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Lizzie gets even

I’ve been posting submissions in the order in which I received them, which led to the mistiming of today’s entry of Billy Collins’ tribute to his mother, “The Lanyard.” Should have been last week, before Mother’s Day. That said, (said the mother), Hallmark doesn’t have a monopoly on appropriate days to thank one’s mother.   Today’s […]

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Let’s hear it for the boys, courtesy of Tom

Today, a treat. Tom McGrath, longtime Chicago editor, writer, and spiritual director, donned the Poem Elf hat and set to work on a Rumi poem, “Has Anyone Seen the Boy?” The poem, his reflections on the poem, the poem placement, his reasons for the placement—it’s all great and worth the few minutes it will take […]

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Emily and Shel brought to you by Lucy and Gus

Today’s elf assistants are dear to my heart—my grand niece Lucy, aged 12, and my grand nephew Gus, aged 10. You’ll have to take my word for it that these are two funny, charming, sweet-hearted kids, but you can see for yourselves, from their selections and the very fact that they took up this challenge, […]

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Pained thoughts and honey peace from Mary

Today’s guest poster is Mary Follen of Portland, Oregon. Her positioning of Robinson Jeffers’ poem “To the Stone-Cutters” is so thoughtful (Poet’s Beach! could it be more perfect?) and enriches my experience of the poem and hopefully the passers-by’s experience of the riverbank. I had heard of Jeffers but was not familiar with him or […]

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Minnesota calm, brought to you by Pam

Today’s Assistant to the Regional Poem Elf is Pam Sheen of Minnesota. Lucille Clifton’s “blessing the boats” is a wonderful poem choice for these turbulent times. . . the calm of Pam’s picture (she even managed to get a boat in the background) and the gentleness of Clifton’s words are like a cleansing breath.   […]

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Colorado Spring, brought to you by Sharon

Ten years ago I taped my first poem (Mark Strand’s “The Coming of Light”) to a yellow post in a parking lot. My heart was racing as if I had done something transgressive. But I was also happy, pleased as punch, giddy. Who would find the poem? What would they think? Would the poem help […]

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Assistant to the Regional Poem Elf

My tenth anniversary of blogging at Poem Elf arrives this May, and I need some help to mark the occasion. Not good wishes, thank you very much. I’m looking for elf assistants and elfettes—or if those terms are gag-inducing, how about—Poem Posters.     Here’s what I’m asking: put a copy of a poem in a […]

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Chewing over the past

  Romantic Sonnet by Charles Simic   Evenings of sovereign clarity— Wine and bread on the table, Mother praying, Father naked in bed.   Was I that skinny boy stretched out In the field behind the house, His heart cut out with a toy knife? Was I the crow hovering over him?   Happiness, you […]

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My old problems, what a pleasure!

Margot Zemach’s It Could Always Be Worse is one of my favorite children’s books. Funny, wise, and illustrated with Zemach’s signature zest. It’s been nearly twenty years since I last read it out loud to my youngest, but the title’s been running through my head ever since. Most especially lately.   It Could Always Be Worse is […]

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