Poetry Sunday: Susan Terris: ‘Memo Poems’

August 2, 2015 by Women's Voices For Change

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Susan Terris’s “memo poems” are an example of a “nonce” or made up form—here unrhymed and unmetered couplets with no capitalization and no punctuation. According to Terris, the apparent informality of the poems is “deceptive” and produced work that was, for her “uncharacteristically raw and intimate.”

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Poetry Sunday: ‘Einstein’s Violin,’ and ‘Some Birth Day,’ by Sally Ashton

July 26, 2015 by Women's Voices For Change

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It took me awhile to get used to the idea of prose poetry—I love rhyme and meter and at first could not imagine poetry without these musical qualities. But reading the prose poems of contemporary poets has opened my ideas to the imaginative possibilities of this form, and I hope that these poems by Sally Ashton will do the same for you.

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Poetry Sunday: “Please Do Not Persist,” by Martha Rhodes

July 19, 2015 by Women's Voices For Change

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It is obvious almost immediately that the speaker (whose diction has a delightfully Shakespearian bent) “doth protest too much” and clearly does not mean what she is saying; the scope of her renouncements, from visiting beloved places to going out for shampoo, is comically hyperbolic.

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Poetry Sunday: “Sinkhole,” by Heather Altfeld

July 12, 2015 by Women's Voices For Change

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How remarkable that this poem, crammed with images of destruction, can end with life and its own version of an earned and cautious hope! Love is like a sinkhole that swallows us whole, Heather Altfeld says, and she says it with no little sense of menace. And then she surprises us by concluding that we may as well just take the plunge.

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Poetry Sunday: “The Antipode,” by Susan Griffin

July 5, 2015 by Women's Voices For Change

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Susan Griffin often writes about the “big issues” like social justice, gender, war, history, philosophy and politics. She wrote today’s poem after seeing the work of Claudia Bernardi, an artist whose passion for human rights and social justice finds expression in collaborative projects with communities that have been the victims of state terror, violence and human rights violations.

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America the Beautiful

July 4, 2015 by Women's Voices For Change

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It was the glorious view from Pikes Peak, back in 1893, that inspired a poem penned by Catherine Lee Bates that would become our national hymn.

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Poetry Sunday: “When the Heart Dies, It Dies Entire,” by Ginger Murchison

June 28, 2015 by Women's Voices For Change

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Ginger Murchison’s poem depicts Mars, a mighty racehorse, who runs till his heart bursts. How he is dispensed with afterward, quietly swept off to the side, calls to mind how our society deals with returning veterans and with our aging parents.

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Poetry Sunday: “Father’s Day,” by Susan Browne

June 21, 2015 by Women's Voices For Change

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I chose this poem for Father’s Day, not for its expression of the hearts-and-flowers sentiments we have come to so loathe. What the poem expresses is unvarnished feeling, a love between father and daughter almost anti-poetic in its expression.

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Poetry Sunday: “The Goods,” by Michelle Bitting

June 14, 2015 by Women's Voices For Change

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“The Goods” truly delivers what its title promises, celebrating desire and “corporeal feelings”—what is felt, heard, tasted, smelt, and seen by the body evoked in delightful word pairings like “love-weariness” and “kiss-quest.”

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Poetry Sunday: Maudelle Driskell, “The Propaganda of Memory”

June 7, 2015 by Women's Voices For Change

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It seems to me that the poet wants readers to think about the fallibility of human memory, and how it can be a source of untruth that is more insidious and dangerous than propaganda generated from without.

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Poetry Sunday: “Vinculum,” by Alice Friman

May 31, 2015 by Women's Voices For Change

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Near the end of the poem the speaker’s perspective tilts upward and wonderfully expands, and she is able to apprehend a bond arcing over herself and her son like a stanchionless bridge, the very image of the mathematical symbol that titles this poem.

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Poetry Sunday: “One to Watch, and One to Pray,” by Camille Dungy

May 24, 2015 by Women's Voices For Change

Photo: WideVision Photography/Marcia Wilson.

The main strategy at work in this poem is repetition of words and phrases, like the unforgettable “we passed the baby over the bed.”

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Poetry Sunday: “That Year I Read Anne Frank’s Diary,” by Susan Cohen

May 17, 2015 by Women's Voices For Change

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How does this poet make it new, this story we know so well? One way is by bringing Anne Frank close with an intimate conversational tone (“Did she have the same trouble with her hair?”). Another is through vivid figurative language like “shy as my buds of breasts” and the potent image and sound of “soot twin.”

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Mother’s Day: “Gathering Bones,” by Wendy Barker

May 10, 2015 by Women's Voices For Change

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“Gathering Bones” braids two narratives-of-narratives: one, a film about a farmer whose retrieval of bones allows him to construct a history of the Holocaust in which he finds himself complicit; and another, the history of the speaker’s mother, reconstructed from memory and dreams.

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Poetry Sunday: “The New Egypt,” by Robin Becker

May 3, 2015 by Women's Voices For Change

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Becker’s subject—property acquisition and its relation to ideas of family and homeland—is an unconventional and powerfully moving choice for a sonnet, proving again the infinite elasticity and enduring vitality of the form.

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