Poetry

05/24/2010 - 10:25pm

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

It is enough for me as a reader that a poem take from life a single moment and hold it up for me to look at. There need not be anything sensational or unusual or peculiar about that moment, but somehow, by directing my attention to it, our attention to it, the poet bathes it in the light of the remarkable. Here is a poem like this by Carolyn Miller, who lives in San Francisco.

 

The World as It is

05/24/2010 - 4:04pm

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

We are sometimes amazed by how well the visually impaired navigate the world, but like the rest of us, they have found a way to do what interests them. Here Jan Mordenski of Michigan describes her mother, absorbed in crocheting.

Crochet

Even after darkness closed her eyes ?
my mother could crochet. ?
Her hands would walk the rows of wool ?
turning, bending, to a woolen music.

05/10/2010 - 5:39pm

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

If writers are both skilled and lucky, they may write something that will carry their words into the future, past the hour of their own deaths. I’d guess all writers hope for this, and the following poem by Peter Cooley, who lives in New Orleans and teaches creative writing at Tulane, beautifully expresses his hope, and theirs.

 

The One Certain Thing

05/04/2010 - 12:02pm

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Here’s a poem by Susan Meyers, of South Carolina, about the most ordinary of activities, washing the dishes, but in this instance remembering this ordinary routine provides an opportunity for speculation about the private pleasures of a lost parent.

 

Mother, Washing Dishes

04/27/2010 - 2:43pm

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

The great American poet William Carlos Williams taught us that if a poem can capture a moment in life, and bathe it in the light of the poet’s close attention, and make it feel fresh and new, that’s enough, that’s adequate, that’s good. Here is a poem like that by Rachel Contreni Flynn, who lives in Illinois.

 

The Yellow Bowl

04/19/2010 - 2:58pm

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Tell a whiny child that she sounds like a broken record, and she’s likely to say, “What’s a record?” Jeff Daniel Marion, a Tennessee poet, tells us not only what 78 rpm records were, but what they meant to the people who played them, and to those who remember the people who played them.

78 RPM

04/12/2010 - 11:50am

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Wendy Videlock lives in western Colorado, where a person can stop to study what an owl has left behind without being run over by a taxi.

 

The Owl

Beneath her nest,
a shrew's head,
a finch's beak
and the bones
of a quail attest

the owl devours
the hour,
and disregards
the rest.

04/07/2010 - 4:20pm

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Music lessons, well, maybe 80 out of every 100 of us had them, once, and a few of us went on to play our chosen instruments all our lives. But the rest of us? I still own a set of red John Thompson piano books that haven’t been opened since about 1950. Here Jill Bialosky, who lives in New York City, captures the atmosphere of one of those lessons.

 

Music Is Time

03/29/2010 - 12:04pm

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

When we hear news of a flood, that news is mostly about the living, about the survivors. But at the edges of floods are the dead, too. Here Michael Chitwood, of North Carolina, looks at what’s floating out there on the margins.


The Coffins

03/29/2010 - 12:02pm

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

All over this country, marriage counselors and therapists are right now speaking to couples about unspoken things. In this poem, Andrea Hollander Budy, an Arkansas poet, shows us one of those couples, suffering from things done and undone.

 

Betrayal

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