poem index

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Since when did keeping things to ourselves
help us to better remember them?

We need tutorials from predecessors.

To restore what’s missing makes a science
of equating like with like, or touching
small pebbles on a larger mental abacus.

We hitch a memory of order


I noticed the mockingbirds first,
           not for their call but the broad white bands,

like reverse mourning bands on gunmetal
           gray, exposed during flight

then tucked into their chests. A thing
            seen once, then everywhere—

the top of the

Mr. Macklin takes his knife 
And carves the yellow pumpkin face: 
Three holes bring eyes and nose to life, 
The mouth has thirteen teeth in place. 
Then Mr. Macklin just for fun 
Transfers the corn-cob pipe from his 
Wry mouth to Jack's, and everyone 
Dies laughing! O what fun it is 
Till Mr


Blaney Lecture

The following was delivered by Joy Harjo as the Blaney Lecture on October 9, 2015, at Poets Forum in New York City.

Vkvsamet hesaketmese pomvte
Mowe towekvs pokvhoyen yiceyvte
Mon vkerrickv heren
Pohkerricen vpeyeyvres
With praise for the Breathmaker, by whose intent
We arrive here, and by whose grace we leave.
—from A Map to the Next World by Joy Harjo (W. W. Norton, 2000)


I want to acknowledge the land on which we are gathered and the keepers of this land. This area was taken care of by the Lenape people. They are also known as the Delaware. The name Manhattan comes from “Manna-hata,” which translates as “island of many hills” from the Lenape language. The transaction with Peter Minuit, German born and director of the Dutch Colony of New Netherland in 1626, for the so-called purchase of the island took place under a tulip tree in Inwood Park. As there was no concept for selling land, that idea is difficult to grasp in the


Moments of Vision

Moments of Vision and Miscellaneous Verses was published by Macmillan in November 1917. Of this collection, "Logs on the Hearth" and "In the Garden" were poems written by Hardy in memory of his sister Mary. In other poems, such as "Joys of Memory" and "To My Father's Violin," he looks back nostalgically at the past, which to him always seems preferable to the present. Similarly, in "Great Things," where Hardy admits to a love for 'sweet cider,' 'the dance,' and 'love' itself, he uses the past tense, as he ends with the words "Will always have been great things."

The theme of Moments of Vision and Miscellaneous Verses, said Hardy, was to 'mortify the human sense of self-importance by showing or suggesting, that human beings are of no matter or appreciable value in this nonchalant universe.' This, as will be seen, was only part of the story, for there are many poems in the collection which relate, inevitably and vicariously, as always, to Emma Gifford [



Poetry that speaks to the enduring and irreversible coordinates of human fate—love, striving, fear of pain, hope, the fleeting nature of things, and death-leads us to believe that the poet is one of us, and shares in that fate. "We," the subject of such poetry, is determined neither by nation nor by class. But it would not be quite right to claim that its theme is therefore an eternal human nature, for as our consciousness changes, we humans try to confront ultimate things in new and different ways. In Wislawa Szymborska's poetry the "we" denotes all of us living on this planet now, joined by a common consciousness, a "post-consciousness," post-Copernican, post-Newtonian, post-Darwinian, post-two-World-Wars, post-crimes-and-inventions-of-the-twentieth-century. It is a serious and bold enterprise to venture a diagnosis, that is, to try to say who we are, what we believe in, and what we think.


Szymborska's "I" is an ascetic "I," cleansed not only of the


Children's Book
Singing School:  Learning to Write (and Read) Poetry by Studying with the Masters by Robert Pinksy
Isn't It Romantic: 100 Love Poems by Younger American Poets