Poetry Club June 2020

We met via ZOOM, which has been a great source of human contact in these continued days of isolation!

Kathy started us off with three poems. She wanted to share fun poems, in an effort to provide some relief from all the news of a troubled world. The first was “Ars Poetica” by Archibald MacLeish, which very poetically described what a poem should not be and what a poem should be. This was followed by a poem we have read before, “Introduction to Poetry” by Billy Collins. Another Billy Collins poem, “Dharma”, finished up the set. As we all love our dogs, this one was a favorite…the reasons why the dog is to be admired (my favorite line, “Who provides a finer example of life without encumbrance–), but of course in true Billy Collins style, followed by those less than perfect things.

Cindy introduced the group to the SLAM poetry of Taylor Mali, an eighth grade teacher in NYC….WOW…these poems were incredible and jerked us straight into the perspective. Cindy started with another dog poem, “Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog,” which provided the perfect transition for her to (via ZOOM) introduce her delightful new dog. “Undivided Attention” was a beautiful poem about teaching math and “What Teacher’s Make” was emotional and particularly poignant in light of the crazy dual duty teachers are stepping up to perform with the current distant teaching.

Robin read “I am Not Old” by Samantha Reynolds. This poet writes a poem a day on her blog, bentlily. She works in the corporate world and one day, after noticing a bent lily in the center of a table during a conference decided she needed a daily reminder to find joy by noticing the ordinary details of her life. This poem of being old led to a discussion of our own observations of aging, as well as our friends…and of course we talked about our gray hair!

Barbara read Rumi‘s “A Bowl Fallen From the Roof”, a poem written in the 1200s, but so pertinent to our lives today. A poem about looking for our should, the journey of life and the discussion of what are we going to do now.

Tece observed that there was more poetry on social media these days, as if people were turning to it for solace, expression and explanation. With that she read Maya Angelo’s “Caged Bird” with my favorite line being “things unknot, but longed for still.” Her second poem, by Ross Gray, was in memory for Eric Garner, who was killed in 2014. “A Small Needful Fact,” is worth the read, an important look into the person who was taken through violence.

Although Linda and Leslie were not able to participate in the ZOOM, they also sent poems. Leslie’s “Storage” by Mary Oliver is a reflection of her current activities. Linda’s poem was “What Once was Great” by Czeslaw Milosz, Montegron, 1959. There are several different versions, as this poem is translated. The link is not exactly what Linda shared. But weirdly, as I researched Milosz, I came across a poem by him titled “Ars Poetica?”….very similar to the poem Kathy shared….it seems to be a bit of a response to the MacLeish poem…hence the question mark in the title.