“As Dead Now as Shakespeare’s Children”

David Kirby, another one of those poet slash professors (in this case at Florida State University), is known for long-ish narrative poems, often leavened freely with humor. It's an engaging combination, one I've been coming to know better since I picked up two of his books. As a short intro, I found an unusually (for …

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Famous Quote, Humble Catalyst

Galway Kinnell once said, "The secret title of every good poem might be 'Tenderness.'" David Kirby must have been listening. Check out where his poem "Taking It Home to Jerome" starts and ends:   Taking It Home to Jerome by David Kirby In Baton Rouge, there was a DJ on the soul station who was …

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Opposition in the Poetry Classroom

Los Angeles poet Brendan Constantine has an assignment for his students called "The Opposites Game." He gives them a famous line of poetry and asks that they create a "new" poem by changing each word to its opposite. As a teaching exercise, you can see how this could prove an interesting prompt for student creativity. …

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An Abundance of Moments, an Embarrassment of Neglect

Pinch yourself. You're alive. But how do you know, and what is it you're hardly noticing as days roll in and out with numbing regularity? Answer: a lot. Solution: the five senses. Even more so the four neglected senses. You know how partial we are to our eyes. To sight. The favored child among our …

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Angels We Haven’t Heard on High

Yesterday I shared D. H. Lawrence's poem "Song of a Man Who Who Has Come Through," which ends with strange angels at the door ("Admit them, admit them."). It brought to mind these ethereal beings I've given little thought to since childhood, when I was a bit leery about the topic of guardian angels watching …

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Insights From a Man Booker Judge

October 16th. You know what that means. It's Man Booker Day, the day five judges will meet at a secret location in a not-so-secret city called London to pluck a winner from the shortlist (it should take eight hours or so). What's in it for the authors? Most excellent sales, for one thing. Not that …

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Writing Workshop: 10 Holiday Poetry Prompts

Today is the Winter Solstice, the official day for holiday poetry prompts. Yes, it's winter for all of us northern hemisphere types and officially summer for all of those people laughing at us from the southern hemi. Are we jealous? No. We have writing to do, and enough cozy indoors to do it in. Here …

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