Showing posts tagged poetry.


writer // curator /// stockholm // new york
hej [at] jenniferlindblad [dot] com

"Words were how she persuaded herself […] She could not, however, permanently secure herself with words […] She wanted more than words could give her."
Carl Rollyson, “The last days of Sylvia Plath" (HT to Alix for the link)
— 1 year ago with 2 notes
#sylvia plath  #poetry  #words  #language  #writing  #security 


Winters are long here. 
The road a dark gray, the maples gray, silvered with lichen, 
and the sun low on the horizon, 
white on blue; at sunset, vivid orange-red.

When I shut my eyes, it vanishes. 
When I open my eyes, it reappears. 
Outside, spring rain, a pulse, a film on the window.

And suddenly it is summer, all puzzling fruit and light.


(Source: flytande)

— 1 year ago with 3 notes
#poetry  #winter  #louise gluck 

Windy Evening
by Charles Simic

This old world needs propping up
When it gets this cold and windy. 
The cleverly painted sets,
Oh, they’re shaking badly!
They’re about to come down.

There’ll be nothing but infinite space.
The silence supreme. Almighty silence. 
Egyptian sky. Stars like torches
Of grave robbers entering the crypts of kings. 
Even the wind pausing, waiting to see. 

Better grab hold of that tree, Lucille.
Its shape crazed, terror-stricken.
I’ll hold on to the barn.
The chickens in it are restless.
Smart chickens, rickety world. 

From A WEDDING IN HELL (Harcourt, 1994)
— 1 year ago
#poetry  #topical  #sandy  #charles simic 
Super Swedish finds today at Strand #septembersmarts (Taken with Instagram at Strand Book Store)
48 cents for the Strindberg!

Super Swedish finds today at Strand #septembersmarts (Taken with Instagram at Strand Book Store)

48 cents for the Strindberg!

— 2 years ago with 6 notes
#books  #literature  #poetry  #Strindberg  #Transtromer  #Swedish  #authors  #scandinavia  #Strand 
"Where is the evidence I will learn
to be good at loving?"

Stacie Cassarino, “Summer Solstice”

The whole poem's good but my god, this line.

— 2 years ago with 82 notes
#poetry  #Stacie Cassarino 
"I woke. You were lying beside me in the double bed,
prone, your long dark hair fanned out over the downy pillow.

I’d been dreaming we stood on a beach an ocean away
watching the waves purl into their troughs and tumble over.

Knit one, purl two, you said. Something in your voice made me think
of women knitting by the guillotine. Your eyes met mine.

The fetch of a wave is the distance it travels, you said,
from where it is born at sea to where it founders to shore.

I must go back to where it all began. You waded in
thigh-deep, waist-deep, breast-deep, head-deep, until you disappeared.

I lay there and thought how glad I was to find you again.
You stirred in the bed and moaned something. I heard a footfall

on the landing, the rasp of a man’s cough. He put his head
around the door. He had my face. I woke. You were not there."
Ciaran Carson, “The Fetch” (another HT to Alysse)
— 2 years ago with 3 notes
#poetry  #love  #Ciaran Carson  #sleep 
"Let it come down: these thicknesses of air
have long enough walled love away from love;
stillness has hardened until words despair
of their high leaps and kisses shut themselves
back into wishing. Crippled lovers lie
against a weather which holds out on them,
waiting, awaiting some shrill sign, some cry,
some screaming cat that smells a sacrifice
and spells them thunder. Start the mumbling lips,
syllable by monotonous syllable,
that wash away the sullen griefs of love
and drown out knowledge of an ancient war—
o, ill-willed dark, give with the sound of rain,
let love be brought to ignorance again."

Lisel Mueller, “A Prayer for Rain.” Originally appeared in the March 1964 issue of Poetry magazine.

The phrase “sullen griefs of love.”

HT to Alysse, who understands.


— 2 years ago with 2 notes
#Lisel Mueller  #poetry  #love  #grief 

Still, what I want in my life
is to be willing
to be dazzled —
to cast aside the weight of facts

and maybe even
to float a little
above this difficult world.
I want to believe I am looking

into the white fire of a great mystery.
I want to believe that the imperfections are nothing —
that the light is everything — that it is more than the sum
of each flawed blossom rising and fading. And I do.

— Mary Oliver, “The Ponds”

(Source: honeynsalt)

— 2 years ago with 14 notes
#mary oliver  #poetry 
Richard Siken,  
Litany in Which Certain Things Are Crossed Out

Richard Siken,  

Litany in Which Certain Things Are Crossed Out

— 2 years ago with 15 notes
#richard siken  #poetry 
Richard Siken, 
Litany in Which Certain Things Are Crossed Out

Richard Siken, 

Litany in Which Certain Things Are Crossed Out

— 2 years ago with 4 notes
#richard siken  #poetry 

(In my sleep I dreamed this poem)

Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.

