Zachary Pace

Poem of the Week: Jonathan Galassi

December 30, 2011
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[Tinsel Tinsel]

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Poem of the Week: Dorothea Lasky

December 23, 2011
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[Who to Tell]

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Poem of the Week: Paul Legault

December 16, 2011
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[River 2]

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Poem of the Week: Simone Kearney

December 9, 2011
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Poem of the Week: David McConnell

December 2, 2011
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it is easier to think what Poetry should be than to write it

April 23, 2010

From the letters of John Keats:

“I am certain of nothing but of the holiness of the Heart’s affections and the truth of Imagination—What the imagination seizes as Beauty must be truth—whether it existed before or not—for I have the same Idea of all our Passions as of Love they are all in their sublime, creative of essential Beauty.”

“I scarcely remember counting upon any Happiness—I look not for it if it be not in the present hour—nothing startles me beyond the Moment.”

“The faint conceptions I have of Poems to come brings the blood frequently into my forehead.”

“Man should not dispute or assert but whisper results to his neighbor, and thus by every germ of Spirit sucking the Sap from mould ethereal every human might become great. and Humanity instead of being a wide heath of Fuse and Briars with here and there a remote Oak or Pine, would become a grand democracy of Forest Trees.”

“… what quality went to form a Man of Achievement especially in Literature and which Shakespeare possessed so enormously—I mean Negative Capability, that is when man is capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason—”

“I have an idea that a Man might pass a very pleasant life in this manner—let him on any certain day read a certain Page of full Poesy or distilled Prose and let him wander with it, and must upon it, and dream upon it—until it becomes stale—but when will it do so? Never—”

“I think Poetry should surprise by a fine excess and not by Singularity—it should strike the reader as a working of his own highest thoughts . . . but it is easier to think what Poetry should be than to write it—”

“Ethereal things may at least be thus real, divided under three heads—Things real—things semireal—and no things—Things real—such as existences of Sun Moon and Stars and passages of Shakespeare—Things semireal such as Love, the Clouds &c which require a greeting of the Spirit to make them wholly exist—and Nothings which are made Great and dignified by an ardent pursuit.”

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It’s [nearly] a summer day

April 15, 2010
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So we are taking off our masks, are we, and keeping
our mouths shut? as if we’d been pierced by a glance!

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Could Eros be kept

April 8, 2010
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nay, thank him and the bright goddess
that he left us

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Happy Poetry Month!

April 1, 2010
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To honor the first day of National Poetry Month, I want to share this poem by Bill Wadsworth — the progenitor of NPM, launched in 1996. Bill is an extraordinary writer, advocate and teacher of poetry — I’m profoundly grateful for the work he’s done and continues to do. (See full post for poem)

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March 19, 2010
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First he gave me
his heart. It was
red fruit containing
many seeds, the skin
leathery, unlikely.
I preferred
to starve, bearing
out my training.

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better late

March 12, 2010
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Congrats to Rae Armatrout, whose book VERSED won the 2010 NBCC Award.

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very belatedly

March 5, 2010
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by heart

February 25, 2010
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When I’m blocked, blank, speechless, I fill the silence by internalizing a poem. I pick one that I know has something to teach me—some diction or rhythm that, once ingrained, might knock me free. I don’t think “memorization” is an accurate term for this practice. I prefer to call it learning by heart.

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Celebrating Sylvia

February 18, 2010
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I feel that this development of recording poems, of speaking poems at readings, of having records of poets, I think this is a wonderful thing. I’m very excited by it. In a sense, there’s a return, isn’t there, to the old role of the poet, which was to speak to a group of people, to come across.

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more correspondence

February 11, 2010
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I want to begin praising If There is Something to Desire by Vera Pavlova, translated by Steven Seymour (her husband, her muse! how romantic, how intrinsic!) released last month from Knopf, her first collection published in English. These one hundred poems go so far so terrifically fast (almost all under ten lines) that Pavlova seems […]

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