Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The New Yorker: Timothy Donnelly's corporate poetry by Dan Chiasson

In the December 20 & 2, 2010, issue of The New Yorker (pp. 88-89) (Timothy Donnelly’s corporate poetry.), Dan Chiasson described poets as either “lingerers or barreller” because poems pass the time via “their recurring patterns of figure and sound:” “should a poet try to stop the clock or, like a swimmer caught in a rip current, ride the tide?” But when barrellers pause or lingerers hurry, “some of the most affecting moments in poetry happen.” Examples: Frank O’Hara’s eulogizing Billie Holiday: “The Day Lady Day Died;” John Keats “Bright Star.” Contemporary poets tend to be “inner barrellers, poets of ultrafast interiority. . . .gives particular urgency to the task of finding meaning inside the data stream, along with forms of beauty both intellectually credible and ethically palatable. Reasons, that is, to linger.” Chiasson described the style of Timothy Donnelly, Columbia University (The Cloud Corporation), as “a gameshow shopping spree: everything is thrown into the cart. . . .an acrobatic formalist, albeit one on fast-forward. . .an ingenious way of corralling catch-as-catch-can language within formal intervals. . . .poems full of old vocabularies now repurposed for commercial use.” In his second book of poerty, Donnelly offered images about the world of power and money as “especially dangerous, because it has already imagined us, our futures and fates.” In contrast to O’Hara’s (and others) “great urban poems about going out,” “Donnelly’s is a rare kind of city poetry, a poetry of staying in. . .offering no way out of this self-consuming contemporary moment” but offering advice about spiritual approaches to contemporary life.

Photo Credit:

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Room Full of Sisters

 By Mona Lake Jones

A room full of sisters, like jewels in a crown: vanilla, cinnamon, and dark chocolate brown. Now picture yourself in the midst of this glory, as I describe the sisters who are part of this story...

They were wearing purple, royal blue,and all shades of red; some had elegant hats on their heads.With sparkling eyes and shiny lips,they moved through the room swaying their hips...

Speaking with smiles on their African faces; their joy and laughter filled all the spaces. They were fashionable and stylish in what they were wearing; beautiful sisters all, who were loving and caring...

You see, it’s not about how these sisters appeared; their beauty was in the values they revered. They were smart, articulate and well read,with all kinds of African history stored in their heads...

Jugglers of professions, managers of lives -mothers of children, lovers and wives. They were good-hearted and kind, reaching out to others; giving back to the community and supporting our brothers...

All these sisters had struggled in the path; suffered from prejudices and endured the wrath. But they brushed off their dresses and pushed on the door; and they came back stronger than ever before...

Now imagine if you will, the essence and thrill, as you stand feeling proud in the heart of this crowd...

The Sojourner Truths of today, still out in front, blazing the way...A room full of sisters, like jewels in a crown: vanilla, cinnamon, and dark chocolate brown.

Jones, L. M. Unleashing the power of a sister. (Publishing information unknown).
Photo borrowed from History Makers website.


By Mona Lake Jones, Ed.D.

I'm getting ready to unleash!

I've decided to let my spirit go free
I'm ready to become the woman I was meant to be

I've either been somebody's daughter, mother or wife
And now it's time for me to take charge of my life.

I've been pondering all this time trying to decide just who I am
At first I thought it depended on whether I had a man.

Then I had the notion that simply just because
Others had more seniority, they could decide who I was.

I played all the roles that were expected and I seldom asked why
I've had my wings closed up, but now I'm ready to fly.

I've been awakened and I finally see the light
I'm about to make some changes and set a few things right.

With my attitude and the knowledge I possess
I may create a whole new world order and clean up all this mess!

Stand back and watch me.
I'm getting ready to unleash!

Jones, L. M. Unleashing the power of a sister. (Publishing information unknown).
Photo Credit: Borrowed from Edmonds Community College website.

Night Dive

By Samuel Green
Down here, no light but what we carry with us.   
Everywhere we point our hands we scrawl   
color: bulging eyes, spines, teeth or clinging tentacles.   
At negative buoyancy, when heavy hands   
seem to grasp & pull us down, we let them,   

we don’t inflate our vests, but let the scrubbed cheeks   
of rocks slide past in amniotic calm.   
At sixty feet we douse our lights, cemented   
by the weight of the dark, of water, the grip   
of the sea’s absolute silence.  Our groping   

hands brush the open mouths of anemones,   
which shower us in particles of phosphor   
radiant as halos.  As in meditation,   
or in deepest prayer,   
there is no knowing what we will see.

Green, S. (1998). The Grace of Necessity, Cistercian Studies Quarterly, 33(1). Pittsburgh, PA: Carnegie Mellon University Press.
Photo Credit: Dan Delong, Seattle P-I. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

If You Had To

By Samuel Green

If you had to make the quill
pen in the old way, stripping
the feathers, cutting the well,
splitting & shearing the tip
off clean; if you had to grind
the ink, holding the cake
straight against the stone,
circling until your wrist ached
to get the proper tone of black;
would you wonder, as you sat before the paper
what sort of poem was worthy of your labor?

Green, S. (2008). The Grace of Necessity. Pittsburgh, PA: Carnegie Mellon University Press.
Photo Credit: Borrowed from Washington Community College Humanities Association website.