Poetry Project October – Spooky poems!

October is here! There’s a chill in the air, though the days are still warm. I have two tiny pumpkins sitting on my table, reminding me that October is here. October happens to be my favorite month. When I was younger, school was still exciting and new, the weather is getting cooler and the leaves are changing. I always loved when the leaves would fall and my great-grandfather would rake them up into a pile and I would dive in with my dog again and again.

Now that I’m older, October is the end of a busy summer. It’s the time when I can finally relax and enjoy the season. I can start to wear tights and bake things and really enjoy stew and all the foods I love best. Sure, I love watermelon and fresh corn on the cob, but give me a hearty stew or a roasted butternut squash soup any day. It’s also one of my favorite times of the year to read, with spooky stories. And let’s not forget the yearly viewing of Hocus Pocus. A completely necessary tradition.

But we’re not here to talk about all those things, we’re here to talk about the best thing about this October: spooky poetry for The Poetry Project. Whether you want to go with a classic Edgar Allen Poe poem or you want to branch out and see what contemporary spooky poetry is like, this is your chance!

There are several great resources for spooky poetry:

Poems tagged “Halloween” at the Poetry Foundation
Poems tagged “Halloween” by the Academy of American Poets
A digital collection of poetry by Edgar Allen Poe

But other than spooky poems, there are also a lot of poems written about October and fall. I hope you’ll read some of those as well. This is a good time to completely immerse yourself in the season. Enjoy the cooler air. Take a poem with you. Then, tell us about it and sign up with the Mr. Linky below. Here’s one to get started:

October by Robert Frost

O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—
For the grapes’ sake along the wall.

This week in…

not bloggiestia-ing.

I had every intention of participating in Bloggiesta this weekend, but there were just too many fun things going on this weekend. I was going to work on it this evening, but a friend of ours invited us to go see Looper tonight. Since I’ve been super excited about seeing this movie ever since I saw the trailer, I couldn’t turn him down.

There are a lot of things that need updating here, but I did a huge overhaul last Bloggiesta, so they’re basic housekeeping things that I really should be doing weekly anyway. One of them includes figuring out what to do with my “currently reading” sidebar! The truth is that it’s too difficult to maintain. I either switch books to quickly or end up not finishing the book and it just sits there and stares at me. I’ve decided to change it to some of my favorite reads of the year, something I’ve seen on other blogs.

Another thing I want to work on is making crafting a more prominent part of my blog. When I started Regular Rumination, my intention was to have this be a crafting and book blog, but crafting sort of took a back seat to school and reading and reviewing. I haven’t been doing much reviewing lately, I just don’t seem to have an interest in it, and I’m no longer in school, so I have a lot more time for crafty pursuits in the evenings. I have a few ideas that I hinted at last week, and I hope to roll them out in the next week or two.

new phone purchasing!

Tomorrow I’m getting a new phone! Which I guess means that it should really go in next week’s “This Week In” post, but I’m so very excited! I’ve had this slow, clunky phone that is a smart phone, but it’s a smart phone that only runs two apps at a time. I downloaded Hootsuite when I first got it and a Sudoku app. That in addition to the standard apps, like Maps (which works about half the time), is about all it can handle. I’m excited to have a phone that actually functions, including a camera with better pixels than my current digital camera.


I finished Tolstoy and the Purple Chair by Nina Sankovitch, which was nice, if a bit disjointed. There were certainly parts that really resonated with me.

I also read 13, edited by James Howe. It was good, but like most story collections, had strong stories and weaker stories. Fortunately some of the stronger stories came toward the end.

I finished Ask the Passengers by AS King, which I adored, even though it felt a little heavy handed at times. I think AS King is definitely one of my favorite YA authors, though my favorite book of hers so far is Everybody Sees the Ants. if you haven’t read it, get thee to a bookstore or library and read it! I only have one book of AS King’s left to read, The Dust of 100 Dogs, and this makes me sad. I hope she puts out another book next year! I was trying to describe her books to a friend of mine and I said they are all a little bit sad, very funny, and a bit weird. It’s a perfect combination.

