Search Results For "a poem for" "alice quinn"

A Poem For Andrew

Alice Quinn —  Feb 6 2015 @ 9:00am
by Alice Quinn

For Andrew, essential defender of parity in the sphere of love:

That Love is all there is,
Is all we know of Love;
It is enough, the freight should be
Proportioned to the groove.

–Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

A Poem For Thursday

Andrew Sullivan —  Jan 29 2015 @ 8:00pm


Dish poetry editor Alice Quinn writes:

If we replace the word “today” in the title of the poem below with “yesterday,” perhaps we have an apt valedictory poem to Andrew following his note of Wednesday about his sad (but for him also liberating) retreat from blogging for the time being. The poet is a certified journeyman farrier who lives near Livingston, Montana.

May you stay fleet of foot on your amazing journey, Andrew.

“Something That Happened Today” by Michael Earl Craig:

I picked up a little beagle today;
I held her between my hands.
Her little legs kicked like sausages.
She was trotting away from me in midair.

I picked up a little beagle today.
She was wet.
And a little cross-eyed.
Had she been swimming in the irrigation ditch?

I picked up a little beagle today.
What was she doing in the barn?
I know I know . . . this story is unfolding
way too fast.

(From Talkativeness © 2014 by Michael Earl Craig. Used by permission of Wave Books.)

A Poem For Saturday

Andrew Sullivan —  Jan 24 2015 @ 9:29am


Dish poetry editor Alice Quinn writes:

Etheridge Knight was born in Mississippi in 1931. He began writing poetry as an inmate in the Indiana State Prison during the 1960s and published his first collection, Poems from Prison, in 1968. The capsule biography available on the Poetry Foundation’s website describes Knight as an accomplished reciter of “‘toasts’—long, memorized, narrative poems, often in rhymed couplets”—by the time he entered prison.

While there, he was encouraged by the prominent poet Dudley Randall, who established the Broadside Press in 1965, publishing poets on the order of Melvin Tolson, Sonia Sanchez, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Margaret Walker. Randall was also a remarkable anthologist perhaps best known for his groundbreaking volume, The Black Poets, published in 1971 and for many years the most popular and significant gathering of work by African American poets.

Galway Kinnell and Gwendolyn Brooks are just two of the distinguished contemporaries who admired Knight’s work, which was nominated for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. He was also a Guggenheim Foundation Fellow. Brooks wrote:

The warmth of this poet is abruptly robust.
The music that seems effortless is exquisitely carved.
Since Etheridge Knight is not your stifled artiste, there is air in these poems.
And there is blackness, inclusive, possessed and given; freed and terrible and beautiful.

“A Watts Mother Mourns While Boiling Beans” by Etheridge Knight:

The blossoming flower of my life is roaming
in the night, and I think surely
that never since he was born
have I been free from fright.
My boy is bold, and his blood
grows quickly hot/ even now
he could be crawling in the street
bleeding out his life, likely as not.
Come home, my bold and restless son.—Stop
my heart’s yearning! But I must quit
this thinking—my husband is coming
and the beans are burning.

(From Born of a Woman: New and Selected Poems by Etheridge KnightPhoto by Amy Riddle)

A Poem For Saturday

Andrew Sullivan —  Jan 17 2015 @ 9:05am


Dish poetry editor Alice Quinn writes:

Michael Longley’s The Stairwell, just published by Wake Forest Press, the premier publisher of Irish poets in America, is his thirteenth collection. He has also edited 20th Century Irish Poems and selections of the work of some of his favorite poets—among them Louis MacNeice, Brendan Kennelly, and Robert Graves, and he is the author of a winning memoir, Tuppeny Stung. He is a superb elegist and his poems about birds, children, and the natural world – exquisitely delicate – are among his most enchanting, often just four lines long, or two.

We’ll start with four of these shorter poems:

“Maisie at Dawn”:

Wordless in dawnlight
She talks to herself,
Her speech-melody
A waterlily budding.

“Wild Raspberries”:

Following the ponies’ hoof-prints
And your own muddy track, I find
Sweet pink nipples, wild raspberries,
A surprise among the brambles.


at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, Berlin

It must have been God, or rather, Yahweh
Who scattered the granite slabs with hailstones
And threw them from His Hand so accurately
Not one Jew was uncommemorated.

