April Read More/Blog More Poetry Event:

It’s here! The April Read More/Blog More Poetry Event. (Can we have a moment here to talk about how fast April went by?!) The Mr. Linky is hosted over at Kelly’s blog this week. Kelly and I have decided to add another element to this “event.” Though there was a list of poems that Kelly was reading, they were all poems that I had already read. Kelly expressed interest in reading Jane Yolen together, but then showed me this list of fairy tale and folklore poems. I like poems, I like fairy tales, and so does Kelly, so it sounded like a lot of fun to read these poems together. To keep things different on our blogs, we’re going to be reading them in reverse order. Kelly will start at the top, and I will start at the bottom. If you’d like to read along, feel free to start wherever you like!

Winter is No Time” by Jane Yolen

Jane Yolen’s style is simple and sweet, repetitive, but not boring. I will never forget there is a line from Ian McEwan’s novel Saturday about how the poetry magazines are always flooded with poems about the rain right after a big storm. Poems about weather and seasons always remind me of this line, because it’s true. As someone who writes poetry, you can’t help but be swayed by the weather. The urge to write poems about the rain is much stronger when it’s raining. As silly as that sounds, I can’t get it out of my head. By far my favorite line of this poem is “Light is middle-aged here.” That is so descriptive and beautiful, it’s almost as if the whole poem was framed around it. This poem feels a little indulgent, but I’ll go with it. A little indulgence never hurt anyone.

Family Stories” by Jane Yolen

As much as I don’t mind repetition, I think it should be used sparingly, and I”m grateful to see it doesn’t make an appearance in this poem. This poem in general feels stronger and much more personal than “Winter is No Time.” I’ve only read two of Yolen’s poems, but so far in each poem there has been one image that seems too simple: the attic and the poet in “Winter is No Time” and the crazy quilts in “Family Stories.” I would have liked both poems much more without those images. Maybe it is just the word choice or the way it is described, but they seem almost silly. There’s nothing wrong with silliness in poems, but they stuck out. They took me out of the poems because, for me, they didn’t fit in with the rest. I’m afraid I sound like I’m workshopping Jane Yolen. That’s the last thing I want to do, but something about those images seemed a little, well, obvious I guess is the word I’m looking for. Overall, though, I enjoyed this poem. I am especially fond of the father’s stanza and the nurse’s stanza.

Weaver’s Cottage” by Terri Windling

I have read The Wood Wife by Terri Windling, so I know a little bit better what to expect. Her poetry reminds me a lot of The Wood Wife in terms of the general feeling I got from reading them. The descriptive language at the beginning of this poem is beautiful, but I was much less enchanted by the second stanza. It’s a little cheesy. The ribbons of color and the weaving of stories, well, those are images that are a bit tired at this point.

Three Love Prayers for Beckie” by Alan Weisman

This poem is much more my style, especially the first letter. Unfortunately, Weismann lost me in the second two, but part of the problem is that they just weren’t the first letter, if that makes sense.

May 28” by Ellen Steiber

This is a haunting poem, starting with the heavy “I can’t get at the truth of you.” That is what the poem promises and that is what it delivers, everything of the father figure is hard to pin down, especially now that he is gone and his memory is clouded by grief. He was all those things and none of them. There are good memories that are open and celebratory, the campfires on the beach, a gift of bracelets, but also the sadness, loss and regret. There is the contrast between living in a desert and longing for warmth from something. Yes, I think I like this poem best of all tonight.


Well! That was fun! I hope you’ll join us in reading a few of these poems next month, but as always the topic for the Read More/Blog More poetry event is open, as long as you discuss poetry. If you need some suggestions, I posted prompts on Sunday. Feel free to use them in your posts this month or any month! Also, I’d like to take this moment to ask you: What do you want to see happen in the Read More/Blog More poetry event over the year? What would keep you interested in poetry and blogging about poetry? I’d love to hear your suggestions!


7 thoughts on “April Read More/Blog More Poetry Event:

  1. Oops! I thought the poetry post was next Monday and will try and have something up by the end of the week. Thanks for the lovely links!

  2. I’m not a big joiner, so I’m enjoying reading about all kinds of poems. The one idea I thought of in answer to your question, though, is that we could all read the same poem (if we wanted to join in) and give our own interpretations of it. It would be fun if six of us tried it and there were six different interpretations to discuss.

  3. I think Jeanne has a great idea about reading the same poem and discussing it, which is similar to what I try to accomplish with the Virtual Poetry Circle every Saturday.

  4. The Cry of a Mare About to Become a Butterfly – Kamran Mir Hazar

    Continually over the water, horizon,
    Split River,
    Forked Oxus,
    Someone is making a stand;
    Or maybe
    A Hindu spell over the sand,
    Moving, wandering, over paths and landing at the foothills of words;
    Each time to become speech, to connect or maybe disconnect;
    A wet inkpot,
    Curled inside the glass vessel,
    Connecting itself just so to leave the self behind,
    The coiled breath touches the rims of a clay cup,
    The five senses become three dimensional,
    Curling, uncurling, in the excitement of sealed lips,
    A wandering person moves along a path, carrying the cancer;

    Steamed breath resting on the teacup,
    The stares roped together,
    And the melancholy of sweet Chinese aromas;
    A body-part of ours has left for Tibet,
    The cry of a mare about to become a butterfly.

    Cans of beer and a fistful of dollars,
    He looks her down and up,
    With his Mediterranean gaze,
    Swaggering, he moves up the cannabis leaf,
    Burning the gaze in the fire of words

    August the third he packed his bags,
    Setting off towards an illusion far away,
    Way beyond civilization;

    One said let’s drink this cup of freedom,
    One ran and ran along the corridor of electrons,
    One entered the path,
    One reached the bridge, the self becoming oneself,
    The gods and laughter through the lips.
    Are you there yet?
    The place where the path is the path and the walker on the way;
    When the shifting sands sharpen to become dunes, moving on and bringing you
    To the Nimrooz desert,
    The Malayalee is present;
    A peculiar geometric composition.

    And I couldn’t carry on,
    The self that I’ve been in the mountains;
    Herding sheep,
    Bent, carrying dead poppies on my back;
    The lords of the land had already borne the fresh ones,
    Yet the book found a new face,
    The book became a clue to wisdom,
    Opening doors so they are expanded,

    Dressed in the garment of purity,
    The snow-covered firs of Herat,
    An attempt for town life to return,
    So that I need not write anything;
    The one, the swirling one,
    Looking at nothing, unlike a self,
    Has walked the distance; has shown forbearance;
    A non-self, swirling on the most feverish of Kabul nights,
    The weather was not cold,
    But curled in a corner,
    Snow was moving up those veins.

    (Trans:Nushin Arbabzadah)

  5. I’m so glad that you and Kelly shared the link for the fairy tale poems! I’ve decided that I’m going to try to read them as well. Anything to get the taste of the last book of poems out of my mouth. 😉

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