poems & poets

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poems

poem

Although it no longer has a body
to cover out of a sense of decorum,

the ghost must still consider fashion—

must clothe its invisibility in something
if it is to “appear” in public.

Some traditional specters favor
the simple shroud—

a toga of ectoplasm

poem

I shall forget you presently, my dear,
So make the most of this, your little day,
Your little month, your little half a year
Ere I forget, or die, or move away,
And we are done forever; by and by
I shall forget you, as I said, but now,
If you entreat me with your

poem

The things that one grows tired of—O, be sure
They are only foolish artificial things!
Can a bird ever tire of having wings?
And I, so long as life and sense endure,
(Or brief be they!) shall nevermore inure
My heart to the recurrence of the springs,
Of gray dawns,

texts

text
Video
2015

At the 2015 National Book Festival in Washington D.C., Jane Hirshfield joined us with fellow Academy Chancellors Juan Felipe Herrera and Naomi Shihab Nye for a conversation about poetry and the poet's role in American culture today. In the following clip, Hirshfield talks about this and the themes she finds herself returning to in her poetry.

text
from American Poets
2015

"Linearity is overrated," writes Airea D. Matthews, a poet who seldom takes the direct path. But didn't Dante stray from the straight path in order to discover new worlds? Conversant with all manner of compact soliloquy, from Bible verse to text message, Matthews inhabits worlds within worlds, small moments of clarity and composure that push against the chaos of a busy existence. A mother of four who worked for eight years in the corporate world while pursuing degrees in public policy and in poetry (and why are those separate realms?), Matthews has grown used to firing on multiple burners. "I've known some degree of chaos my entire life," she says. "There were never any zones in my childhood and adolescence that were free of perturbations, turbulence, or risk." As a consequence, "perhaps, this type of environment becomes embedded in the memory and marrow." 

In her poem "Dead of Winter Non-Sequitur" Matthews takes us through a marvelously non-linear meditation on the line and

text
on Teaching Poetry
2014

There are, I think, two very different dynamics involved in the making of a poet. One is learning that you already know everything you need about writing before you even begin. The other is an extended reading of the literature, to understand what has been done, why, and what its implications might be.

The first sounds easy, but is in fact the harder of the two tasks. Many starting writers never solve the problem at all, which means that they’re destined to fail. The difficulty is what happens in that instant between the moment before you even begin and the moment once you’ve begun, into which is inserted every vague notion you may have about what writing is, how it is done, who does it, and every conceivable fantasy you might harbor about being a poet or a novelist. Before you begin, the blank page or screen is in front of you, absolutely free of any irrevocable marks, literally virgin territory. Once you begin, however, you instantaneously discover yourself burdened with

books

book
Children's Book
2017
book
Textbook
2014
A Poet's Glossary
book
Children's Book
2017
Harlem