nature

Let’s be vines

    Two poems from Holly Wren Spaulding’s new collection Familiars found their way to northern Michigan, courtesy of an elf sub, my daughter Lizzie. Spaulding hails from northern Michigan and returns there each summer to teach, so it seemed a good spot, even if the pictures don’t exactly replicate the settings in each poem. (You […]

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Cathey’s guide to peaceful travel

Here’s a great suggestion for summer travel from today’s guest poster Cathey Capers of Austin Texas: memorize a poem as you drive. I don’t know Cathey but I have a whole movie in my head of her driving along the coast and reciting Wendell Berry’s “The Peace of Wild Things,” sometimes getting the words right and […]

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Special delivery: Seamus Heaney

A sunny day in northern Michigan. A long walk past farmland and on to a wooded trail. Three Seamus Heaney poems to deliver, three poems full of the most beautiful nouns and verbs but also full of death. Three watchful deer who scared the bejeebers out of me and two wrong turns that added miles […]

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Maybe because he was drunk

  The Birds Have Vanished Into the Sky by Li Po   The birds have vanished into the sky, and now the last cloud drains away.   We sit together, the mountain and me, until only the mountain remains.       A cable car ride up Austria’s Zwolferhorn led to this view of the […]

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A little something for what ails you

It’s just-spring here in Michigan and each little green shoot is a jigger of encouragement. So is this poem, “Thank You” by Ross Gay, which I left in a pile of dead leaves at the end of a church parking lot.   Thank You by Ross Gay If you find yourself half naked and barefoot […]

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I really do need new underwear

File under Best Laid Plans. Nearly two years ago I resolved (publicly, unfortunately) to use up my stash of poems by posting several a week. Of course they’re still here. They’ve even grown in number. All the crinkled slips of paper stuffed in my Poem Elf bag like old underwear—I can’t bear to throw them […]

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American Rumi

  To the mountain of tributes to the great Mary Oliver, I add this little pebble.   In a world with so many hysterical people running loose, shouting and fighting and festering outrage, I miss her. Or I miss the idea of her, the poet walking along the shore in her barn jacket, quiet and […]

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