Year of Poems - Week 8

(Reading a poem a day for a week and reporting back. See the full listing here.)

The focus was on tanka (a Japanese poetry form that's not unlike haiku) again this week. Also a poem by Marina Tsvetaeva, said to be "one of the most renowned poets of 20th-century Russia."

04/15
25 Tanka Poets from Great Britain and Ireland
Various

04/16
2014 TSA International Tanka Contest Winners
Various

04/17
Cattails Tanka Page 1
Various

04/18
25 Canadian Tanka Poets in French and English
Various

04/19
2013 TSA International Tanka Contest Winners
Various

04/20
Cattails Tanka Page 2
Various

04/21
Bound for Hell
Marina Tsvetaeva

tanka 5 - thank the powers of darkness

tongueless mouths running
the dead cement plants blooming
they can eat eat eat

gape like pure at the sin graves
by being dead you are dead

(tanka - a Japanese poem consisting of five lines, the first and third of which have five syllables and the other seven, making 31 syllables in all and giving a complete picture of an event or mood.)

Year of Poems - Week 7

(Reading a poem a day for a week and reporting back. See the full listing here.)

My intention when I commenced upon this project was to jump around as much as possible when selecting each day's poems. However, this week I got stuck on tanka, with much of the week being devoted to reading examples of this form. Tanka is not too far removed from haiku - obviously the better known of the two forms. According to one definition, a tanka is "a Japanese poem consisting of five lines, the first and third of which have five syllables and the other seven, making 31 syllables in all and giving a complete picture of an event or mood." All but one of this week's readings were dedicated to examples of this type of poem. Since they are so short, some days I read and listed more than one.

04/08
Making Feet And Hands
Benjamin Peret
1899-1959

04/09
Tanka
By Paul Violi
1944–2011

04/10
Three Haiku, Two Tanka
By Philip Appleman
1926

04/11
2016 Sanford Goldstein International Tanka Contest Winners
Tanka Society of America

04/12
All Hallow’s Evening : Supernatural Tanka
Atlas Poetica

04/13
2015 Sanford Goldstein International Tanka Contest Winners
Tanka Society of America

04/14
25 Tanka Poets from New Zealand
Atlas Poetica

the flowering of your flowers

thou expandeth
thou contracteth
licking thyself like a drunken cat
folding murderers into four equal parts and
tickling them under the table
don’t mention it

thy tiny wooden leg drags along behind thee
thou caresseth it in the pasture
and flee from the worms of death's sting
heaven fills with the azure glory of thy knee
the far stars fill the skies with a glee
and the winds of thy heart blow like a fart

tanka 4 - sharp as a balloon

your tongue has sideburns
a trombone flies out of your mouth
the waterfall flows back up

i'm sorry it's a trombone
some of my best cats are mice

(tanka - a Japanese poem consisting of five lines, the first and third of which have five syllables and the other seven, making 31 syllables in all and giving a complete picture of an event or mood.)

tanka 3 - he has a good beak

you helped dress my horse
our hearts beating like crowbars
light gasses wafting

you were slightly dim-witted
i ate a plum with my foot

(tanka - a Japanese poem consisting of five lines, the first and third of which have five syllables and the other seven, making 31 syllables in all and giving a complete picture of an event or mood.)

tanka 2 - strange utterances, horrible pronouncements

look here, funny boy
look at my knees, o my knees
i think you're an ape

blessed are the cheesemakers
i can't reach my silverware

(tanka - a Japanese poem consisting of five lines, the first and third of which have five syllables and the other seven, making 31 syllables in all and giving a complete picture of an event or mood.)

tanka 1 - the shallowest point will produce living men

slavemaster chasm
the one-sided rainy earth
the night in motion

sting of death loses purpose
shriveled earth and sea swallowed

(tanka - a Japanese poem consisting of five lines, the first and third of which have five syllables and the other seven, making 31 syllables in all and giving a complete picture of an event or mood.)

Year of Poems - Week 6

(Reading a poem a day for a week and reporting back. See the full listing here.)

Highlights this week - Adam Cast Forth, in which Borges imagines what it might be like for Adam, after he is cast out of the Garden of Eden. Also, Moth-Terror, by Benjamin De Casseres, a piece of "modern" poetry. Or at least it was nearly a century ago when it appeared in The Second Book of Modern Verse. 1922.