It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift.

Mary Oliver, “The Uses of Sorrow”

(Source: oofpoetry, via awritersruminations)

— 2 years ago with 1028 notes
#poetry  #sorrow  #gift 
"Love breaks my
bones and I
Charles Bukowski (via crematorie)
— 2 years ago with 54 notes
#Bukowski  #poetry 
Possession →

Walk into the world,
Go into the places of trade;
Go into the smiling country—
But go, clad, wrapped closely always,
Shielded and sustained,
In the visible flame of my love.

Let it blaze about you—
A glowing armor for all to see;
Flashing around your head—
A tender and valiant halo.

I think there will be many to wonder
And many to stand in awe and envy—
But surely no one will come too close to you.
No one will dare to claim you,—
Hand or heart,—
As you pass in your shining and terrible garment.

Jean Starr UntermeyerPossession

(via speakmnemosyne-deactivated20120)

— 2 years ago with 4 notes

It hit me the other day […] poems are like teenagers. They’re dressed up funny but they all kind of look the same. They say obvious things in incomprehensible slang. They come on strong one minute and the next minute refuse to tell us anything. They traffic in vast sensitivity, even hysteria, all the while obsessed with keeping cool. They won’t settle down and talk to us like grown-ups. In short, they’re exasperating. It’s no wonder we all wrote poems in our adolescence. You did so, I saw you.

Still, they give me much pleasure—I’m just talking about poems now—and I don’t really want my poetry to grow up. When I come across poetry that has straightened itself out to conduct itself like an adult without any nonsense, it makes for very stale reading, as does the stuff that has disconnected from passion and impulse in favor of intellectual gamesmanship. I might admire it, but it doesn’t cling to me. I can’t love the poetry that sits around in a well-furnished room with its well-weathered friends talking about complicated political situations and other hobgoblins of grown-up life. I love the ones that are loving somebody, longing for somebody, dancing all night, driving home listening to the radio, and staring out their bedroom windows at the cruel, cruel world.

Daniel Handler, What the Swedes Read, May 2012


— 2 years ago with 3 notes
#the believer  #daniel handler  #poetry 

I was so affected by Adrienne Rich’s poem Transcendental Etude that I had to read it aloud, had to sound out the nuances in the words. This is the recording I did this morning. Text below:

This August evening I’ve been driving
over backroads fringed with queen anne’s lace
my car startling young deer in meadows—one
gave a hoarse intake of her breath and all
four fawns sprang after her
into the dark maples.
Three months from today they’ll be fair game
for the hit-and-run hunters, glorying
in a weekend’s destructive power,
triggers fingered by drunken gunmen, sometimes
so inept as to leave the shattered animal
stunned in her blood. But then evening deep in summer
the deer are still alive and free,
nibbling apples from early-laden boughs
so weighed, so englobed
with already yellowing fruit
they seem eternal, Hesperidean
in the clear-tuned, cricket-throbbing air.

Later I stood in the dooryard
my nerves singing the immense
fragility of all this sweetness,
this green world already sentimentalized, photographed,
advertised to death. Yet, it persists
stubbornly beyond the fake Vermont
of antique barnboards glazed into discotheques,
artificial snow, the sick Vermont of children
conceived in apathy grown to winters
of rotgut violence,
poverty gnashing its teeth like a blind cat at their lives.
Still, it persists. Turning off into a dirt road
from the raw cuts bulldozed through a quiet village
for the tourist run to Canada,
I’ve sat on a stone fence above a great-soft, sloping field
of musing helfers, a farmstead
slanting its planes calmly in the calm light,
a dead elm raising bleached arms
above a green so dense with life,
minute, momentary life—slugs, moles, pheasants, gnats,
spiders, moths, hummingbirds, groundhogs, butterflies 
a lifetime is too narrow
to understand it all, beginning with the huge
rockshelves that underlie all life.

No one ever told us we had to study our lives,
make of our lives a study, as if learning natural history
music, that we should begin
with the simple exercises first
and slowly go on trying
the hard ones, practicing till strength
and accuracy became one with the daring
to leap into transcendence, take the chance
of breaking down the wild arpeggio
or faulting the full sentence of the fugue.
And in fact we can’t live like that: we take on
everything at once before we’ve even begun
to read or mark time, we’re forced to begin
in the midst of the hard movement,
the one already sounding as we are born.

