September 23, 2011

7th Biennial Warren County Poetry Festival This Weekend


The 7th Biennial Warren County Poetry Festival is a free event to be held on Saturday, September 24, 2011. The festival is held on the campus of the Blair Academy, in Blairstown, New Jersey.

Featured poets this year include: Toi Derricotte, Mark Doty, Marie Howe, Jim Haba, Sander Zulauf, Martin Farawell, Stanley Barkan, Maria Mazziotti Gillan, Lyn Lifshin, Joe Weil, and Laura Boss, who is also the Festival Artistic Director.


The Festival will feature workshops, panel discussions, book signings, and open mic sessions.






September 11, 2011

The Names by Billy Collins


After the terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001, the Poet Laureate then in office, Billy Collins, was asked to write a poem to be read in front of a special joint session of Congress. Collins wrote "The Names, which he read on September 6, 2002.

 

The Names - Billy Collins

Yesterday, I lay awake in the palm of the night.
A soft rain stole in, unhelped by any breeze,
And when I saw the silver glaze on the windows,
I started with A, with Ackerman, as it happened,
Then Baxter and Calabro,
Davis and Eberling, names falling into place
As droplets fell through the dark.
Names printed on the ceiling of the night.
Names slipping around a watery bend.
Twenty-six willows on the banks of a stream.
In the morning, I walked out barefoot
Among thousands of flowers
Heavy with dew like the eyes of tears,
And each had a name --
Fiori inscribed on a yellow petal
Then Gonzalez and Han, Ishikawa and Jenkins.
Names written in the air
And stitched into the cloth of the day.
A name under a photograph taped to a mailbox.
Monogram on a torn shirt,
I see you spelled out on storefront windows
And on the bright unfurled awnings of this city.
I say the syllables as I turn a corner --
Kelly and Lee,
Medina, Nardella, and O'Connor.
When I peer into the woods,
I see a thick tangle where letters are hidden
As in a puzzle concocted for children.
Parker and Quigley in the twigs of an ash,
Rizzo, Schubert, Torres, and Upton,
Secrets in the boughs of an ancient maple.
Names written in the pale sky.
Names rising in the updraft amid buildings.
Names silent in stone
Or cried out behind a door.
Names blown over the earth and out to sea.
In the evening -- weakening light, the last swallows.
A boy on a lake lifts his oars.
A woman by a window puts a match to a candle,
And the names are outlined on the rose clouds --
Vanacore and Wallace,
(let X stand, if it can, for the ones unfound)
Then Young and Ziminsky, the final jolt of Z.
Names etched on the head of a pin.
One name spanning a bridge, another undergoing a tunnel.
A blue name needled into the skin.
Names of citizens, workers, mothers and fathers,
The bright-eyed daughter, the quick son.
Alphabet of names in a green field.
Names in the small tracks of birds.
Names lifted from a hat
Or balanced on the tip of the tongue.
Names wheeled into the dim warehouse of memory.
So many names, there is barely room on the walls of the heart.

September 9, 2011

Autumn Haiku Workshop (NJ)


We will be offering a another free haiku workshop next month in New Jersey. Our last workshop celebrated the start of summer and this next one will focus on autumn.

The autumn haiku workshop with Ken Ronkowitz is on both reading and writing haiku, that best known (and misunderstood?) form of Japanese verse. It will be held Saturday, October 8, 2011.

Though many Westerners associate haiku with early lessons on writing poetry as a child, the form dates back more than 300 years and is considered very serious poetry in the East.

Haiku consists of non-rhyming verses that frequently use nature and seasonal themes that aim to evoke vivid mental pictures and stir strong emotions in readers.

It is a form that has connections to other mediums of expression, aesthetics and Zen culture.

In the workshop, we will read and discuss the history of haiku, how it is composed in English and then compose and share our own haiku.


Our host location for this workshop is the Ringwood Public Library (New Jersey).

The event is also listed on Facebook.


The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, & Issa (Essential Poets)
Suggested Haiku Reading