04/01
The Walker of the Snow
Charles Dawson Shanly
1811-1875

04/02
Adam Cast Forth
Jorge Luis Borges
1899 - 1986

04/03
Moth-Terror
Benjamin De Casseres
1873 - 1945

04/04
Psycholophon
Gelett Burgess
1866 - 1951

04/05
Echo and Silence
Sir Samuel Egerton Brydges
1762 - 1837

04/06
The Clouds
Thomas M. Disch
1940 - 2008

04/07
Ode to Neptune
Phillis Wheatley
1753 - 1784

Year of Poems - Week 5

(Reading a poem a day for a week and reporting back. See the full listing here.)

A wide ranging exploration this week, from Togray, a poet whom I couldn't find out much about but who apparently made posey in the 12th century. All the way up to the present day with two poets - James Tate and Bill Knott - who died within the past few years. Nothing quite knocked my socks off this week but I guess these latter two were the highlights.

03/25 A South Sea Ballad
Jonathan Swift
1667-1745

03/26 The Cosmic Fabric
Yakov Polonsky
1819–1898

03/27 The Vale of Kashmeer
Togray
c. 12th Century

03/28 The Vale of Cashmere
Thomas Moore
1779-1852

03/29 On the Sight of a Skull
Mary Mollineux
c. 1648-1695

03/30 No Spitting Up
James Tate
1943-2015

03/31 Octopus Floating
Bill Knott
1940–2014

Year of Poems - Week 4

(Reading a poem a day for a week and reporting back. See the full listing here.)

The prize for best title this week has to go to Small Insects and Their Place Among Main Sequence Stars, by Juanjo Bazán. Which appears in the online speculative fiction magazine, Strange Horizons. Also of note, a poem by very well-known fantasy writer who was not particularly well known for his poetry. That's Tolkien, whose Goblin Feet is of interest more as a curiosity than anything else.

Speaking of writers not primarily known for their poetry, there's James Joyce, whom I have mixed feelings about. Finnegan's Wake is a fine piece of work that I don’t even pretend to understand and which is best taken in very small doses. Much of Ulysses is deadly dull, if I dare say so, but also contains some of the greatest passages ever written, so go and figure that one out. Nightpiece doesn’t quite rise to those heights but it's one of the better works I've read since starting this project.

Also on hand this week, Very Jones, Ellen Sturgis Hooper, Anne Bradstreet and Vasko Popa.

03/18
The Dead
Very Jones
??

03/19
Small Insects and Their Place Among Main Sequence Stars
By Juanjo Bazán
2017

03/20
Goblin Feet
J.R.R. Tolkien
1915

03/21
Nightpiece
James Joyce
1917

03/22
To R. W. E.
Ellen Sturgis Hooper
??

03/23
Of the Four Ages of Man
Anne Bradstreet
1650

03/24
Heaven’s Ring
Vasko Popa
??

yielding intimations of mothlikeness

to the windward he hies, hearkening, wingining
flittering wings glistening whitelike, tanlike, paperwhite
like gleaming flecks of winglike whitish-tannish paper
hies yon and anon to the outer bounds
of the wailing and the aching and the yielding
floating, o so mothish upon the azure breeze of eternity

you wouldn't inhale the drapes

a whistle blows and azure light returns
disgusting noises come out of ernest borgnine
i no longer know how to stand up

i'll turn your topsoil till the cows come home
exploring the deep dark droopy saggy
big and frizzy (that's a metaphor dorothy)

everybody grab a gun and run to the basement
you're a pig in a cheap suit!
do you want it fast or do you want it good?

Year of Poems - Week 3

(Reading a poem a day for a week and reporting back. See the full listing here.)

Who is the worst poet ever? I'm sure there's plenty of competition for that title and who's to say, after all? There are those who would say that it's Scottish poet, William Topaz McGonagall, who has a very in-depth web site devoted to his glorious works. See the link below for a sample of his poetic goodness. Then there's O Donald! Ye Are Just the Man, by eighteenth century poet Susaanna Blamire, which had a nice ring to it. Don't ask me why.

The favorites this week included Lunar Baedeker, by Mina Loy, a poet I hadn't heard of before, and a snippet from War is Kind, by a poet I had heard of before and rather like - Stephen Crane. Also of note, I Cannot Give the Reasons, by Mervyn Peake. He's best known for his Gormenghast books but apparently was also a nonsense poet of some renown.

