Tell it Slant: How to Write a Wise Poem, essay by Camille Dungy

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Few essays on writing poetry grab me by the collar, slam me against the wall, and say “Listen, dammit!” But this one did.

Camille Dungy’s words sear through the fog. She tells it slant. She tells it true. She explains how some masters have done it. If you’ve not read her poetry, seek it out. You’re in for a treat. If you have the good fortune to attend a lecture or reading by her, do so. She’s energetic, wise and kind. She knows.

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/article/247926

Originally posted in June 2014.

The Geography of Silence

laundry

 

The Geography of Silence

 

1. Laundry drooping at midday.

2. She dreams off-key, in pastels.

3. With misunderstanding comes anger.

4. Mata! Mata! Again!

5.  Ashes crossing the ocean.

6.  Sweat, and the taste of separation.

7.  Reaching for past moons, she cries.

8.  Death’s shade.

9.  Rice.

10.  Self-sacrifice, the centered gift.

11. Inward, always. Inward.

telescope map

“The Geography of Silence” first appeared here in March 2016.

National Poetry Month: A Few of My Favorite Poems & Poets

I love these poems and poets for various reasons – technique, beauty of language, intellect, rigor – but mostly, their words burrow into my brain and won’t quit whispering to me…

Jane Hirshfield, “Not Moving Even One Step”

Carolyn Forche, “The Colonel”

Arthur Sze: “Kintsugi”

Antonella Anedda: “A Winter Night in the City”

James Wright: “To the Saguaro Cactus Tree in the Desert Rain”

Camille Dungy, “Association Copy”

Who are your favorites? Link in the comments.

Ode to Being Placed on Hold

phone

 

Ode to Being Placed on Hold

The music rarely
entertains,
but I find
peace between
the notes,
sometimes,
and embrace
the notion that
I’ve been inserted
in that peculiar
capsule between
speech and the
void, imagining
myself somewhere,
floating, free
of care and
gravity,
beer can
satellites
orbiting my head,
with bites of
pungent cheeses
and baguette
circling in
their wake,
a gift, you see,
like rain in
August or
a warm voice
saying hello.

“Ode to Being Placed on Hold” was written during the Tupelo Press 30-30 marathon in August 2015. Many thanks to Mary “marso” of the blog “marsowords” who sponsored and provided the title. The poem also appeared here in March 2016.

cheese