We have a new U.S. Poet Laureate: Tracy K. Smith! In 2011, her book of poetry Life on Mars won a Pulitzer. She currently teaches at Princeton.
Some things you might not know about this position:
- The official title for this position is: Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress.
- The librarian of Congress (currently Carla Hayden) appoints the position.
- This position started in 1937 and the stipend accompanying it is only $35,000.
Here’s a link to NPR’s article “Tracy K. Smith, New U.S. Poet Laureate, Calls Poems Her ‘Anchor'”
picture from NPR
The Good Life
Summer at Blue Creek, North Carolina
There was no water at my grandfather’s
when I was a kid and would go for it
with two zinc buckets. Down the path,
past the cow by the foundation where
the fine people’s house was before
they arranged to have it burned down.
To the neighbor’s cool well. Would
come back with pails too heavy,
so my mouth pulled out of shape.
I see myself, but from the outside.
I keep trying to feel who I was,
and cannot. Hear clearly the sound
the bucket made hitting the sides
of the stone well going down,
but never the sound of me.
Five Reasons to Join the Pennsylvania Poetry Society (or at least check out what they’re doing).
I have been a member of the Pennsylvania Poetry Society for three years, but only recently attended a spring meeting. This was such a fun experience, it prompted me to write this post, with 5 reasons to join PPS, Inc.
- The Pennsylvania Poetry Society holds two meetings each year with workshops for developing your inner poet. These workshops provide time to talk with other poets, share work, and work with poets from throughout the state. The most recent workshop featured Dana Sauers.
- Meeting people who are also interested in reading and writing poetry. From their twitter page: “Founded in 1949, the PPS assists its members in the development of their craft and fosters an intelligent appreciation of poetry.”
- The PPS also runs an annual contest with 17 categories. Members have the opportunity to enter 3 of those 17 that non-members cannot. The winning poems are published each year.
- Joining this group allows can give you notice about many other contests, which they share on Facebook and Twitter.
- Joining this group will help you if you’re trying to work on your own writing. Each newsletter (produced four times a year) provides a challenge for writing poetry, and there’s also an online publication each month, called Pennessence. There are plenty of opportunities to challenge yourself and publish your writing.
A man made of scrap muscle & the steam
engine’s imagination, white feathers
flapping in each lobe for the skull’s migration,
should the need arise. Sometimes drugged
& duffled (by white men) into a cockpit
bound for the next adventure. And liable
to crush a fool’s face like newsprint; headlines
of Hollywood blood and wincing. Half Stepin’ Fetchit,
half John Henry. What were we, the skinny B-boys,
to learn from you? How to hulk through Chicago
in a hedgerow afro, an ox-grunt kicking dust
behind the teeth; those eighteen glammering
gold chains around the throat of pity,
that fat hollow medallion like the sun on a leash —
The Poet’s Occasional Alternative
I was going to write a poem
I made a pie instead it took
about the same amount of time
of course the pie was a final
draft a poem would have had some
distance to go days and weeks and
much crumpled paper
the pie already had a talking
tumbling audience among small
trucks and a fire engine on
the kitchen floor
everybody will like this pie
it will have apples and cranberries
dried apricots in it many friends
will say why in the world did you
make only one
this does not happen with poems
Meeting as a PCTELA board this morning to discuss matters of business and the fall 2017 conference. I asked our board some favorite poems, and Julie Mihalic Dinaples replied that “Invictus” was her favorite.
William Ernest Henley
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.