03/11
I Cannot Give the Reasons
Mervyn Peake
??
http://www.mervynpeake.org/poet.html

03/12
O Donald! Ye Are Just the Man
Susanna Blamire
??
https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/50533

03/13
Lunar Baedeker
Mina Loy
1923
https://www.poetryfoundation.org/resources/learning/core-poems/detail/47695

03/14
I Would Fain Die a Dry Death
Charlotte Anna Perkins Gilman
??
https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/46062

03/15
Veni, Creator Spiritus
John Dryden
1690
https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/44191

03/16
War is Kind (excerpt)
Stephen Crane
1899
https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/47650

03/17 Lines in Praise of Sunlight Soap
William Topaz McGonagall
??
http://www.mcgonagall-online.org.uk/gems/sunlight-soap

the day we kicked a puppet

we stood there upon the shore of a vast mud puddle
enraptured by the rustling of each other's genomes
but it all felt perfunctory
like the underside of a badger

you reached out a hand to me and it fell off
plopped into the mud
and a flying mud squirrel
swooped down and made off with it

so now we are tidal locked
by the gravitas of our latent potentialities
our skulls laden with moldering whispers from the back of an azure eternity
and so we must stipulate new parameters

don't do embraces with my pig

i am a strong singers
the most annoyings obnoxiouses self-centereds creature
you are i've met
i am alove
and we're falling in loves with fur

i grabs hims fur with my feets
easies on the furs you crew members
easies on the furs you havent
there's somethings you should knows
dont do embraces with my pig

i pray i never see this place again

marooned dark shades river
stygian rain in a bottomless sea under the sea
souls wash into unreality
black styx sad roaring styx from whence rapture flows
dreams passing forth in sad weary stygian waters

lamenting lost pleasures
harried by fallen angels in fathomless realms
plagued by weird armies litanies do not harm them
skies black as ink the dying show dizzying
night within night never sleep leaving
never safe from ruin

Year of Poems - Week 2

(Reading a poem a day for a week and reporting back. See the full listing here.)

A number of curiosities this week. A poem by Don Van Vliet (Captain Beefheart) that diverges somewhat from the loopy style he often used for his song lyrics. Clark Ashton Smith takes a crack at surrealism and a poem by Ina Rosseau about the Garden of Eden. Also, not one, but two poems about hippopotamuses (hippopotami?), one of them a rather mystifying work by none other than T.S. Eliot.

03/04/2017
The Beep Seal
Don Van Vliet
c. 1970
http://www.beefheart.com/the-beep-seal-by-don-van-vliet/

03/05/2017
Anacreon in Heaven
Ralph Tomlinson
c. 1782
https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Anacreontic_Song

03/06/217
The Sleep of the Condor
Leconte de Lisle
??
https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/A_Sheaf_Gleaned_in_French_Fields/The_Sleep_of_the_Condor_(Leconte_de_Lisle)

03/07/217
Surrealist Sonnet
Clark Ashton Smith
1951
http://www.eldritchdark.com/writings/poetry/561/surrealist-sonnet

03/08/217
Eden
Ina Rousseau
1954
https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/detail/49319

03/09/2017
Patrick Barrington
I Had a Hippopotamus
??
https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/i-had-a-hippopotamus/

03/10/2017
The Hippopotamus
T.S. Eliot
1920
http://www.bartleby.com/199/20.html

they kill god of heaven

monster action girls
the loverliest of all
a short drop off
to the drip drop
look up they're thrilling
look down they're deep
look out they're back in action
there has never not
been nothing like it
the happiest people in the world
the crowd explodes in cheers
the man with
a disembodied head
suddenly goes
a little more wilder
not that it matters much
but most of it all is all true

Year of Poems - Week 1

A while back I decided it might be interesting to read through the massive Norton Anthology of Poetry, nearly 2,200 pages worth. I didn't come close to completing that task and it was interesting, but only to a point. It's still one of my favorite books but it's not the kind of tome that one wants to read straight through. I prefer to jump around and pick out stuff that looks interesting rather than being stuck on a linear path. So I've ditched that project for now.

With the Year of Poems project, the game plan is to do something similar, with a goal of reading a poem a day for one year. While it's probably not quite accurate to say that a 2200-page anthology of poetry is not diverse, the goal this time around to cast the net even wider than the esteemed Norton editors did. Thus, while the first week's entry includes a Norton-friendly piece by a DWEM (Dead White European Male), there also one by a DWEF from the century before, as well as one from ancient Greece and another from ancient Egypt.

02/28
In the Valley of Cauteretz
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
1861
https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/45358

03/01 The Death of Abel
Mary Leapor
1748
http://www.eighteenthcenturypoetry.org/works/o5125-w0550.shtml

03/02 Olympian Ode 1
Pindar
476 B. C.
http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.01.0162

03/03
Harper's Song: Tomb of Intef
Anonymous
???
http://www.ancientegyptonline.co.uk/harper-song.html

the world of dreams shrinks in size

passionate words whip the ground like serpents for every six pounds of transgression
we must assume the existence of the foul thing that is reality

daredevils iron small thread large pearls fearsome
silvery animals float past glittering clouds gnawing the bodies of dervishes