American Poetry, Book Excerpts, Poetry

Dorianne Laux – Life is Beautiful

In her poem, Life is Beautiful, Dorianne Laux is literally making art from trash as she considers the wonder of a fly and its lifecycle through the things that we discard. That the miraculous can exist in the most pungent and fecund places, and that the birth of a maggot in such a world can… Continue reading Dorianne Laux – Life is Beautiful

American Poetry, Poetry

The Caged Bird Sings of Freedom

The image of a caged bird is one that Maya Angelou used repeatedly to illustrate the struggle of African-Americans during the Civil Rights era in the United States. A powerful image, it can also represent the wider human endeavor towards freedom of every variety, both internal and external. The free bird is the one who… Continue reading The Caged Bird Sings of Freedom

Book Excerpts, Persian Poetry, Poetry

On the Lip of Oblivion We Linger – Hafiz

Fourteenth century poet Hafiz is one of Persia's most celebrated poets. Not so much is known about him, and it's thought that only a small portion of his prodigious work survives. At first glance, many of Hafiz's poems read like heartbroken laments, penned at closing time after a rowdy night at the tavern. However, they… Continue reading On the Lip of Oblivion We Linger – Hafiz

American Poetry, Beat Poetry, Poetry

A Buddha in the Woodpile

Lawrence Ferlinghetti was a poet and an activist and one of the central figures of the Beat movement in the 1950s. From his City Lights Bookstore and publishing house, he published writers like Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder and Jack Kerouac who were breaking with the norms and traditions of not just poetry and literature, but… Continue reading A Buddha in the Woodpile

English Poetry, Poetry

Babak Ganjei – Don’t Interrupt the Adults

Babak Ganjei is a London-based artist, musician, comic book writer and radio show host. The poetry he writes can be found on his website. An adept of blackout poetry - for which he has used books by Jeremy Clarkson, Nigel Farage and Donald Trump, Babak also writes his own original verse like this brilliant homage to… Continue reading Babak Ganjei – Don’t Interrupt the Adults

Book Excerpts, Chinese Poetry, Japanese Poetry, Poetry

Snow Makes a Mountain

In addition to the volumes of essays and lectures on Zen and Zen practice, Dogen also expressed himself and his teachings through poetry. This particular verse, which reflects on a moment of realization in which the poet's mind underwent a profound perceptive shift, is written in a Chinese style. The translation is Philip Whalen and… Continue reading Snow Makes a Mountain

Joy Harjo
American Poetry, Native American Poetry, Poetry

Eagle Poem – Joy Harjo

Oklahoma-born Joy Harjo is a member of the Mvskoke Nation and the United States' 23rd poet laureate, the first Native American to be nominated for the post. Much of the imagery she uses in her poems is couched in nature as well as myth and ancestry. In Eagle Poem, she invokes circles and revolutions, wordless… Continue reading Eagle Poem – Joy Harjo

American Poetry, Poetry

It is Better to Write, Then Die – Patti Smith

"I could hear / the freemen call / the way is hard / the gate is narrow / what matter I say" Patti Smith's A Writer's Song pays homage to the instinct for laying one's mat 'among the reeds' and writing one's name 'upon the water'. Writing, she suggests, is a response in tune with… Continue reading It is Better to Write, Then Die – Patti Smith

American Poetry, Poetry

One Must Have A Mind Of Winter

Picking up on Les Kaye's theme of harmonizing our inner lives with the demands and responsibilities of work, it's inspiring to look at a poet like Wallace Stevens who composed his poems while commuting to and from his job as a lawyer and businessman. A fervent advocate of the transformative power of the imagination, Stevens… Continue reading One Must Have A Mind Of Winter

American Poetry, Poetry

I Am Not Seaworthy – Toni Morrison

Although Toni Morrison, who passed away yesterday, was primarily a novelist and an essayist, The Dewdrop was excited to find a short series of poems also penned by the author as a special contribution to the Black Mountain Institute. The five poems were printed back in 2002 for a limited edition letterpress that was released… Continue reading I Am Not Seaworthy – Toni Morrison