November Poetry Club

Welcome to the first meeting of The Poetry Club. Ten women, eager to keep their brains active, meeting monthly to recite and discuss poems. And to share those poems with you.

However, I am still trying to figure out copyright law. I know that I can’t reproduce the poems here for you to read, but I’m hoping I can post some video of our recitations. (I think things pre 1923 are public domain.) I’m providing links to the poems and poets.

Our November meeting started with my recitation of Forgetfulness by Billy Collins. This poem was written in 1999 and you can follow this link to read it. I felt it was perfect for our underlying them…that memorizing will help our memories! Those in the group who knew of Billy Collins agreed that he writes about everyday life in ways that are so very relatable and a bit funny as well. Born in 1941, he was Poet Laureate from 2001-2003 and was a distinguished professor at Lehman College for fifty years.

Cindy W. shared Grandchildren by Olivia Stiffler, and the group was not without a tear or two when hearing this poem. Stiffler was a stenotype reporter for most of her life, adding poetry to her list of skills later in life. You can find out more about her at her website, and you can read the poem by clicking on the title above.

Tece M. shared a favorite, from a wonderfully illustrated book of poetry. Bed In Summer by Robert Lois Stevenson. (I’m going to research these older poems to see if they are public domain and then I can share them here!)  Stevenson was born in the UK in 1950, and died fairly young in 1894. (Note: You can read a good book by a local author, Mark Wiederanders, Stevenson’s Treasure)

Susan R. recited Love Is Not All by Edna St. Vincent Millay, published in 1931. Susan is a seasoned “reciter” and it showed. The emotion and pace was something the rest of us can strive for. St Vincent Millay, is of course, a well know poetess, was born in 1892 and died in 1950. She received the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1923, the third woman to be awarded this prize for poetry.

Linda L. surprised and pleased us by reading a poem in Spanish, Doncellita by Frederico Garcia Lorca. She then analyzed the translation in a book with her own deep interpratation of his words, which she explained by going into his life and history. The poem and the sentiment were beautiful.

Kathy P. shared Robert Frost’s Stopping by Woods on a Snow Evening. She shared this poem because it had special meaning for her—she first memorized it in high school. Frost was born in 1874 and died in 1963. Some of the group remembered his reading at Kennedy’s inauguration.

Eileen S. wrapped up our initial meeting with Invictus, written by William Earnest Henley, at age 17 while in the hospital for amputation of his lower leg. As this poem was written in 1875 I can reproduce it here:

Invictus by William Earnest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,   

  Black as the Pit from pole to pole,   

I thank whatever gods may be   

  For my unconquerable soul.   


In the fell clutch of circumstance 

  I have not winced nor cried aloud.   

Under the bludgeonings of chance   

  My head is bloody, but unbowed.   


Beyond this place of wrath and tears   

  Looms but the Horror of the shade, 

And yet the menace of the years   

  Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.   


It matters not how strait the gate,   

  How charged with punishments the scroll,   

I am the master of my fate:

  I am the captain of my soul.