On Poem Sequences , Poetic Xenia, & “Laughter & Smile”

 

Girl with Pink Bonnet (Jeune fille au chapeau rose)

Attention, poets! Have you written, and published, poems that form a sequence when brought together? You might be eligible for the $20,000 Four Quartets Prize. No entry fee. Deadline: December 22, 2017. Submit.

“…poetry is and has been, from its beginnings, not about being cool or mysterious or sad or “deep,” but about the health of the human spirit, which cannot be healthy without xenia (hospitality), cannot be healthy when it denies the inner life, or the outer life, cannot be healthy when it denies the past, or the present, or the future, when it denies life, or death, the visible, or the invisible. The healthy soul, like the gracious host, must welcome every stranger.” — Read Ryan Wilson’s “How To Think Like a Poet”

A free monthly photo contest from childphotocompetition.com. This month’s theme is “Laughter & Smile” — submit your black and white, and color photos, and win!

 

Image: Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Girl with Pink Bonnet (Jeune fille au chapeau rose), 1894. Oil on canvas, Overall: 16 5/16 x 13 in. (41.5 x 33 cm). BF118. Public Domain.

 

Herman Melville: Sea Romancer Turned Gardener

“His subjects at the end included roses and irises, bluebirds and chipmunks, his early life with Lizzie in the Berkshires, and children’s dreams. …

…toward the end, … Melville … seems to have been content to avoid socializing, preferring instead to read his books, write, and tend his rose bushes.”

A short essay by  Mark Beauregard, offering a glimpse into Melville’s last years.

Did the “failed novelist” fail at yet another thing — poetry? Did he crave commercial success? Was he a happy man?

Happy, believe, this Christmas eve,
Are Willie and Rob and Nellie and May—
Happy in hope! in hope to receive
These stockings well-stuffed from Santa Claus’ sleigh.

— from Weeds and Wildings, with a Rose or Two, a collection of Melville’s poetry published in a private edition by Lizzie, Melville’s wife of more than forty years.

 

 

“About suffering they were never wrong”

David Lehman’s essay on W.H. Auden’s ekphrastic poem.

“I teach poetry in the graduate writing program of the New School in New York,” says David Lehman, “A favorite prompt of mine is to read “Musée des Beaux Arts” and other poems about paintings. Then I suggest that the students visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art and write about Brueghel’s sublime depiction of summer, “The Harvesters.” Try it—not in competition with Auden (you can’t win), but with Auden’s marvelous poem as your model.”

My two cents:

Don’t be intimidated by “you can’t win.” Try itnot in competition with anybody, except perhaps yourself. Go ahead, and write your own marvelous poem.

 

The essay was featured in The Wall Street Journal, Review, Sat/Sun, May 14-15, 2016.