2016 National Poetry Month weekly selections

April 5, 2016

2016 National Poetry Month weekly selections

Tuesday, April 12

Today's National Poetry Month selection is from Our House was on Fire by Laura Van Prooyen. Our House Was on Fire was a winner of our Robert McGovern Memorial Prize, nominated by former APP board member Philip Levine.

Could Be a Bird

Could be
a bird
would trade
its wings
for hands
for the chance
to grasp
this mango
and lift it
to the tongue
for fingers
for the chance
to hold
a pencil
and scrawl
at the expense
of flight.

If you enjoyed this poem, try "Perennial," another selection from Our House Was on Fire, which appeared on Blackbird in 2009.

Invite a friend to sign up at: http://eepurl.com/bid2FL and watch for our next post on Thursday.

Photo "White-eye and Ume flowers" provided by Ik T via Flickr's Creative Commons license.


Thursday, April 7

This poem by Anna George Meek comes from The Genome Rhapsodies, chosen by Angie Estes as the 2014 Richard Snyder Publication Prize winner. The book includes several examples of Meek's unique "bricolage" poetry, which combines words and phrases from different found texts to create a poem that speaks to the chemistry between the two texts. It is offered this week in honor of those remembering Kurt Cobain. 


Safety Pin

A bricolage of words and phrases from

  • an article on the history of the safety pin
  • Kurt Cobain’s suicide letter


Only because I love,

I have coiled, tensile strength

shaped like a human hand.


Usefulness terrifies me.


Steel earrings, chains, and wristbands:

Passion bears resemblance to being jabbed

in an acid bath by one factory,

and pressed against grinding wheels,

and subjected to electrically charged

skewers of wood.  The future


is automatic; it passes

through increasingly narrower dies.


I’m too much.


I appreciate the fact that

empathy allows for a range of motions.

In India, for example, pins and sewing needles

are kept and used for generations,

passed on from mother to daughter.

Myself, I can barely open up when released;

please: worn, torn, or brittle,

keep going.


Try "Heirloom" from Anna George Meek, reprinted on Verse Daily earlier this year.

Invite a friend to sign up at: http://eepurl.com/bid2FL and watch for our next post on Tuesday.

Photo "Safety Pin" provided by Jess! S via Flickr's Creative Commons license.



Tuesday, April 5

We start our month of National Poetry Month selections with a poem from Luminous Other by Robin Davidson. Davidson was our 2012 Snyder Prize winner and is currently serving as poet laureate of Houston, Texas. The poem Under the Moon takes inspiration from fellow Texas artist Billy Hassell.  

Under the Moon

                                      A painting by Billy Hassell

     A man takes the long way home,

sees in the blue-black dark the figure of a wolf,

     the shape of darkness

swallowing up all where he walks.

          The wolf contains constellations

     and the man moves under the stars


     in the wolf’s belly, swims among them, lost,

afraid of the shape darkness takes.

     He begins again.

          A man walks home under the moon as if

the sky were a blank canvas, a page of a sketchbook

     he keeps in his back pocket, a map


     of tangled branches where a raven perches,

fire under her wing. He holds the moon

     in his palm like fireflies he’s trapped,

until his knuckles shine,

          and with that light he paints

     the moon, the blue-black night,


     the raven, the fish, the luminous wolf.

He reaches into the canvas,

     turns his hands to the raven’s nest,

          rolls the night-eggs in his palm,

until they are hard as the moon or lapis lazuli,

     stones which open,


     each crystalline face a door.

The man enters, is immersed in blue stone, in darkness

     among constellations he can never contain,

among angels, raven-like, haunting.

          Or, the dark inhabits him

     and he devours grief until it sparkles,


     rises like angels or stars, like fireflies

released into a night meadow, soaring,

     leaving his body.

          A man takes the long way home,

and what he finds under the moon

     is the loose weave of hand and eye,


     pigment and light, an interior

tide tethering him to the night-

     violet grass, releasing him

          from his own, small reflection.


Is it still snowing where you're at? Try Robin's poem "Winter Litany" instead.

Sign up here to receive a poem each Tuesday and Thursday during the month of April. 

Photo "Wolf Moon 3" provided by Mark Evans via Flickr's Creative Commons license.  

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