THIRTY-SEVEN CENTS
Vol. 4, No. 9     An Online Chapter of Missouri State Poetry Society     1 September 2005
 


RIDDEN ANY CLASSICS LATELY?  WRITTEN ANY?

In my search for a classic car to illustrate this issue of Thirty-Seven Cents, I found that the definition for "classic" differs from state to state.  I previously thought twenty-five years on a car qualified it as a classic, but the licensing bureaus of some states require only fifteen years to make a car a classic.  They may even add a category of "antique" for a car twenty-five years old.  Idaho has such a category, but there they are called Old Timers.  As cars age, the price for licensing them sometimes reflects still other qualifications, but all the state bureaus seem to agree that a classic is a car no longer allowed on the road except for special occasions.  Literature, too, has seen a change in its classics.  Where once a literary work was required to be at least 100 years old to be a classic, the time parameters have narrowed.  The term "classic" still implies a life of several years but more important is the requirement that it be rather widely accepted as valuable for our time.  No one will argue with the acceptance of works from ancient Greece and Rome as classics.  Actually they were the original classics, but now we find classics younger than 100.  We have "modern classics" which include twentieth-century works by Joyce, Fitzgerald, Kafka, Camus, Hemingway, Faulkner, and Beckett.  Even more interesting is to find library lists that feature as classics some contemporary works like A Separate Peace and To Kill a Mockingbird.  You might well ask where I am going with all this.  Well, I was thinking of the classic literature that began in the same way your most recent poem began--an artist felt the need to express feelings, and a work was called a literary classic if it expressed feelings in such a way its readers found it significant.  Then the literary work lasted.  But remember it would never have lived at all if someone had not given birth to it.  Have you recently started a poem on its way to immortality?  Have you written a classic lately?    --  Tom Padgett 
 


CONTENTS:

Past Issue Next
       
Poems by Members
         
Workshop

Missouri State Poetry Society

Winter Contest

Spare Mule Online

National Federation of State Poetry Societies
 
Strophes Online

 

NEW FEATURE: POETRY NEWS

Click News to see if this new column appeals to you.  If you like it, let me know, and I will continue it.  Click Back on your toolbar to return here after finishing the column.

HAVE YOU VISITED THE WORKSHOP LATELY?    Click Workshop and do some of the lessons there.   

HAVE YOU READ YOUR ONLINE NEWSLETTERS?

Remember to read Spare Mule Online and Strophes Online. You can keep up with members who get newsletters by mail by remembering to read them on the Net. The August 1 issues of Spare Mule Online and Strophes Online are available to you by clicking the underlined titles.


AMERICAN LIFE IN POETRY

Ted Kooser, current U. S. Poet Laureate, in response to an interviewer for National Public Radio, stated that his "project" as laureate was to establish a weekly column featuring contemporary American poems supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska.  This column appears in on-line publications (such as Thirty-Seven Cents) as well as hard-copy newspapers.  Poets are asked to contact their local newspapers to inform them that such a column is available free to them and to relieve the editor by explaining that all of the poems that will appear week by week are accessible, not obscure poems. 

American Life in Poetry: Column 019
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

 At the beginning of the famous novel, Remembrance of Things Past,"the mere taste of a biscuit started Marcel Proust on a seven-volume remembrance. Here a bulldozer turns up an old doorknob, and look what happens in
Shirley Buettner's imagination.

DISCOVERED
Shirley Buettner

While clearing the west
quarter for more cropland,
the Cat quarried
a porcelain doorknob

oystered in earth,
grained and crazed
like an historic egg,
with a screwless stem of

rusted and pitted iron.
I turn its cold white roundness
with my palm and
open the oak door

fitted with oval glass,
fretted with wood ivy,
and call my frontier neighbor.
Her voice comes distant but

clear, scolding children
in overalls
and highbutton shoes.
A bucket of fresh eggs and

a clutch of rhubarb rest
on her daisied oil-cloth.
She knew I would knock someday,
wanting in.
 

American Life in Poetry: Column 022
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE
 

The column for Week 22 did not come to me.
If it comes later, I will include it later.

American Life in Poetry: Column 020
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

In this fascinating poem by the California poet, Jane Hirshfield, the speaker discovers that through paying attention to an event she has become part of it, has indeed become inseparable from the event and its implications. This is more than an act of empathy. It speaks, in my reading of it, to the perception of an order into which all creatures and events are fitted, and are essential.

THE WOODPECKER KEEPS RETURNING
Jane Hirshfield

The woodpecker keeps returning
to drill the house wall.
Put a pie plate over one place, he chooses another.

There is nothing good to eat there:
he has found in the house
a resonant billboard to post his intentions,
his voluble strength as provider.

But where is the female he drums for? Where?

I ask this, who am myself the ruined siding,
the handsome red-capped bird, the missing mate.

 

American Life in Poetry: Column 022
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

In this short poem by Vermont writer Jean L. Connor, an older speaker challenges the perception that people her age have lost their vitality and purpose. Connor compares the life of such a person to an egret fishing. Though the bird stands completely still, it has learned how to live in the world, how to sustain itself, and is capable of quick action when the moment is right.