I started reading In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner. So far, it’s a terrifying and moving story, though I haven’t necessarily connected with the story yet. That being said, it is making me realize how much I miss reading books that are set in different countries during different time periods. My reading for the last year or so has been very US/UK-centric, with little translated fiction or fiction about other places. This novel is not translated, but I miss exploring with the books I read. Once I have read most of the books I have in my apartment and I start going to the library more, I’m definitely going to be more conscious about where authors are from and which languages books are originally published in.


I participated in the More Diverse Universe Blog Tour, which was amazing! I want to go around and comment on all the blogs that participated this week. I really loved the book I read for this tour and from the comments it seems like I convinced a few people to add it to their TBR.

I also talked about my plans for Books In and Books Out. I’m purchasing 3 books this month, but I have 5 on my desk to get rid of! Once I finish Under the Shadow of the Banyan, that one can leave too, so I’m doing very well. I’ve only been reading books I already own and, so far, I’m not bored. The books I’m purchasing are The Night Circus, Something Wicked This Way Comes, and Getting Things Done. 


Speaking of The Night Circus and Something Wicked This Way Comes… won’t you join me in reading these two books this October? I know that fall is a busy time for blogging and readalongs, but I’ve wanted to reread Something Wicked and The Night Circus for some time now and this seems like the perfect time to do it.

I’m calling this event The Wicked Circus Read and I have a whole post about it here.

This month for The Poetry Project, we’re also celebrating Halloween and the spookiest season by reading Halloween poems. This would be the perfect time to catch up on all your Edgar Allen Poe poetry or check out this resource of Halloween poetry and scary poetry from the Poetry Foundation.

Have a lovely week!

Poetry Project – Read a Classic in September

Ah, September.

The leaves will soon start turning color, the sun is setting sooner, the nights are cooler. The days may still be in the 80s, but school has started and it’s really starting to feel like fall is around the corner. What better way to celebrate getting back to the books than with a classic poem? I hope you’ll join us in reading any classic poem or just in posting about any kind of poetry

“Classic” is such a subjective term and I hope you’ll play around with the meaning, but for the purposes of this recommendations post, I’m going to take “classic” to mean anything published more than 50 years ago. Feel free to twist and turn what classic means to you, just like Snowball did for the Pulitzer Prize theme last month. One good thing about adhering to the “more than 50 years ago” rule is that a lot of the poetry can be found in the public domain.

I got a little excited when I was writing up this post and I found it almost impossible to narrow down. It was hard not to jump up and down and squee about ALL THE POETS. There are hundreds of years of poetry for you to explore, so use this list as a jumping off point, or ignore it entirely. Unfortunately, my list ended up being very focused on the Western canon. If you have other suggestions, please list them in the comments or write your own post!

Let’s Go Waaaaaay Back

Sappho (~615BCE-~550BCE) – We don’t really know much about Sappho, other than the fact that she was born on the island Lesbos in Ancient Greece and much of her poetry has been lost; she was a teacher and poet and was famous, as her bust can be found on statues and her likeness on coins from Ancient Greece. You can read Sappho’s poetry here. (Source: poets.org)

Homer (8th century BCE) – If you want to get really ambitious, why not read the Illiad or The Odyssey? You would be a hero among Poetry Project participants. Bonus! They’re available online: here (Illiad) and here (The Odyssey).

Chaucer, Shakespeare, Donne!

Geoffrey Chaucer (1343 – 25 October 1400)- Just because a class on Chaucer is what caused me to give up MY English major, please don’t be scared! I’m just kidding – I just happened to be enrolled in a very difficult Chaucer class when I became a Spanish major instead, but I’m disappointed I missed out on reading his work in depth. Also, I just found the coolest website ever. You can read The Canterbury Tales in the original Middle English, Modern English or side-by-side. So cool!

William Shakespeare (26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616) – We’re celebrating Shakespeare over an entire month in July 2013, but that’s forever away. Get a head start by reading some of Shakespeare’s sonnets. Read them here.

