continue reading THE POWER OF POETRY #6: “A POND, A STICK” – DIANE SEUSS

THE POWER OF POETRY #5 – TONGO EISEN-MARTIN

  The Power of Poetry Tongo Eisen-Martin Poetry does as much as the reader is ready for. Does as much as the writer can walk through her or his walls. Therefore poetry is every stitch of an expanding universe; every stitch of an expanding universe speaking for itself. Or therefore poetry is a song you decide to sing to yourself some other time. The revolution … Continue reading THE POWER OF POETRY #5 – TONGO EISEN-MARTIN

The Power of Poetry #4: “The Transformative Power of Poetry” – Ethan Smith

The Transformative Power of Poetry – Ethan Smith On language When I first started writing intentionally for poetry performance, I thought my word choice was easily understandable, and was often frustrated when people were confused about the language I was using. Over time, I improved at actually saying what I was trying to say – very important when given a stage and a captive audience. … Continue reading The Power of Poetry #4: “The Transformative Power of Poetry” – Ethan Smith

THE POWER OF POETRY #3: JENNY DRAI

  “The Power of Poetry” by JENNY DRAI 1. I remember the poem that made me want to be a poet—it was Paul Celan’s “Night Ray” (“Nachtstrahl”) from Poppy and Memory. (I first encountered Celan as an undergraduate German major. Up to that point, I had written almost exclusively fiction and my grand plan in life was to become a world-famous novelist, preferably by the … Continue reading THE POWER OF POETRY #3: JENNY DRAI

POWER OF POETRY #2 – EBONY STEWART

    “Power of Poetry” by EBONY STEWART I remember being eight or nine when my parents finally got divorced. Or should I say, when my mother finally gathered all her strength to leave my father. She took us with her. I wasn’t sad, I knew they shouldn’t be together. I knew my mother deserved someone better for her and us girls. For the next … Continue reading POWER OF POETRY #2 – EBONY STEWART

POWER OF POETRY #1: I’m Uncomfortable Too. – by Wil Gibson

  The first time I remember hearing the word “poetry” it came from a family member who was making fun of poets. How dumb they were for thinking their words mattered. How silly they talked. How lazy they must be to just sit around and write all day. “Why the hell would anyone want to talk about love and flowers and stuff all the time?” … Continue reading POWER OF POETRY #1: I’m Uncomfortable Too. – by Wil Gibson

What Really Happens When Page Meets Stage? – Taylor Mali

Eight years ago, in November of 2005, I shared the stage at the old Bowery Poetry Club with my mentor Billy Collins. Because of Billy’s busy schedule, the event had been scheduled well over 18 months in advance during which time Bob Holman, the owner of the club, suggested that we try something new with the format: reading back and forth, poem for poem. Instead … Continue reading What Really Happens When Page Meets Stage? – Taylor Mali

POWER OF POETRY #1: THE REAL POETRY QUESTION – TAYLOR MALI

As my first contribution to this blog, I thought I should aim high and try to answer the biggest poetry question of all: What exactly is poetry? Haven’t people been asking that question and answering it—or trying to—for thousands of years? For as long as there has been poetry? Of course, that’s part of the difficulty in answering the question; poetry has been so many … Continue reading POWER OF POETRY #1: THE REAL POETRY QUESTION – TAYLOR MALI

INTERVIEW: Taylor Mali is Metaphorically Yours.

Taylor Mali is one of the best known poets of the last decade. He’s been a part of seven national slam poet teams, four of which have won the competition. He spent nine years as a middle school teacher, and worked to create 1000 teachers through poetry, finally hitting the mark in April of 2012. He has written two books, put out four CDs, and … Continue reading INTERVIEW: Taylor Mali is Metaphorically Yours.