“The Frost”:

They kept you refrigerated for days, my twin.
I kissed your forehead where the frost was fading.

(From The Stairwell © 2014 by Michael Longley. Used by permission of Wake Forest University Press. Photo by Jenny Downing)

A Poem For Saturday

Andrew Sullivan —  Jan 10 2015 @ 9:40am


Dish poetry editor Alice Quinn writes:

The Scottish poet Kathleen Jamie, born in 1962, is the author of seven collections, including The Overhaul, just published here by Graywolf Press and shortlisted for the T.S.Eliot Prize when it was published in 2012 in Great Britain. Too few poets from England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales are published here. She’s one to follow along with the Irish poet Michael Longley, who also has a new volume. We’ll feature Jamie this week and Longley next.

“Hawk and Shadow” by Kathleen Jamie:

I watched a hawk
glide low across the hill,
her own dark shape
in her talons like a kill.

She tilted her wings,
fell into the air—
the shadow coursed on
without her, like a hare.

Being out of sorts
with my so-called soul,
part unhooked hawk,
part shadow on parole,

I played fast and loose:
keeping one in sight
while forsaking the other.
The hawk gained height:

Her mate on the ground
began to fade,
till hill and sky were empty
and I was afraid.

(From The Overhaul © 2012 by Kathleen Jamie. Used by permission of Graywolf Press. Photo by Peter Massas)

A Poem For Friday

Andrew Sullivan —  Jan 9 2015 @ 3:41pm


Dish poetry editor Alice Quinn – giving us a brief respite from all the mayhem in France right now – builds on this poem and this one from last weekend:

Our last choice (so far!) from the Irish anthology, Lifelines: New and Collected, Letters from Famous People About Their Favourite Poem, is Elizabeth Bishop’s poem “Manners,” chosen by contemporary Irish poet Vona Groarke, who wrote, “It records an age and a state of mind entirely without cynicism: a secure, small world in which no-one can lose his way. The child-like speaking voice is brilliantly achieved with rudimentary, sing-song rhymes which accommodate the jolly generosity and good faith of the child and her grandfather….

Hovering at the edge of its simplicity is something much darker, suggested by the obscured faces of the passengers in the cars: a future in which the values of the child and her grandfather will be as outmoded as their wagon seat; an impersonal, technological world which will have no place for the gentle intimacy of manners. The poem marks the belated transition from the nineteenth to the twentieth centuries, and from innocence to painful experience. Its success lies, I think, in doing so without the slightest trace of either rhetoric or sentiment.”

“Manners” by Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979):

For a Child of 1918

My grandfather said to me
as we sat on the wagon seat,
‘Be sure to remember to always
speak to everyone you meet.’

We met a stranger on foot.
My grandfather’s whip tapped his hat.
‘Good day, sir. Good day. A fine day.’
And I said it and bowed where I sat.

Then we overtook a boy we knew
with his big pet crow on his shoulder.
‘Always offer everyone a ride;
don’t forget that when you get older,’

my grandfather said. So Willy
climbed up with us, but the crow
gave a ‘Caw!’ and flew off. I was worried.
How would he know where to go?

But he flew a little way at a time
from fence post to fence post, ahead;
and when Willy whistled he answered.
‘A fine bird,’ my grandfather said,

‘and he’s well brought up. See, he answers
nicely when he’s spoken to.
Man or beast, that’s good manners.
Be sure that you both always do.’

When automobiles went by,
the dust hid the people’s faces,
but we shouted ‘Good day! Good day!
Fine day!’ at the top of our voices.

When we came to Hustler Hill,
he said that the mare was tired,
so we all got down and walked,
as our good manners required.