John Donne (1572 – 31 March 1631) – Reading John Donne in high school is one of my favorite reading experiences. I connected with Donne’s poetry in a way that I didn’t really think was possible of a poet so old. His poetry is accessible, but so nuanced. You could spend a lifetime reading Donne, or enjoy his poems on one read. Check out John Donne’s Poetry Foundation page to read a collection of his poems.

Skipping A Whole Bunch of Years to the 19th and 20th Century!

WB Yeats (13 June 1865 – 28 January 1939) -I’ve always been interested in the poetry of Yeats, but I’ve never spent quality time with him. When I was putting together my list of poetry to read for Jillian’s Classics Club, I knew that he would be high on the list. The Poetry Foundation has a collection of 58 poems by Yeats.

Walt Whitman (May 31, 1819 – March 26, 1892) – Reading Walt Whitman is like reading nothing else. If you haven’t read him yet, I highly recommend it. Walt Whitman’s Poetry Foundation page.

Emily Dickinson (December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886) – With the possible discovery of a new photograph of Emily Dickinson, this poet has been in the news a lot the past few days. Emily Dickinson is, in my opinion, a must-read. Here are her Complete Poems.

I lost a little bit of steam there at the end, because it was really hard to think of who to include. There are hundreds more that could have gone on this list, but these are the poets I am most familiar with and the ones that I think you might get the most out of reading. Of course, this list is entirely subjective. I encourage you to create your own list. Take this month to read one “classic” poet or read a smattering of poems from various poets. I look forward to reading your posts!

Unless otherwise noted, my source for dates is Wikipedia.

Poetry Project August Round Up

Hello poetry darlings! Today is the official end of the Poetry Project for August. This was an amazing month. I can’t tell you how happy reading your posts made me all month. I am very pleased with the way the new format is working. The conversation really flows from one blog to the next. This Project wouldn’t exist without all of you who participate, so thank you. I really can’t tell you how amazing it has been to see so many blogs talking about poetry.

One exciting thing that has come out of the Poetry Project is all the new poetry blogs that have found their way here. Welcome! It’s also been great to see people really exploring poetry for the first time. I hope you’re a little less intimidated at the end of August than you were at the beginning.

If you are posting today and you want your post to be included in a round up, please link to it in the Mr. Linky for September, which will be hosted on my tireless, amazing co-host Kelly’s blog.

Now, onto the round up!

Kristin @ MatchedWith posts this month featuring poems by Wallace Stevens, WH Auden, and Anne Sexton, Kristin really shared some amazing poems! She also wrote her own poem, modeled after Wallace Stevens’s “Thirteen Ways of Looking At A Blackbird.”

Snowball @ Come Sit By The Hearth: Snowball read Pulitzer Prize-winner Earnest Hemingway for this month’s challenge, working her way around the prompt a little bit since he won the prize for fiction, not poetry. You know what I say, “rules” were meant to be broken! The poems she includes are interesting and one of them is very funny. She also posted a reaction to “A poem a day” by William Sieghart and a few poems from Rita Dove’s collection American Smooth. 

Amy @ New Century Reading: Amy shared the poem “Morning Song” by Sylvia Plath, commenting that she really loves the way Plath represented motherhood in her poetry.

Jeanne @ Necromancy Never Pays: Jeanne shared two amazing poems and poets with us this month: “The Lake Isle at Innisfree” by WB Yeats and “Spiral Notebook” by one of my favorite poets, Ted Kooser.

Gavin @ Page 247: Gavin shared two poems by new-to-me poet Lisel Mueller called “Sometimes, When the Light” and “Why We Tell Stories.” She also shared “Thanks” by WS Merwin.

Nancy @ Simple Clockwork: Nancy shared poetry connected by a theme: adultery. In her post, she compared the poems “For My Lover, Returning to his Wife” by Anne Sexton, “What My Lips Have Kissed” by Edna St. Vincent Millay, “I Knew A Woman” by Theodore Roethke, and “Sonnet to a Gardener: II” by Filipino poet Trinidad Tarrosa-Subido. This post is fascinating! She also posted about Angela Manalang-Gloria, another Filipino poet. She included the poems “Revolt from Hymen” and “Soledad.”