At most we’re allowed a few months
of simply listening to the simple
line of a woman’s voice singing a child
against her heart. Everything else is too soon,
too sudden, the wrenching-apart, that woman’s heartbeat
heard ever after from a distance
the loss of that ground-note echoing
whenever we are happy, or in despair.

Everything else seems beyond us,
we aren’t ready for it, nothing that was said
is true for us, caught naked in the argument,
the counterpoint, trying to sightread
what our fingers can’t keep up with, learn by heart
what we can’t even read. And yet
it is this we were born to. We aren’t virtuosi
or child prdigies, there are no prodigies  
in this realm, only a half-blind, stubborn
cleaving to the timbre, the tones of what we are,
even when all the texts describe it differentl y.

And we’re not performers, like Liszt, competing
against the world for speed and brilliance
(the 79-year-old pianist said, when I asked her
What makes a virtuoso?—Competitiveness.)
The longer I live the more I mistrust
theatricality, the false glamour cast
by performance, the more I know its poverty beside
the truths we are salvaging from
the splitting-open of our lives
The woman who sits watching, listening,
eyes moving in the darkness
is rehearsing in her body, hearing-out in her blood
a score touched off in her perhaps
by some words, a few chords, from the stage,
a tale only she can tell.

But there come times—perhaps this is one of them 
when we have to take ourselves more seriously or die;
when we  have to pull back from the incantations,
rhythms we’ve moved to thoughtlessly,
and disenthrall ourselves, bestow
ourselves to silence, or a severer listening, cleansed
of oratory, formulas, choruses, laments, static
crowning the wires. We cut the wires,
find ourselves in free-fall, as if
our true home were the undimensional
solitudes, the rift
in the Great Nebula.
No one who survives to speak
new language, has avoided this:
the cutting-away of an old force that held her
rooted to an old ground
the pitch of utter loneliness
where she herself and all creation
seem equally dispersed, weightless, her being a cry
to which no echo comes or can ever come.

But in fact we were always like this,
rootless, dismembered: knowing it makes the difference.
Birth stripped our birthright from us,
tore us from a woman, from women, from ourselves
so early on
and the whole chorus throbbing at our ears
like midges, told us nothing, nothing
of origins, nothing we needed
to know, nothing that could re-member us.

Only: that it is unnatural,
the homesickness for a woman, for ourselves,
for that acute joy at the shadow her head and arms
cast on a wall, her heavy or slender
thighs on which we lay, flesh against flesh,
eyes steady on the face of love; smell of her milk, her sweat,
terror of her disappearance, all fused in this hunger
for the element they have called most dangerous, to be
lifted breathtaken on her breast, to rock within her—even if beaten back, stranded again, to apprehend
in a sudden brine-clear though
trembling like the tiny, orbed, endangered
egg-sac of a new world:
This is what she was to me, and this
is how I can love myself
as only a woman can love me.

Homesick for myself, for her—as, later the heatwave
breaks, the clear tones of the world
manifest: cloud, bough, wall, insect, the very soul of light,
homesick as the fluted vault of desire
articulates itself: I am the lover and the loved,
home and wanderer, she who splits
firewood and she who knocks, a stranger
in the storm, two women, eye to eye
measuring each other’s spirits each others’
limitless desire,

          a whole new poetry beginning here.

Vision begins to happen in such a life
as if a woman quietly walked away 
from the argument and jargon in a room
and sitting down in the kitchen, began turning in her lap
bits of yarn, calico and velvet scraps,
laying them out absently on the scrubbed boards
in the lamplight, with small rainbow- colored shells
sent in cotton-wool from somewhere far away
and skeins of milkweed from the nearest meadow 
original domestic silk, the finest findings
and the darkblue petal of the petunia,
and the dry darkbrown face of seaweed;
not forgotten either, the shed silver
whisker of the cat,
the spiral of paper-wasp-nest curling
beside the finch’s yellow feather.
Such a composition has nothing to do with eternity,
the striving for greatness, brilliance
only with the musing of a mind
one with her body, experienced fingers quietly pushing
dark against bright; silk against roughness,
putting the tenets of a life together
with no mere will to mastery,
only care for the many-lived, unending
forms in which she finds herself,
becoming now the sherd of broken glass
slicing light in a corner, dangerous
to flesh, now the plentiful, soft leaf
that wrapped round the throbbing finger, soothes the wound;
and now the stone foundation, rockshelf further
forming underneath everything that grows.

— 2 years ago with 11 notes
#Adrienne Rich  #Transcendental Etude  #poetry