June Poem of the Month contest

For June, the Poem of the Month prompt is: Write a political poem. Take up a cause, pick a battle and make some noise. Rather than advocating for a political party, consider the issues we face in the larger scheme of society. What poem would you write if your poem could change the world?

When your poem is finished, copy and paste it as a comment on this post. Be sure to include the poem’s title, your name and your York County, Pa., township of residence.

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CityArts to host summer poetry workshop series beginning June 22

A three-part workshop series developed “for writers seeking growth and excitement” will begin with a how-to session on getting published in literary magazines, to be held 2 to 4 p.m. June 22 at YorkArts’ CityArts gallery, 118 W. Philadelphia St., York.

Carla Christopher, York city’s arts and culture liaison and publisher of PoemSugar Press, will host the Mastercraft Writers Summer Workshop Series. The three sessions will feature several area poets who will give short readings, then conduct a Q&A with the audience.

For a list of panelists and topics, visit the event’s Facebook page.

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Charles Wright is the new US poet laureate

Charles Wright, a native of Tennessee, author of 24 collections of poetry and winner of a National Book Award, a Pulitzer Prize, a National Book Critics Circle Award and a Bollingen Prize, has been appointed the next poet laureate of the United States.

According to The Washington Post, “In an advance copy of Thursday’s announcement, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said, ‘Charles Wright is a master of the meditative, image-driven lyric. Wright’s body of work combines a Southern sensibility with an allusive expansiveness, for moments of singular musicality.’”

Learn more about Charles Wright by visiting The Poetry Foundation, or by picking up a copy of one of his books. The author himself, in the Post’s story, recommends 1984′s “The Other Side of the River” and his most recently published book, “Caribou.”

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American Life in Poetry No. 481

One of the wonders of poetry is a good poet’s ability to compress a great deal of life into a few words. Here’s a life story told small, by Ivan Hobson, who lives in California.

Our Neighbor:

Every family that lived in our court
had an American truck
with a union sticker on the back

and as a kid I admired them
the way I thought our soldiers
must have admired Patton
and Sherman tanks.

You once told me
that the Russians couldn’t take us,
not with towns like ours
full of iron, full of workers tempered
by the fires of foundries and mills.

It wasn’t the Russians that came;
it was the contract, the strike,
the rounds of layoffs that blistered
until your number was called.

I still remember you loading up
to leave for the last time,
the union sticker scraped off
with a putty knife,

the end of the white tarp draped
over your truck bed
flapping as you drove away.

American Life in Poetry provides newspapers and online publications with a free weekly column featuring contemporary American poems. Poem reprinted from Plainsongs, Vol. XXXIII, No. 3, Spring 2013, by permission of Ivan Hobson and the publisher. Introduction by Ted Kooser copyright © 2014 by The Poetry Foundation.

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May Poem of the Month contest winner

Beth Weaver-Kreider, besides being a two-time Poem of the Month contest winner, also lives and works on Goldfinch Farm in Lower Windsor Township. Visit www.goldfinchfarm.com for more information on this organic, community supported farm. Submitted photo.

Beth Weaver-Kreider, besides being a two-time Poem of the Month contest winner, also lives and works on Goldfinch Farm in Lower Windsor Township. Visit www.goldfinchfarm.com for more information on this organic, community supported farm. Submitted photo.

For May, I asked York poets to write a poem about an animal.

I learned that you all really love your pets. Of the 12 entries to last month’s contest, nearly all were odes or tributes to the dogs and cats that have shared your homes and enriched your lives.

And while I love a good pet poem, the piece that stood out to me this month isn’t about an animal you’re likely to bring into your house or throw a stick for in your backyard.

This month’s winner is Beth Weaver-Krieder of Lower Windsor Township for her poem “Fairy Tale” (Guess what. Beth was the winner for last May as well. ): Continue reading “May Poem of the Month contest winner” »

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Culture and Main, episode 61

Episode 61 (original airdate 5/15/14) The Treble with Amy feat. JD Sage / Poetry by Elijah Cross / Podcaster, Rick McVicker / Photography of David Brown

What did you think of episode 61?

