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
poems & poets
First having read the book of myths, and loaded the camera, and checked the edge of the knife-blade, I put on the body-armor of black rubber the absurd flippers the grave and awkward mask. I am having to do this not like Cousteau with his assiduous team aboard the sun-flooded schooner but
Irony certainly isn’t the first word that comes to mind when we think of the poems of Walt Whitman, whose vast, brilliant, and uneven body of work is more often characterized by terms like earnestness and sincerity, directness and plain speech. This most American of American poets invented, after all, free verse as we know it, and not just in terms of an open, conversational voice, presented in an arrangement on the page often determined by content rather than by strict measures. His form mimics the process of thinking itself, and he allows the poem, in a markedly modern way, to grope toward meaning, using metaphor, image, analogy, and argument in ways quite unlike the dominant verse of his time. He gives a kind of breathing, seemingly spontaneous form to his questions, and thus his readers feel involved in a process of coming to knowledge, brought into an intimate relationship with at least a version of the speaker’s subjectivity. In this way he seems, along with his fellow
doha: This common Hindi form is a self-contained rhyming couplet. Each twenty-four-syllable line divides into unequal parts of thirteen (6, 4, 3) and eleven syllables (6, 4, 1). A sortha, an inverted doha, transposes the two parts of the line. The simple form of the doha, which conveys an image or idea in two verses, has made it especially useful to describe devotional, sensual, and spiritual states, as in the mystical poetry of Kabir (1440-1518) and Nanak (1469-1539). It often has a proverbial feeling. Goswami Tulsidas employed dohas to adapt the Sanskrit epic Ramayana (fifth to fourth century B. C. E.). His Ramcharitmanas (sixteenth century) are as well known among Hindus in northern India as the Bible is rural in America.
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Excerpted from A Poet’s Glossary by Edward Hirsch. Copyright © 2014 by Edward Hirsch. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The following is an excerpt from For All of Us, One Today, poet Richard Blanco's memoir about writing and reading the inaugural poem in 2013.
Nestled in our seats at the airport, Mark and I wait to board our flight back home. We’re still electrified but too exhausted to even speak. All we can do is quietly watch the mass of people herding through the terminal: businessmen in suits clutching their iPads or military men in uniform lugging their duffle bags, women in pantsuits or mothers pushing their strollers, everyone in the act of leaving or returning, in the mystic flux of journey. The public-address system sounds like an oracle, announcing flights, calling out passenger names and their destinations. And it all feels strangely familiar, old yet new, sharp yet dull, bright yet muted, like those few minutes some mornings in bed with half my life still in a dream and the other half of me being born anew into the miracle of yet another morning. The end of one story