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Archive for March, 2014

I am the blossom pressed in a book,
found again after two hundred years …

I am the maker, the lover, and the keeper …

When the young girl who starves
sits down to a table
she will sit beside me …

I am food on the prisoner’s plate …

I am water rushing to the wellhead,
filling the pitcher until it spills …

I am the patient gardener
of the dry and weedy garden …

I am the stone step,
the latch, and the working hinge …

I am the heart contracted by joy …
The longest hair, white
before the rest …

I am there in the basket of fruit
presented to the widow …

I am the musk rose opening
unattended, the fern on the boggy summit …

I am the one whose love
overcomes you, already with you
when you think to call my name.

Jane Kenyon
Otherwise

 

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“Can Poetry Matter?”

by Dana Gioia

“1. When poets give public readings, they should spend part of every program reciting other people’s work--preferably poems they admire by writers they do not know personally. Readings should be celebrations of poetry in general, not merely of the featured author’s work.

2. When arts administrators plan public readings, they should avoid the standard subculture format of poetry only. Mix poetry with the other arts, especially music. Plan evenings honoring dead or foreign writers. Combine short critical lectures with poetry performances. Such combinations would attract an audience from beyond the poetry world without compromising quality.

3. Poets need to write prose about poetry more often, more candidly, and more effectively. Poets must recapture the attention of the broader intellectual community by writing for nonspecialist publications. They must also avoid the jargon of contemporary academic criticism and write in a public idiom. Finally, poets must regain the reader’s trust by candidly admitting what they don’t like as well as promoting what they like. Professional courtesy has no place in literary journalism.

4. Poets who compile anthologies–or even reading lists–should be scrupulously honest in including only poems they genuinely admire. Anthologies are poetry’s gateway to the general culture. They should not be used as pork barrels for the creative-writing trade. An art expands its audience by presenting masterpieces, not mediocrity. Anthologies should be compiled to move, delight, and instruct readers, not to flatter the writing teachers who assign books. Poet-anthologists must never trade the Muse’s property for professional favors.

5. Poetry teachers especially at the high school and undergraduate levels, should spend less time on analysis and more on performance. Poetry needs to be liberated from literary criticism. Poems should be memorized, recited, and performed. The sheer joy of the art must be emphasized. The pleasure of performance is what first attracts children to poetry, the sensual excitement of speaking and hearing the words of the poem. Performance was also the teaching technique that kept poetry vital for centuries. Maybe it also holds the key to poetry’s future.

6. Finally poets and arts administrators should use radio to expand the art’s audience. Poetry is an aural medium, and thus ideally suited to radio. A little imaginative programming at the hundreds of college and public-supported radio stations could bring poetry to millions of listeners. Some programming exists, but it is stuck mostly in the standard subculture format of living poets’ reading their own work. Mixing poetry with music on classical and jazz stations or creating innovative talk-radio formats could re-establish a direct relationship between poetry and the general audience.

… watch the ancient, spangle-feathered, unkillable phoenix rise from the ashes.” ~ Dana Gioia

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BEAL-TheJazzBird-CDCvr

The Jazz Bird
… listen to the music streaming at

 Jane Beal’s SoundCloud

1. The Beginning of Spring (1:56)
2. The Jazz Bird (4:33)
3. The Maker’s Art (instrumental) (3:04)
4. Transforming Mystery (3:40)
5. Mother’s Hummingbird (5:20)
6. Waiting for Saint Nicholas (3:57)
7. Brewer’s Blackbird (3:46)
8. Wings and Fingertips Meet (3:57)
9. Love-Song (instrumental) (4:17)
10. As I Wandered On (4:30)
11. Chitter-Cheep-Spee (3:36)
12. In Flight (2:45)
13. Sorrow’s Heart (piano solo) (5:00)
14. Haunting (4:15)
15. Dos Alas (instrumental) (4:19)
16. Love-Song (3:55)

Andrew Beal: vocals, alto, tenor, baritone, & C-melody saxophones, acoustic, electric and bass guitars, cello, piano, flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, drum set, Geobones (hardwood tongue drum) and programming, mixing & engineering. Jane Beal: lyrics, vocals, flute, maracas, shakers, Geobones. Emma Carol: violin on “Waiting for Saint Nicholas.” Abraham Beal: watercolor cover image with cover design by Andrew Beal. Recorded at Firewater Phoenix Studios in California. Special thanks to God, Debbie & Gary. Produced by Rudy Holthuis and Jane Beal.

© 2014 Jane Beal – sanctuarypoet.net

Enjoy!

p.s. For more, visit The Birdwatcher’s Diary.

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Layers

Lying here in bed. Feeling my years add up and then
subtract back through decades of sheets and quilts,
like the grave clothes that blanketed my two-year-old self
shivering for the heat of my mother’s arms.
Fragmented early-morning dreams, like scrims, shift

across my brain. A rosy fruit shines,
round and tight, a small, sleek face in a halo of a tree.
Leaves shield an apple blemish — a dimpled
portal for decay — the way hair hides a forehead scar.
Around its hidden core of seed and worm-rot

the apple flashes out and out, flesh-cheeked,
white-celled, and sweet. Her arms — no, my mother’s
whole warm body — folded like layers
of fleshy material, envelope the family newborn
my brother, close as her heart, while I wait

detached for two whole months – the desert of distance,
to be her love again. In their slow vegetable rows
below the orchard, dream cabbages and lettuce
layer themselves around their secret blemishes,
fold over leafing fold. Wakened, I lie motionless

in this familiar grave bed, trying to be warm,
to be good, to be loved. Waiting to rise.
Knowing it’s morning, high time to peel off
the comforter, to shower, come clean, and to clothe
in Easter garments my own naked, waiting child.

Managing God

The stumble of beasts, a lurch
of the oxcart, and Uzzah’s hands leap
to harness God’s holy box. On the instant
he feels heavens fire strike–
an unmanageable current flares
to the ends of his bones,
sizzles his grip ash.

David, rising as the same perilous
burn ignites his fingers and
his flying feet, self abandoned, his
spirit blazing, is stripped naked by joy
to servant girls, himself, and God,
who plays him like a wind-harp.

From her arrogant window Michael’s jealousy
watches this wanton worship – holiness dancing
beyond propriety. Snuffing David’s joy
like a candle, she learns the swiftness
of Yahweh: irony has neutered her fecundity;
contempt has cauterized her womb.

Luci Shaw
The Angles of Light:
New and Selected Poems 

 

 

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