OF SOME RENOWN
Jean L. Connor

For some time now, I have
lived anonymously. No one
appears to think it odd.
They think the old are,
well, what they seem. Yet
see that great egret

at the marsh's edge, solitary,
still? Mere pretense
that stillness. His silence is
a lie. In his own pond he is
of some renown, a stalker,
a catcher of fish. Watch him.

INTERVIEW WITH TED KOOSER, U. S. POET LAUREATE:

The archives of National Public Radio has this very interesting interview with Ted Kooser:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4728857

It is well worth the 45 minutes it takes to hear it.
 

 
POET OF THE MONTH: JAMES WRIGHT

At this website you will find a brief biography, critical comments, and some of Wright's poems:

www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/73

Buy a book of Wright's poetry at

http://www.booksense.com/index.jsp?affiliateId=AmerPoets

http://www.powells.com/

http://www.amazon.com/
 


POEMS BY MEMBERS

EVENING HAIKU
Judy Young

The low setting sun
Illuminates bright oranges
Of autumn's forest.

The sun hits the leaves
To shine only a moment
Then quickly they fade.

Dusk sets in the woods
And its peaceful solitude
Lets my thoughts repose.

I feel my mind slow
As darkness covers the woods
Giving me shelter.

Now I can escape
The day's stark realities
And face only dreams.


MATRIARCH
A Doriece
Pat Laster

Youíre lucky, Mom!
At ninety-three,
youíve earned the right
to just preside.

Too deaf for that?
Then smile and nod,
accept a kiss
from each grandchild.

Youíre warm as toast
in this big house.
No need to cook
or clean or shop.

Instead, you work
the crossword book
to try and keep
your mind alert.
 

AIN'T THAT THE TRUTH?
Phyllis Moutray

Like Alice's White Rabbit,
"I'm late. I'm late
for an important date!"
And the older I get,
the later it gets
till "I'm a day late
and a dollar short"
and "I've got one foot in the grave
and the other on a banana peel."

How do I feel about that?

"That's life" and "this too shall pass,"
but "I'm gonna get even," because
"I'm going to take it all with me."
So there, Mom,
"I did too amount to something!"

Ain't life fun?

TAKE TIME TO BE IDLE
Henrietta Romman

When sitting down
for hours, waiting is
like being drugged
for hours, then
there's hope for
acceptance of all
things we'll remain
unable to change.

When milk that flows
remains as white as
sailing summer clouds,
while honey is as thick
as melting caramel,
then, too, hope abides;
forgiveness flows
to cover flaws
in hopeless hearts
we reach in love.

When none of all our
dreams hit home, while
silent as a spring lily
that lingers for her time
to open up to bless
the world with scent;
when all misplaced pieces
in our life still make sense,
while we wonder:
What's next for me, Lord?
Then know, my friend,
that in this world
all is not in vain.



BEES
Gwen Eisenmann

do as they please
but please to do
what pleases their queen
more or less

who hides in the dark
laying eggs
making bees
who do as they please

in a forest of flowers
and heady scent

making honey from these
with nectar they squeeze

color seduced
dance reduced
to just being bees
more or less

 

SANCTIFY THE LIVING GOD
Jean Even

I will lift up my voice in song
To the Holiest of Holy in heaven,
To God who is sitting on His throne.

Let my words be sweet to His ears,
A pleasant sound ringing so clear
Angels can't help joining the song.

Fear God and give Him the glory in song.
Worship Him in divine righteousness,
Adoration in elation to the Almighty.

All power be given to the King of Kings,
Sanctified to the Living God in heaven.
Rejoice and sing to the Ancient of Days.



CAT STORY
Sadly True
Mark Tappmeyer

Your life ended badly
I assume
on this grass and stony patch
by Farm Road 42.

At the time I did not know
what else to do
with the fierce and frisky you
but step away from

the duct-taped box
confining you
through this last ride
back to the wild

where life is feral styled.
Your claws barefaced,
you sliced a seam,
and then posthaste slid free.

But owning little civil thought
and being tomcat wary,
you likely missed the wrought-iron sign:
Paine Cemetery.


HOLD YOUR NOSE!
Nancy Powell

Quickly
the trap snapped shut.
I expected a rat.
A skunk! Thatís a stinking problem.
Now what?

 
SOME LIKE IT COLD
Tom Padgett

She takes her soup, her bath water, her news
at hotter temperatures than I take mine.
For years she's scalded me inside and out.
I quake each time I tuck to bowl or tub.
"My lining's blistered," I lament, but she
sits back and sighs, "Oh, no, no, it's just right."

She wants the news when it is TV hot.
I like newspaper cool, magazine cold.
She faces violence in life each day,
but I read calm, reflective afterthoughts.
She hears reports of action on the spot;
I weigh accounts a week to nine days old.

She views what happens as just that--
I seek significant apocalypse.
When she watches while she cooks
and mixes her excitement with our food,
I cower in another room in fear
and contemplate the world and me to burn.

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