Evelyn N. Alfred @ Librarian Dreams: Evelyn shared the poem “Straw Hat” by Rita Dove, another new-to-me poet that I’ll be exploring more now.

AnnaEA @ Knit-Write: AnnaEA shared the poem “Sorrow” by Edna St. Vincent Millay. Millay is one of my very favorite poets, so I was thrilled to have a reason to read so many of her poems this month!

Lizzy @ Lizzy’s Literary Life: On Lizzy’s blog, she is giving away two signed copies of The Magicians of Edinburgh by Ron Butlin. You have until September 2nd to enter!

Vasilly @ 1330vVasilly posted about a lovely poem called “The Healing Time” by Pesha Joyce Gertler. It was also her birthday! Go wish her happy birthday.

Kaye @ the road goes ever ever on: Kaye did something different and great for the Poetry Project – she highlighted a blog, DS at The Third-Storey Window, who often features poetry. I love this!

Trish @ Love, Laughter & a Touch of Insanity: Trish! I have been begging and begging Trish to participate and I’m so happy and grateful she did. Trish is so honest about talking about poetry and how it can be difficult sometimes, especially if we’re used to blogging about books. They’re very different to talk about. Trish does an amazing job discussing her reaction to Conrad Aiken’s “Morning Song.”

Here, on Regular Rumination: This month, I talked about my favorite Pulitzer Prize-winning poets, I wrote a how-to post called “How to Love A Poem,” I posted the poem “At Some Point, They’ll Want to Know What it Was Like” by Tracy K. Smith, and I did a few random poetry lines from random poetry books.

Kelly @ The Written World (my co-host!): Kelly posted her thoughts on two books of poetry: New Hampshire by Robert Frost (Part 1 and Part 2) and The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver by Edna St. Vincent Millay. I absolutely love how she blogs about each poem!

I hope you’ll take some time to click through these links and read the poems that the Poetry Project participants shared or suggested. There are amazing poems included in this list and it would be a great way to discover new poets.

Thank you again for making August such a huge success for the Poetry Project! Remember, next month’s theme is a “classic” poem. Play with that theme! Kelly will have more about this month’s theme on her blog on Wednesday, September 5 and I will have a list of my suggestions, just like this month. I hope to see you there!

Poetry Project – Pulitzer August

This is your friendly reminder that you have only a few days left in August to post about  poetry and, if you decided to follow along with our prompt, Pulitzer Prize-winning poets. Please be sure to sign up with the Mr. Linky at the bottom of this post by August 31st. On September 1st, I will post a round-up of all the poetry posts you send me! I can’t wait to read them all.

Anyway, let’s play Random Line from a Random Poem from a Random Poetry Magazine on Lu’s shelf! I have Poetry Magazines from September-June on my shelf. I just pulled this random number sequence from random.org (because I’m cool like that): 5, 4, 4.

he thinks he knows

That’s poem 4, line 4, from the April 2012 issue of Poetry magazine. It’s from a poem called “Work” by Nate Klug.

This experiment was not nearly as fun as I thought it was going to be. You win some, you lose some.

Should we try again? What if we do random lines from a random poem from a random Poetry magazine? I’ll pick 4 numbers: 4, 4, 9-10

and nibble like sleepwalkers held fast —
brittle beauty — might this be the last?
(“Wherof the Gift is Small” by Maxine Kumin)

Okay, now that was fun. I love seeing these lines out of context. They are beautiful on their own, but I suggest you seek out the poem in its entirety. You can read the full poem on the Poetry Foundation website.


At Some Point… by Tracy K. Smith

I’m currently reading and loving Life on Mars by Tracy K. Smith, this year’s winner of the Pulitzer Prize for poetry to go with the theme of this month’s Poetry Project. I really feel like I could share any poem from this collection and so I  just turned to a random page. This is the poem I found and it is a lovely one.

At Some Point, They’ll Want to Know What it Was Like
by Tracy K. Smith

There was something about how it felt. Not just the during —
That rough churn of bulk and breath, limb and tooth, the mass of us,
The quickness we made and rode — but mostly the before.

