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poems

open - notebook paper and hands - jperkins

Yes, I remember being a young writer. I think my eighth grade English teacher, Mr. Hershey, was encouraging me, but at the time, it felt more like I was...

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Recently, I heard the results of The Fifth Annual James Hearst Poetry Prize sponsored by the ...

“Washing Palms” came to me the way most poems do, from things I hear people say and from memory. In this case, the words I remembered were my father’s. Like many of my family members, my father’s language is so direct and harsh, not poetic, yet still at the same time, these caustic characteristics actually make his language very poetic. The vulgarity of measuring distance in dick lengths and the back-handed slap of “Wish in one hand, then shit in the other,...

Philip martin - newspaper man

I am mostly—most conventionally—a newspaper columnist and film critic. I have done this sort of...

After explaining there should be just enough tension between our thumbs to hold a piece of paper, the monk paused to ask if we would like to repeat any steps before we practiced zazen posture. Nervous student that I am, I wanted to review everything. What if I stepped into the zendo with my right foot? Worse yet, what if while sitting zazen I had to sneeze or an itch surfaced? I’d traveled to Tassajara, a Zen Buddhist Center, to say a personal goodbye to our California life before we moved...

She was murdered. Kidnapped for ransom. Mutilated. Tortured.

It was 1927. She was twelve years old.

I was taking a persona poem workshop with Reginald Shepherd when I read about Marion Parker, and something about her situation triggered a response in me. The girl, daughter of a wealthy banker, was dismembered, disemboweled, and probably still alive when the maiming had begun. She had her throat slit in a bathtub. Then, in order to collect the ransom, her killer attempted to...

The most alluring Show & Tell blends the gesture of metaphor and the explicitness of saying it outright.

Many poems, in my view, do the same.

To read a poem is to engage beguiling Show & Tell. One comes to appreciate what the poet cares enough to write about – and learns the voice of her wondering, worrying, singing, or dissembling about those matters. One is enthralled or one is bored. One brews another cup of coffee or one picks up the TV clicker and poof...

800px-Ripple_effect_on_water

I enjoy ecstatic, rapturous poems. That is...

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When I was four years old, I used to tell my little sister stories that started out, “Once upon a time in the Great Pacific Northwest…” I’ve always told stories, whether in poems or visual...

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