I taught the composing of poetry for thirty-seven years at the college. Here is a little note and a list I sent out before each class began.
Let's make poems for some real reasons to enter art—to bring worlds to one another that we otherwise would not have, to create a place where you are safe to be you, to give your inward self the care and validation it needs and deserves, to write in order to have moments IN the writing that bring to you what you most cherish, care about, that...
Chelsea Henderson's poem "Errata" won second place in the 2010 James Hearst Poetry Prize.
A note from the author: I wrote "Errata" the summer after my second year of college, a summer that was difficult and emotional in many ways. I read Simic's "Errata"---which inspired my somewhat shameless take on his poem---and something about the emotional compression, the barely-muted desperation and longing, in his poem really struck me. In writing "Errata," which I wrote in about 30 minutes...
Ted Kooser's poem "The Corpse of an Old Woman" can be found in Vol. 251, No. 6 (Nov., 1966), p.14, http://www.jstor.org/stable/25116500.
THE CORPSE OF AN OLD WOMAN
It has been lying on a braided rug
with a teacup in its hand since yesterday
at supper-time, and the neighbor-ladies shrug
and say "She lets the lights burn night and day."
Prayer for My New Daughter
After Yeats, and inspired by an attack on transgender students using a “bathroom with urinals” at a college in the northeastern US.
A soul in chrysalis, in first agonized molt,
must choose: LADIES, or MENS.
For some—for you—these rooms are fraught,
an open field...
On June 16, 1944, George Stinney, a fourteen-year-old black boy, was executed by the state of South Carolina for the murder of two white girls. George was so short he had to carry a Bible to use as a booster seat when sitting in the electric chair. He was so young the death mask would not fit his face. He took five full minutes to die, the mask slipping off to show his eyes melting, his body convulsing.
There was no evidence...
Note from the author: The poem is set in the Midwest during the period of western migration, but it intends to make the reader consider how food and culture intertwine on several levels, from family to country. Perhaps it's good to remind ourselves of this linkage during this time of year when culture, family, and food are so prominent.
Recipes You Need
To Make a Cake Without Butter
Melt down a piece of salt pork, strain it through muslin, let cool, and then use...
Conrad, my main character in "Equinox", barely existed in the first drafts of this story. He was supposed to be a teenager dealing with his dad going off the deep end, but instead he was somewhat shy, somewhat hesitant, somewhat sad and confused. He was barely a side character. I tried pushing him into an ending–forcing him to blow up on his dad—but that ending didn't make any sense at all. I didn't see Conrad making that decision–and worse, because he was only “sort of” sad and...