The waiting, knowing what would become. Pang. Pleasure then pain.
Then the underwater ride of after. Thrown-off like a coat over a bridge.
Somehow you’d just give away what you’d die without. You just gave.

The best was having nothing. No hope. No name in the throat.
And finding the breath in you, the body, to ask.


Last week, when I talked about how to love a poem, this is the kind of poem I meant when I said that you might love a poem you don’t fully understand. I can try and gleam meaning from this poem. I could try and come up with scenarios that made sense. I’m sure I could make a good case or two, but it doesn’t really matter. This poem sounds amazing. The last couplet is so filled with meaning, it is like a poem on its own.

Smith, Tracy K. “At Some Point, They’ll Want to Know What it Was Like.” Life on Mars. Minneapolis: Graywolf, 2011.

How to Love A Poem

(I am posting this as a part of this project. Join in!)

We fall in love with words all the time. We are word-lovers. Passionate about stories. Fans of paragraphs and characters and punctuation. We can love a novel so hard that it becomes more like a friend than a collection of one word after another. We talk about characters like they are real. We are readers.

I have talked about how to read a poem, how to understand a poem, how to study a poem. Recently, Reading While Female listed her Top Ten Tips for Reading Poems. They are excellent. Go read them.

That’s how you read a poem. But how do you love a poem?

Sometimes, you love a poem because of one line. You might read all the words that come before that one line absentmindedly, reading the poem halfheartedly, understanding the words but not feeling them and then that one line or stanza or word simply stops your heart.

Sometimes that’s all it takes. The rest of the poem will probably catch up to your love and admiration for that one line, but sometimes it won’t. Sometimes a poem is nothing but a vehicle for an amazing line. Sometimes a poem is nothing but that shortest, most perfect combination of words.

It’s okay to just love that line. You don’t have to love the rest of the poem. Have you ever seen a baby taste their first piece of fruit? Until that moment it’s been all milk and cereal and milk and cereal. Suddenly there’s sweetness and tartness and all these flavors that the baby has never experienced. The first bite is a shock. The second is a test, to see if the first one was a fluke. But it’s not! The fruit always tastes as good and different as it did the first bite. Babies eventually learn that not every piece of fruit tastes that good, but they have the taste.

You have the taste now. You’ve read that line that stopped your heart and you want more. Maybe you read more poems by that one poet. Maybe you start picking up new poets. You try to find the lines that, if you were a teenager, you’d write across the cover of your angsty journal over and over again. I still do that. Maybe you start to find entire poems, entire books of poetry, that are comprised of lines you love. You are loving poetry.

It’s possible that you will love a poem you do not understand. There will be poems you don’t understand. Embrace the fact that you really have no earthly idea what it means, but you love the way it sounds. Go with it. Love it. Take those sounds and say them out loud, hold them in your mouth, and release them into the world. Poetry is meant to be spoken, to be seen on the page in all its written glory and set free by your voice, to an empty room or to a crowded room. To your bedroom, to your lover, to your friend. Just speak the words and forget the meaning. Words have a power all their own, just in their sounds and the ways they work together, apart from their connotations. It’s okay to love a poem just because it sounds amazing, even if its meaning is forever elusive.

Sometimes, though, you can only love a poem once you’ve wrestled it to the ground. Once you’ve spent hours digging through the rhymes and the rhythm, the assonance, the consonance, the enjambment, the meter, the symbolism, the imagery, once you’ve done your research, once you’ve read the criticism. Maybe you didn’t care for this poem at first, maybe it simply meant nothing to you, but something, whether it’s a school assignment or something that intrigued you about the poem, made you break out your highlighters, dictionary, and Wikipedia to figure out what the hell that poem means. It’s perfectly possible to spend hours or a lifetime untangling a poem to try and understand it and come out the other side disliking the poem or even hating it. Maybe, though, you’ll have a new appreciation for a poem, an appreciation that turns to love.

The best way to fall in love a poem is to forget what you know about poetry. Just feel it. Hear it. Taste it. Then remember everything you know about poetry. Fall in love all over again. What is a poem? Just a collection of words, put together in such a way that they make someone’s heart skip a beat.