Category Poetry

What the Soul Misses: Andrea Gibson’s “For the Days I Stop Wanting a Body”

If you’ve ever been grievously ill or incapacitated and cursed your fate and your body, this poem is for you.

If you’ve ever suffered from a chronic disease, this poem is for you.

If you’ve ever been near death, or been with a beloved who is, and bounced back, this poem is for you.

If you’ve ever waited in vigil and beheld a loved one’s last days and breaths, this poem is for you.

If you’ve ever wondered and remained mystified by questions of mind and body, mortality and immortality, earth and the heavens, this poem is for you.

And if you’ve ever looked slightly askance or never even heard of “spoken word poetry,” this poem is for you, too.


I’ve never gone deeply into spoken word poetry, which puts much more emphasis on the performative, in-the-moment oral transmission of poetic works in a public setting rather than poems written to be read mostly by individual persons in a quiet encounter with the pr...

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Poetic Hymn to Incarnation: Rebecca Lindenberg’s “The Splendid Body”

Poet Rebecca Lindenberg is a self-proclaimed “maximalist.” Not that she’s doing drunken cartwheels across the page or in her life, risking artistic coherence, her dignity or her health in a doomed effort to defy the laws of gravity and decorum.

Lindenberg’s maximalism is instead her response to the reality that despite how often we go about our lives half-ready to explode with joy, grief, confusion, wonder, regret, curiosity and sudden outbursts of love for all creatures and the creation great and small, we too often opt for restraint instead—for fear the world will think us crazy. (Or we will ourselves fear it is so.)

Nothing to see or hear here, let’s move it along now…

Not on your life, says Lindenberg.

The trick is to see and hear as much and as closely as you can, accepting at obvious face value the enormity of the world and your Self’s sometimes perilous navigation within it...

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A Poem: “Vladimir Putin Invades My Dreams”


                                        By Andrew Hidas

Fresh off the shingles vaccine,
my arm sore, body leaden,
spirit damp and porous,
Vladimir Putin invades my dreams
through a long night I long to repel.

I want him out! gone! no more of
those lizard eyes and pursed lips
bearing down on my weakened
defenses, looking to run
roughshod over all I hold dear.

Groaning to a barely wakened state,
I lapse again, the nightmare resuming,
the assault relentless, Putin throwing
all he owns (and he owns everything)
into a fire of his own making
as lives all around us burn.

Names cross my consciousness
like some Ticker of Times Square,
dissidents facing the unspeakable
of poisonings and prison,
their courage inconceivable
under Putin’s soulless gaze.

Dawn looms and the thrashings of night
only intensify, pleas from the gloaming
to fi...

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“Come ‘Ere, Quick, You Gotta See This!” Poet Alison Jarvis’s “Sky, River”

In her slim 2013 volume, “On Beauty and Being Just,” Harvard Professor Elaine Scarry attempts to unravel the mysterious pull and effect of the beautiful on human consciousness. Far from being mere surface gloss obscuring the deeper or truer nature of any given object or experience, beauty is central to human experience, summoning us to ever deeper exploration—and our own depths in responding to it.

“Something beautiful fills the mind yet invites the search for something beyond itself, something larger or something of the same scale with which it needs to be brought into relation,” she writes.

And perhaps most importantly, beauty instills in us a desire to both replicate and share it—to point, to exclaim, to paint, to sing and dance and exult, to communicate about how we have been moved and inspired and ultimately, changed by it.

And to advance the possibility that others might be changed, too.


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Praise for the Invaded, Mutilated, and Beautiful World: Two Poems by Adam Zagajewski

Let’s face it: without hope and continual, sometimes rewarded longing for the world of love and beauty reflected in the faces of our mothers and her joyful cohorts from our first moments in the birth room, life would be a hard, hard slog. So much darkness, so much beauty.

It’s as if two exhausted boxers in the 35th round of a fight to the death keep probing and hoping for the merest, minuscule suggestion of acquiescence in the other so the question can be settled once and for all.

Polish poet Adam Zagajewski knew that slugfest well, beginning from his own birth in the city of Lwów, Poland, in June 1945. When he was barely four months old, Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union annexed Lwów in the carve-up by the Allied powers as World War II ended, placing Lwów into the newly founded Soviet Republic of Ukraine.

Stalin sent Zagajewski’s engineer father and family of four packing along with countless other professi...

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