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today's poet
Jos Charles
Jos Charles

from feeld

Recorded for Poem-a-Day, January 17, 2018.
About this Poem 
“This was the first poem I completed for the project that would become feeld. The effect of the poem was meant to be a kind of stitch-work achieved by juxtaposing concrete references (from internet speak, phenomenology, technical writing, identity politics, poststructuralist jargons, etc.) within a more compact, plain-spoken syntax. One of the things I was excited by with this project was the poem's capacity to, rather than define its particulars, blot them out, foregrounding gesture, traces, lines. This forces, at least for me, a stepping back to consider the poem as a placement of competing spaces, material possibilities, and histories, within language, than an argument or conclusion.”
—Jos Charles
 

from feeld

         bieng tran is a unique kinde off organe / i am speeching 

         materialie / i am speeching abot hereditie / a tran 

         entres thru the hole / the hole glomes inn the linden / a 

         tran entres eather lik a mothe / wile tran preceds esense
 
         / her forme is contingent on the feeld / the maner sits 

         cis with inn a feeld / wee speeche inn 2 the eather / wile
 
         the mothe bloomes / the mothe bloomes inn the yuca

Copyright © 2018 by Jos Charles. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 17, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2018 by Jos Charles. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 17, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

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poem

Good Bones

Life is short, though I keep this from my children.
Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine
in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,
a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways
I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least
fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative
estimate, though I keep this from my children.
For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.
For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world
is at least half terrible, and for every kind
stranger, there is one who would break you,
though I keep this from my children. I am trying
to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,
walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
about good bones: This place could be beautiful,
right? You could make this place beautiful.

Maggie Smith
2016
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Classic Books of American Poetry

This collection of books showcases the masterpieces of American poetry that have influenced—or promise to influence—generations of poets. Take a look.

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Crater Lake National Park, Oregon. Courtesy of National Park Service
poem

January

Again I reply to the triple winds
running chromatic fifths of derision
outside my window:
                                  Play louder.
You will not succeed. I am
bound more to my sentences
the more you batter at me
to follow you.
                                  And the wind,
as before, fingers perfectly
its derisive music.

William Carlos Williams
2016
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Gwendolyn Brooks: A Centennial Celebration

A Pulitzer Prize winner, an Academy Fellowship winner, and the first black woman appointed as consultant in poetry to the Library of Congress, Gwendolyn Brooks was—and continues to be—an outstanding voice in the world of contemporary American poetry. Brooks, who was awarded countless literary honors in her lifetime, was known for writing poems that captured a cross-section of everyday life in her hometown of Chicago. In sonnets, ballads, epic poems, and more, Brooks captured the lives, speech, and perspectives of people as varied as those she encountered in her city, and was particularly known for her interrogation of race relations and class.

This year marks Brooks’s centennial, and to celebrate, we’ve created this new collection of essays, audio, and poems by and about Brooks.

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In Memoriam
poem

Burning the Old Year

Letters swallow themselves in seconds.   
Notes friends tied to the doorknob,   
transparent scarlet paper,
sizzle like moth wings,
marry the air.

So much of any year is flammable,   
lists of vegetables, partial poems.   
Orange swirling flame of days,   
so little is a stone.

Where there was something and suddenly isn’t,   
an absence shouts, celebrates, leaves a space.   
I begin again with the smallest numbers.

Quick dance, shuffle of losses and leaves,   
only the things I didn’t do   
crackle after the blazing dies.
Naomi Shihab Nye
1995