Poetry Sunday: ‘Seventh-Inning Sermon,’ by Chiyuma Elliot

September 25, 2016 by Rebecca Foust


By Rebecca Foust

‘Seventh-Inning Stretch’ by Chiyuma Elliot knocks it out of the park with six tercets of incantatory, biblical-sounding long lines that inspire the awe we feel towards any art (including, I’d maintain, baseball) at its apex.

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Poetry Sunday: ‘Word Pond,’ by Susan Kolodny

September 18, 2016 by Rebecca Foust

Susan Kolodny book cover_after the firestorm_12-12-15

The relationship between memory retrieval and creativity is explored in “Word Pond,” whose 16 lines are characteristic of Susan Kolodny’s poetry in their taut suspension of few sharply drawn images such as the mossy pond and the broken watch.

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Poetry Sunday: ‘Tangerine Orchids,’ by Rachel Hadas

September 11, 2016 by Rebecca Foust


Perhaps it is the very unlikelihood of finding a connection between tropical flowers and 9/11 that allowed the image to penetrate the speaker’s subconscious. She manages both to acknowledge her own pain and also to give it its proper weight in the larger scope of the tragedy.

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Poetry Sunday: ‘Coy Mistress,’ by Annie Finch

September 4, 2016 by Rebecca Foust

Spells cover (1)

By Rebecca Foust

So, the opening salvo is a powerful one, and with it the speaker reveals herself to be smart, competent, and truly the mistress of this situation; in other words, the very opposite of the stereotypical demure, falsely reluctant woman barely seen in Andrew Marvel’s poem.

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Poetry Sunday: ‘Ghazanelle,’ by Moira Egan

August 28, 2016 by Rebecca Foust

HFS correct cut

I very much admire this poem for its inventiveness and elegance of execution. Besides its intricate and seemingly effortless fusion of a ghazal, a villanelle, and a sonnet, the form so perfectly fulfills its subject as to not feel in any way contrived or imposed, that is, does not creak, stall out, surprise, or otherwise inform us of its presence.

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Poetry Sunday: ‘After the Divorce, I Hold a Yard Sale,’ by MaryAnn Corbett

August 21, 2016 by Rebecca Foust


The real genesis of the poem was in the many yard sales typical of our neighborhood, which includes a number of rental properties and student tenants. The sight of those intimate materials of daily life displayed in all their imperfection and disorder has always given me a pang because they stand for the way our lives and loves change.

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Poetry Sunday: ‘Lucifer at the Starlite,’ by Kim Addonizio

August 14, 2016 by Rebecca Foust


By Rebecca Foust

The message is dark, so what makes the poem so wickedly funny? One is its irreverence—how it deflates the power and importance of something sacred.

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Poetry Sunday: ‘Why Publish?’ by Rhina Espaillat

August 7, 2016 by Rebecca Foust

Rhina Espaillat book cover_5-19-16

What I found interesting was the extent to which Rhina Espaillat was able to make this very personal poem—why she, in particular, writes—into a question of universal application and significance.

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Poetry Sunday: Guest Editor Susan Cohen on ‘Dark Prison Ledger,’ by Lynne Knight

July 31, 2016 by Rebecca Foust

Knight author photo_7-1-16

“Dark Prison Ledger” responds to the release of a Congressional report, a one-day or one-week news story. Will the poem speak to us longer than the particulars of that government document? In any case, the debate over torture continues. In any case, these times are compelling more poets, compulsive observers of their interior lives, to open the window as well.

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Poetry Sunday: ‘Her Art,’ by LaWanda Walters

July 24, 2016 by Rebecca Foust


By Rebecca Foust

The loss in “Her Art” is of a mother’s ring; its broader subject is poetry (or even all art) and the extent to which it can and should be a vessel carrying the grief for human loss.

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Poetry Sunday: ‘The Lost Books’ and ‘Figurines,’ by Lucille Lang Day

July 17, 2016 by Rebecca Foust

Lucille Lang Day book cover_5-19-16

By Rebecca Foust

I hope you will take a look at the skillful manipulation it takes to work these repeating sentences into new formats with new ideas, and how challenging it can be to find repetends that make sense both on their own and also when finally linked in the last couplet. It’s a challenging form to do well, but many poets take comfort in knowing that once they’ve come up with those two repeating lines, their villanelle is nearly half finished.

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Poetry Sunday: ‘Yellow Fields,’ by Alison Luterman

July 10, 2016 by Rebecca Foust

Alison Luterman author photo_5-17-16

By Rebecca Foust

This week’s poem is another affirming the value of human relationship and commitment.

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Poetry Sunday: ‘Shock,’ by Natalia Treviño

July 3, 2016 by Rebecca Foust


In a series of poems about amazement and refreshing love, I focused on the idea of shock I encounter almost every day. There is no other word for it. I really am living in a state of shock. The poem talks about why. It is sad that I feel shock, but what a way to enjoy love in a marriage, as a daily surprise.

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Poetry Sunday: ‘They Come the Way Flowers Do,’ by Jennifer Grotz

June 26, 2016 by Rebecca Foust

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This week’s poem about an incident in nature—an encounter with butterflies—is more in line with the traditional nature poem, but a close reading shows that it is, in its own way, also subversive.

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Poetry Sunday: ‘Staff Sgt. Metz,’ by Dorianne Laux

June 19, 2016 by Rebecca Foust


The most powerful political poems are those that actually implicate the speaker and thereby the readers themselves. Today’s is one such poem.

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