Thursday, February 17, 2011

Valentine, a poem by Carol Ann Duffy.

Post 597 - Carol Ann Duffy was born in Glasgow in 1955. She graduated with an honors degree in philosophy from the University of Liverpool in 1977 and now holds honorary doctorates from the University of Dundee, the University of Hull, the University of St Andrews and the University of Warwick. Duffy first reached a wide audience with The World's Wife (1999), a series of witty dramatic monologues spoken by women from fairy tales and myths, and the women usually air-brushed from history, such as Mrs. Midas and Mrs. Darwin. Duffy is also a playwright and her output has included a formidable amount of writing for children. She’s Professor of Contemporary Poetry at the Manchester Metropolitan University and Creative Director of the Manchester Writing School. She was awarded an OBE in 1995, and a CBE in 2002, and was appointed Britain's poet laureate in May 2009.

Duffy says of her poetry: "I like to use simple words but in a complicated way."

Valentine by Carol Ann Duffy.

Not a red rose or a satin heart.

I give you an onion.
It is a moon wrapped in brown paper.
It promises light
Like the careful undressing of love.

It will blind you with tears
Like a lover.
It will make your reflection
A wobbling photo of grief.

I am trying to be truthful.

Not a cute card or a kissogram.

I give you an onion.
Its fierce kiss will stay on your lips,
Possessive and faithful
As we are,
For as long as we are.

Take it.
Its platinum loops shrink to a wedding-ring,
If you like.
Its scent will cling to your fingers,
Cling to your knife.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Ritual To Read To Each Other by William Stafford

Post 596 - William Edgar Stafford was born in Hutchinson, Kansas, on January 17, 1914, the eldest of three children. He graduated from the University of Kansas in 1937. In 1939 he enrolled at the University of Wisconsin to begin graduate studies in Economics, but by the next year he had returned to Kansas to earn his master's degree in English in 1947. In 1948 he moved to Oregon to teach at Lewis and Clark College. Though he traveled and read his poems widely, he taught at Lewis and Clark until his retirement in 1980. Stafford won the National Book Award in 1963 and went on to publish more than sixty-five volumes of poetry and prose. Among his many honors and awards were a Shelley Memorial Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Western States Lifetime Achievement Award in Poetry. In 1970, he was the Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress (a position currently known as the Poet Laureate). He died at his home in Lake Oswego, Oregon, on August 28, 1993.
He believed that “A writer is not so much someone who has something to say as he is someone who has found a process that will bring about new things he would not have thought of if he had not started to say them.”

A Ritual To Read To Each Other by William Stafford

If you don't know the kind of person I am
and I don't know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.

For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
storming out to play through the broken dyke.

And as elephants parade holding each elephant's tail,
but if one wanders the circus won't find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.

And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should consider -
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.

For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give - yes or no, or maybe -
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.

Friday, February 4, 2011

For My Daughter, a poem by David Ignatow.

Post 595 - David Ignatow (1914 – 1997) was born in Brooklyn and spent most of his life in the New York City area. He was president of the Poetry Society of America from 1980 to 1984 and poet-in-residence at the Walt Whitman Birthplace Association in 1987. Mr. Ignatow's many honors include a Bollingen Prize, two Guggenheim fellowships, the John Steinbeck Award, and a National Institute of Arts and Letters award "for a lifetime of creative effort." He received the Shelley Memorial Award (1966), the Frost Medal (1992), and the William Carlos Williams Award (1997) of the Poetry Society of America.
He taught at the New School for Social Research, the University of Kentucky, the University of Kansas, Vassar College, York College of the City University of New York, New York University, and Columbia University.

Commenting on the life of the poet, he once observed, "There's a metaphysical loneliness. We all feel it. The burden of living one's own life is experiencing sensations that no one else can share. You take a step in a house, you start moving around the house, no one else moves with you. You're walking by yourself."

For My Daughter in Reply to a Question.

We're not going to die.
We'll find a way.
We'll breathe deeply
and eat carefully.
We'll think always on life.
There'll be no fading for you or for me.
We'll be the first
and we'll not laugh at ourselves ever
and your children will be my grandchildren.
Nothing will have changed
except by addition.
There'll never be another as you
and never another as I.
No one ever will confuse you
nor confuse me with another.
We will not be forgotten and passed over
and buried under the births and deaths to come.