(From Poems by Elizabeth Bishop © 2011 by the Alice H. Methfessel Trust. Publisher’s Note and compilation © 2011 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Reprinted by permission of the publisher. Photo by David Prasad)

A Poem For Sunday

Andrew Sullivan —  Jan 4 2015 @ 1:35pm


Dish poetry editor Alice Quinn writes:

In the appealing anthology Lifelines: New and Collected, Letters From Famous People About Their Favourite Poem, contributors range from novelists on the order of Doris Lessing and Penelope Fitzgerald to actors and scientists on the order of Rosaleen Linehan and Richard Dawkins. One choice surprising to me was made by Peter Fallon, a poet and the distinguished publisher of Gallery Books, who wrote this about his selection:

Thousands of times I’ve heard the ‘Hail Mary’ transformed into, at best, a kind of mantra, at worst, the sound of no sense. Yet the words are lovely in their pure praise of a woman, a mother—maybe all women—and the phrase which has always delighted me, that is ‘the fruit of thy womb,’ for an offspring, a welcomed child, has again and again been submerged in the interminable decades of a million galloping rosaries. …Perhaps it’s the editor in me which would propose to alter the order of the first section of the piece so that it ends ‘Blessed is Jesus, the fruit of thy womb,’ to recover its special emphasis.

The text of the Hail Mary:

Hail Mary, full of grace,
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou amongst women
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death, Amen.

(“The Annunciation” by Fra Angelico, circa 1434, via Wikimedia Commons)

A Poem For Saturday

Andrew Sullivan —  Jan 3 2015 @ 6:41pm

Dish poetry editor Alice Quinn writes:

In April 1985, what was eventually to become a hugely popular anthology, Lifelines: Letters from Famous People About Their Favourite Poem, was Thomasportrait launched at Wesley College in Dublin as the first in a series of stapled pamphlets to raise funds “in aid of the Developing World.” Together those pamphlets comprised the first of three popular anthologies, each introduced by a famous Irish poet. For Christmas, a friend gave me the omnibus volume put together in 2006, a selection made from those heralded books.

In his introduction to the first, Seamus Heaney wrote, “This anthology was a magnificent idea from the start… a book in which poems re-enter the world refreshed rather than jaded by their long confinement inside people’s heads, a book that is surprisingly various and compulsively readable.”

The actress Judi Dench chose Edward Thomas’s poem “Adlestrop,” writing, “I love it because of its essential Englishness and because it reminds me of the time of steam trains and that special hiss that announced their arrivals and departures.”

“Adlestrop” by Edward Thomas (1878-1917):

Yes, I remember Adlestrop—
The name, because one afternoon
Of heat the express-train drew up there
Unwontedly. It was late June.
The steam hissed. Someone cleared his throat.
No one left and no one came
On the bare platform. What I saw
Was Adlestrop—only the name
And willows, willow-herb, and grass,
And meadowsweet, and haycocks dry,
No whit less still and lonely fair
Than the high cloudlets in the sky.
And for that minute a blackbird sang
Close by, and round him, mistier,
Farther and farther, all the birds
Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.

(Photo of Edward Thomas in 1905, via Wikimedia Commons)

A Poem For Sunday

Alice Quinn —  Dec 21 2014 @ 8:27pm
by Alice Quinn


“The Oxen” by Thomas Hardy (1840-1928):

Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
“Now they are all on their knees,”
An elder said as we sat in a flock
By the embers in hearthside ease.

We pictured the meek mild creatures where
They dwelt in their strawy pen,
Nor did it occur to one of us there
To doubt they were kneeling then.

So fair a fancy few would weave
In these years! Yet, I feel,
If someone said on Christmas Eve,
“Come; see the oxen kneel

“In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
Our childhood used to know,”
I should go with him in the gloom,
Hoping it might be so.

(From Christmas Poems, copyright (symbol) 2008 New Directions Publishing Corporation. Image: Piero della Francesca’s unfinished painting of the Nativity Scene, via Wikimedia Commons)

A Poem For Saturday

Alice Quinn —  Dec 20 2014 @ 7:47pm
by Alice Quinn


“The Magi” by William Butler Yeats (1865-1939):

Now as at all times I can see in the mind’s eye,
In their stiff, painted clothes, the pale unsatisfied ones
Appear and disappear in the blue depth of the sky
With all their ancient faces like rain-beaten stones,
And all their helms of silver hovering side by side,
And all their eyes still fixed, hoping to find once more,
Being by Calvary’s turbulence unsatisfied,
The uncontrollable mystery on the bestial floor.

(From Christmas Poems © 2008 New Directions Publishing Corporation. Image: James Tissot’s “The Magi Journeying,” circa 1890, via Wikimedia Commons)