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American Life in Poetry No. 480

by Ted Kooser

I like the looks of trellises and arbors and those miniature barns that keep your bushel baskets of tools dry. Here’s a poem by Frank Osen, who lives in Pasadena, about a garden shelter that’s returning to the earth.

The Lath House

Wood strips, cross-purposed into lattice, made
this nursery of interstices—a place
that softened, then admitted, sun with shade,
baffled the wind and rain, broke open space.
It’s now more skeletal, a ghostly room
the garden seemed to grow, in disrepair,
long empty and well past its final bloom.

Less lumbered, though, it cultivates the air
by shedding cedar slats for open sky.
As if, designed to never seem quite finished,
it had a choice to seal and stultify
or take its weather straight and undiminished,

grow larger but be less precisely here,
break with its elements, and disappear.

American Life in Poetry provides newspapers and online publications with a free weekly column featuring contemporary American poems. Poem reprinted by permission of Frank Osen and the publisher. Introduction by Ted Kooser copyright © 2014 by The Poetry Foundation.

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A light goes out: Maya Angelou, one of poetry’s few household names, has died at age 86

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

- Dr. Maya Angelou, 1928-2014

Maya Angelou speaks to a crowd at York College in this February 2013 file photo. Angelou has died at age 86. (YORK DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS -- JASON PLOTKIN)

Maya Angelou speaks to a crowd at York College in this February 2013 file photo. Angelou has died at age 86. (YORK DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS — JASON PLOTKIN)

I’m sad today because Maya Angelou has passed away.

According to The Washington Post,

Maya Angelou, a child of the Jim Crow South who rose to international prominence as a writer known for her frank chronicles of personal history and a performer instantly identified by her regal presence and rich, honeyed voice, died May 28 at her home in Winston-Salem, N.C. She was 86.

The word from her literary agent, according to the Post, is that Angelou had been in declining health for some time, and suffered heart ailments.

Imagine that. A poet with an aching heart. Continue reading “A light goes out: Maya Angelou, one of poetry’s few household names, has died at age 86” »

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Gettysburg College to host reading series week of June 5-7

The Gettysburg Review will host a series of readings at Gettysburg College June 5 to 7.

The readings will be at 8 p.m. at Breidenbaugh Hall’s Joseph Theater at the intersection of North Washington St. and West Lincoln Ave. Featured readers include poets Sidney Wade, Stanley Plumly and Hope Maxwell Snyder, plus several novelists.

Read the full story at Book Buzz.

 

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American Life in Poetry No. 479

by Ted Kooser

The Impressionists, on both sides of the Atlantic, gave us a number of handsome paintings of rural scenes, and here’s a poem by the distinguished American poet, Catharine Savage Brosman, that offers us just such a picture, not in pigments but in words.

Cattle Fording Tarryall Creek

With measured pace, they move in single file,
dark hides, white faces, plodding through low grass,
then walk into the water, cattle-style,
indifferent to the matter where they pass.

The stream is high, the current swift—good rain,
late snow-melt, cold. Immerging to the flank,
the beasts proceed, a queue, a bovine chain,
impassive, stepping to the farther bank—

continuing their march, as if by word,
down valley to fresh pasture. The elect,
and stragglers, join, and recompose the herd,
both multiple and single, to perfect

impressions of an animated scene,
the creek’s meanders, milling cows, and sun.
Well cooled, the cattle graze knee-deep in green.
We leave them to their feed, this painting done.

American Life in Poetry provides newspapers and online publications with a free weekly column featuring contemporary American poems. Poem reprinted by permission of Catharine Savage Brosman. Introduction by Ted Kooser copyright © 2014 by The Poetry Foundation.

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