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poetry circle

One Page Poetry Circle Archive


one page poetry circle

Welcome to the Virtual One Page Poetry Circle!

Date: April 18, 2023
Theme: Poetry and the Ordinary
Time: 5:30 – 6:30 pm
Place: St. Agnes Branch Library, 444 Amsterdam Ave, 3rd Fl. Or by email (see addresses below)

Find a poem! Show up! Or, send a poem by email!

We're back for the fifteenth spring season of the One Page Poetry Circle where people examine the works of established poets. While there is no instructor and this is not a workshop for personal writing, once a month OPPC gives everyone a place to become teachers and learners to explore the form, content, language and meaning of poetry. Since the circle began, participants have selected and discussed 1434 poems and have read countless others in pursuit of poetry that speaks to them.

The One Page Poetry Circle returns to St. Agnes Library on April 18, 2023.
In addition, for those who are unable to attend, you will still be able to participate by email.

If you can make the April 18th meeting, we ask that you bring a poem with you on the theme of Poetry and the Ordinary, with copies for others if you can.

If you're unable to attend, send us the poems you've selected with a comment on why you chose them. We'll share the poems with you in person, by email, and through our blog.

Poetry can help us to see the extraordinary in the ordinary or the ordinary in the extraordinary because of the poet's uncanny ability to see and to describe in unusual ways. Here are the two lines of Ezra Pound's poem, "In a Station of the Metro," suggesting the beautiful in the midst of the mundane:

  • The apparition of these faces in the crowd:
  • Petals on a wet, black bough.

The first lines of "Night Without End," a poem of the Six Dynasties Period in China (220-589), tell of a typical sleepless night during a full moon. The last two lines crack the poem open to infinite possibilities:

  • Night without end. I cannot sleep.
  • The full moon blazes overhead.
  • Far off in the night I hear someone call.
  • Hopelessly I answer, "Yes."
  •       —Anonymous, translated by Kenneth Rexroth

Our theme for March was Capitalization.

Abigail enjoyed the way that Douglas Scotney describes the Germanic use of capital letters in "A Case for Germany": "Embellished letters are what capitals are,/(capitals are embellished letters),/so a page of German/strikes England as rather embellished:/on top of the double dots/(umlauts)/there's a capital to every noun."

Scott remembered that "Maya Angelou read 'On the Pulse of Morning' at the first inauguration of Bill Clinton. Rock, River, and Tree are capitalized throughout; everything else is conventionally capitalized": "The horizon leans forward,/Offering you space to place new steps of change./Here, on the pulse of this fine day/You may have the courage/To look up and out upon me, the/Rock, the River, the Tree, your country."

Roger chose William Butler Yeats' "The Song of Wandering Aengus" in which, with traditional capitalization, Yeats tells a magical tale of a fish becoming a "glimmering girl/With apple blossom in her hair/Who called me by my name and ran/And faded through the brightening air."

Christiana also found words from William Butler Yeats, this one—"a kind of free verse"—in visual form. "The assignment gave me a lot of fun on the Internet." The selection was lettered by a calligrapher who calls himself Calligranerd.

Kai sent "the cambridge ladies who live in furnished souls" by E. E. Cummings. Kai comments, "The Cambridge Ladies live drab lives of intellect and posturing, while missing out entirely on nature's beauty. Cummings' rebellious refusal to employ traditional poetic capitalization seems particularly fitting in this context": "the Cambridge ladies do not care, above/Cambridge if sometimes in its box of/sky lavender and cornerless, the/moon rattles like a fragment of angry candy".

Cate selected best-selling Palestinian-Danish poet Yahya Hassan's poem "THE BAG OF SKUNK AND THE GHETTO BANK" telling us that the poet died three years ago at 24. One hundred and twenty thousand copies of his first poetry collection have been sold and sales are still going strong. Hassan's translator, Jordan Barger, notes "Translating Hassan is living in ALL CAPS, juggling ambiguities and managing intense directness." The poem begins:


Tom sent G. R. Kramer's "Stars Over Central Park" with its noticeable lack of capitalized words (only 4 out of 160), and effective use of enjambment: "The dead are the dirt/that heave up green/notes in the hot dusk/to break the glass/of this islet/riverine sliver/in granite and light/it splits the Hudson flow." (excerpted from March 5, 2023 ed. of TimesMetropolitan Diary)

Richard and Gail both chose the same E. E. Cummings poem, a coincidence that rarely happens at the One Page Poetry Circle. For Richard, Cummings "is the King of non-CapitAlization. I like his love poem especially." Gail wrote "This is one of the most famous E. E. Cummings poems." Here is a link she sent to some of the biographical information (from Wikipedia). The poem, which uses enjambment and has few spaces between punctuation and letters, indicates the closeness of the lovers. The title is the first line: "i carry your heart with me(I carry it in/my heart)i am never without it(anywhere/i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done/by only me is your doing,my darling/i fear."

AnnaLee brings us around full circle with Billy Collins. "I was just sitting down to find a poem for the theme of Poetry and Capitalization, when the latest New Yorker poetry newsletter popped into my email. 'Incipit' with its references to ornate initial caps in illuminated manuscripts was perfect. The poem begins":

  • Too bad this poem wasn't written
  • in a 12th-century monastic scriptorium
  • because it would have begun
  • with a much bigger T,
  • which would loom over the smaller letters,
  • their tiny serifs fluttering in the breeze.

Whether a poem concerns an ordinary topic, sees something extraordinary in the ordinary, or approaches an ordinary topic in an extraordinary way, choose a poem that has meaning to you. Then bring it with you on April 18 with copies to share if you can, or email it to one of us, with a brief comment of why you chose it. Can't locate a poem you want to send? Check out Poetry Foundation or poets.org. You may also blog with us at onepagepoetrycircle.wordpress.com.

Spring 2023 Schedule
April 18: Poetry and the Ordinary
May 16: Poetry and Power

Abigail Burnham Bloom, abigailburnhambloom(at)gmail(dot)com
AnnaLee Wilson, annalee(at)kaeserwilson(dot)com

Gail Glickman

The One Page Poetry Circle is sponsored by the New York Public Library and is open to all. St. Agnes Branch Library is handicap accessible.


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