If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you; If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too; If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies, Or, being hated,
poems & poets
You can get there from here, though
there’s no going home.
Everywhere you go will be somewhere
you’ve never been. Try this:
head south on Mississippi 49, one—
by—one mile markers ticking off
another minute of your life. Follow this
to its natural conclusion—
In my bedroom my weight is three times more
than what I’d weigh on Jupiter.
If your kitchen was on Mercury I’d be heavier by half
of you while sitting at your table.
On Uranus, a quarter of my weight is meat,
or an awareness of myself as flesh.
On Venus the light
The word “gimmick” has derogatory connotations. It often suggests something cheap, tricky, fast, without substance, even immoral. There are intelligent people who attack the use of gimmicks or devices in teaching imaginative writing, on the grounds that such devices encourage kids to be thoughtless smart alecks, witty at the expense of substance, satisfied with a glib surface but insensitive to depth of feeling. Such critics usually emphasize the importance of meaning.
Were there a School of Gimmicks, its members might retort that the Defenders of Meaningfulness tend to be boring creeps who confuse self-expression with value, that the most sincere statement of feeling is no better than any other sincere statement, that what makes the difference in creative expression is style. In other words, concern yourself with style, and everything else will take care of itself.
These are two extreme points of view, of course. They sound like rehashings of the old conflict between
In April 2014 A Poet's Glossary by Academy Chancellor Edward Hirsch was published. As Hirsch writes in the preface, "this book—one person's work, a poet's glossary—has grown, as if naturally, out of my lifelong interest in poetry, my curiosity about its vocabulary, its forms and genres, its histories and traditions, its classical, romantic, and modern movements, its various outlying groups, its small devices and large mysteries—how it works."
Beginning with National Poetry Month, each week we will feature a term and its definition from Hirsch's new book. We begin with the beginning: This week's term is "poetry."
poetry An inexplicable (though not incomprehensible) event in language; an experience through words. Jorge Luis Borges believed that “poetry is something that cannot be defined without oversimplifying it. It would be like attempting to define the color yellow, love, the fall of leaves in autumn.” Even Samuel Johnson maintained, “To circumscribe poetry by a
At the 2015 National Book Festival in Washington D.C., Jane Hirshfield joined us with fellow Academy Chancellors Juan Felipe Herrera and Naomi Shihab Nye for a conversation about poetry and the poet's role in American culture today. In the following clip, Hirshfield talks about this and the themes she finds herself returning to in her poetry.