Poetry Sunday: “Chimneys: A History of East Texas,” by Betty Adcock

February 7, 2016 by Rebecca Foust

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By Rebecca Foust

Because the lines in the poem are all of roughly equal length, each section looks like a column or chimney, with the stacks getting shorter as the poem proceeds, so that the poem is also held together visually on the page.

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Poetry Sunday: “Survival: A Guide,” by Cleopatra Mathis

January 31, 2016 by Rebecca Foust

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By Rebecca Foust

In the heron, the speaker sees herself, aging and threatened by predators: foxes on the ground and the devastatingly inescapable “ruthless, overhead patrol.” But also, like the heron, kept going by some “blind” (not a matter of will) life force.

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Poetry Sunday: “Adjectives of Order,” by Alexandra Teague

January 24, 2016 by Rebecca Foust

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By Rebecca Foust

How do we, who have never known this kind of war and devastation respond to suffering like this? Everything we have to offer, including the language we offer it in, is of us, tainted by a perspective that cannot empathize with the plight of war refugees like this student.

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Cuba: A Poet’s Perspective

January 21, 2016 by Alice Pettway

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By Alice Pettway

Despite my best efforts, my objectivity slowly melted over the course of two weeks of travel. I found myself deeply inspired by not just the physical Cuba, but by Cubans and their dedication to and admiration of art in all forms.

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Poetry Sunday: “Word Pond,” by Susan Kolodny

January 17, 2016 by Rebecca Foust

By Rebecca Foust

The continuity of personal history and our ability to access it through memory and creativity are Susan Kolodny’s central concerns. How do we unspool the narrative of our lives? And what are the risks and rewards of doing this?

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Poetry Sunday: “Geese,” Ellen Bryant Voigt (Part 2 – Tone)

January 10, 2016 by Rebecca Foust

By Rebecca Foust

The tone here is complex, by turns anguished, stern, resolved, blunt, precise, and ironic. Overall, it is dark but not despairing, with zero self-pity or melodrama.

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Poetry Sunday: “Geese,” Ellen Bryant Voigt (Part 1– Syntax)

January 3, 2016 by Rebecca Foust

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By Rebecca Foust

This week’s poem is by Ellen Bryant Voigt, recent recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Award. A brilliant star in the poetry universe, Voigt is much admired for her poetry, critical writing, and teaching.

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Poetry Sunday: “My Father Used to be Selfish,” by Victoria Chang

December 27, 2015 by Rebecca Foust

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By Rebecca Foust

Before the poem even begins, the title reveals two of its central preoccupations—the “father,” and loss (“used to”).

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Poetry Sunday: ‘Fox Woman,’ by Dorothy Gilbert

December 20, 2015 by Rebecca Foust

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By Rebecca Foust

We see details of the decorous, eminently civilized inner space of the room occupied by the human “half” of the Fox Woman and her child; we see the child and feel his longing for his mother. We also see, in perhaps a way even deeper than is communicated by the art, the terrible urgency that compels the Fox Woman over the literal threshold, away from woman-, wife-, and motherhood and into wildness.

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Poetry Sunday: ‘Going Under,’ by Cheryl Whitehead

December 13, 2015 by Rebecca Foust

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By Rebecca Foust

Fear about a parent’s mortality is universal, lurking beneath the surface of most of our lives; in “Going Under,” the fear draws nigh and reveals a triangle fin.

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Poetry Sunday: “Words and Music,” by Laurel Feigenbaum

December 6, 2015 by Rebecca Foust

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Laurel Feigenbaum’s enthusiasm, vigor, sass, and dry wit, are appreciated by all who know her.
These qualities suffuse her writing, especially in today’s poem. I love the idea of getting the ultimate “do over” or, as she says, “how nice it would be to have a ‘practice life’—or as many as you needed to get it right!”

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Poetry Sunday: “Kanpur Central Railway Station,” by Liz Gray

November 29, 2015 by Rebecca Foust

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By Rebecca Foust

The poem describes an event that is a turning point in the larger journey, the moment when things begin to fall apart. . .

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Poetry Sunday: “Penelope’s Song,” by Jeanne Wagner

November 22, 2015 by Rebecca Foust

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What is being described is the state of invisibility familiar to any woman who has reached middle age, and this makes me wonder if Penelope’s “sin” might be her own thwarted lust for the suitors who spurn her, a complete inversion of the vectors of desire in ‘The Odyssey.’

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Poetry Sunday: ‘Privilege,’ by Barbara Berman

November 15, 2015 by Rebecca Foust

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The speaker implicates herself—and us—when she voices the recognition that going barefoot is a privilege.

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Book Review: ‘Paradise Drive’ — Poems by Rebecca Foust

November 9, 2015 by Laura Baudo Sillerman

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By Laura Baudo Sillerman

In her fifth collection, Rebecca Foust has managed rhythm and rhyme in ways that speak of someone who knows the rules so fully that she has permission to depart from them.

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