October Poetry Club

What an exciting discussion we had today. We started with Cindy showing us a beautiful book that belonged to her grandfather…and realized it is nearly 100 years old. Cindy then recited three Japanese poems, by Hitamaro, Sakanoe and Basho and explained in detail the different types – seventeen syllable verse: Haiku, but also tanka (five lines totaling 31 syllables). She then read and explained the traditional “death poems” at times recited on one’s last breath. It is amazing how the brief, sweet recitation of simple Haiku line can bring so much to mind.

Kathy read a poem written by Eleven year old Jason Alvord, titled Getting Through Hardships. This bright young man participated in a special school event, writing about how moving through difficulties can make one grow.

Leslie entertained us with T. S. Eliot‘s “The Naming of Cats” and those of us who have cats understood perfectly!

Linda read Leonard Cohen’s “The Poems Don’t Love Us Anymore,” as a segue into reading one of her poems. While her poem about the hunter was a dark topic (the mass shootings) it was lovely and words that must be recognized and spoken aloud.

Susan read “In Paris With You” by James Fenton and Leslie read his bio…a famous man indeed and the poem was entertaining with it’s humor and talk of love, well…and sex. Susan then reached into that marvelous corner of her brain and recited a very long Robert Frost poem, “Birches” which was filled with wonderful imagery.

I read Robert Frost‘s “The Road Not Taken,” and complained how this poem was too difficult for me to memorize because of the odd rhyming scheme. This lead to a discussion of the brilliancy of poets who can throw the reader for a loop with the unexpected. A change in meter or words can trip you up and in many cases this is what the poet is after. Linda then pulled out her pocket Emily Dickinson (what other group what say “Can you give me the ISBN number of that?”) and Susan found a poem on death with the trick of meter to make a point.

Here is a video of Frost reading “The Road Not Taken” although I have to say there are many more enjoyable versions!