National Poetry Month: How to Write a Poem

Written by Professor Tammy Nuzzo-Morgan, Long Island Poet of the Year

How to Write a Poem

Begin with the lump in your throat,
the anguish in your heart,
let it simmer, swell, seep into your bones.

Set it aside and look for the proper container:
form, lyrical, free verse. Make sure you wash the
remnants of other poems cleanly away.

Use adjective, adverbs, prepositions and
articles sparingly; these are useless and signal
you do not trust your guest’s discerning taste.

Open your salty rivers, let just enough to
flow into your mixture, allow verbs and
nouns to bring forth clear images.

Stir imagination into the mix deftly until thickened
into a poem which can stand on its own,
and the guest can savor the pain.

Put your creation out to cool on the windowsill.
Be sure to watch out for pecking birds who would
delight in devouring your creation.

After the heat has dissipated give your prize a second look
for any imperfections, dust off, place into a tidy title box,
finally, wrap your name around in the shape of a bow.

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National Poetry Month: At a Boring Poetry Reading

Selected by Dr. Dennis Phal

At a Boring Poetry Reading

 by Norman Stock

They read the audience to death.

These poets use live ammunition, their words, to weaken us.

Are they trying to put us to sleep or are they trying to keep themselves up

by droning on and on? Instead of listening, all I’m doing is waiting for them to stop.

The applause will be like glass breaking, the glass they are enclosing us in

It is as if they tied their shoes in front of us just to show us they could tie their shoes in front of us!

O save me from this scatterbrain orderliness, this posture of beheading.

Will this reading never end? Will I have to listen forever

or can I find a chink in the wall of my own mind that I can crawl into, just to get

away from this disaster, this dying, this voicelessness?​

National Poetry Month: Neutral Tones


Selected by Dr. Wendy Ryden

Neutral Tones
By 
Thomas Hardy

We stood by a pond that winter day,
And the sun was white, as though chidden of God, Thomas Hardy
And a few leaves lay on the starving sod;
– They had fallen from an ash, and were gray.

Your eyes on me were as eyes that rove
Over tedious riddles of years ago;
And some words played between us to and fro
On which lost the more by our love.

The smile on your mouth was the deadest thing
Alive enough to have strength to die;
And a grin of bitterness swept thereby
Like an ominous bird a-wing….

Since then, keen lessons that love deceives,
And wrings with wrong, have shaped to me
Your face, and the God curst sun, and a tree,
And a pond edged with grayish leaves.

National Poetry Month: When Great Trees Fall



Selected by Alecia Miguel

When Great Trees Fall
by Maya AngelouMaya Angelou Painting

 

When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.

When great trees fall
in forests,
small things recoil into silence,
their senses
eroded beyond fear.

When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
see with
a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
examines,
gnaws on kind words
unsaid,
promised walks
never taken.

Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
Our souls,
dependent upon their
nurture,
now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed
and informed by their
radiance,
fall away.
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of
dark, cold
caves.

And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.

 

National Poetry Month: you deserve to be

Poem selected by Gabbi Battiloro

From Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey:

Rupi

you deserve to be
completely found
in your surroundings
not lost within them

National Poetry Month: 12:16 after midnight

Selected by Gabbi Battiloro

From r.h. Sin’s book, Whiskey Words & a Shovel:

12:16 after midnight
I was forcedr h Sin
to survive
in your absence
I was faced
with the realization
that I never needed you

And the Winner is….

Congratulations to 2017 Cosenza Prize Winner: Continue reading

National Poetry Month: Everything that Ever Was

Poem selected by Mary Pigliacelli.

Everything That Ever Was

Like a wide wake, rippling
Infinitely into the distance, everything

That ever was still is, somewhere,
Floating near the surface, nursing
Its hunger for you and me

And the now we’ve named
And made a place of.

Like the wind the rains ride in on,
It sweeps across the leaves,

Pushing in past the windows
We didn’t slam quickly enough.
Dark water it will take days to drain.

It surprised us last night in my sleep.
Brought food, a gift. Stood squarely

There between us, while your eyes
Danced toward mine, and my hands
Sat working a thread in my lap.

Up close, it was so thin. And when finally
You reached for me, it backed away.

Bereft, but not vanquished. After it left,
All I wanted was your broad back

To steady my limbs. Today,
Whatever it was seems slight, a trail
Of cloud rising up and off like smoke.

And the trees that watch as I write
Sway in the breeze, as if all that stirs
Under the soil is a little tickle of knowledge

The great blind roots will tease through
And push eventually past.

~Tracy K. Smith

National Poetry Month: Road to Dawn

Written and submitted by Randall Taylor

Road to Dawn

You know I’ve been thinking about you lately.
I’m crazy about you.
There aren’t any words to describe how much I miss you.
We’ve been down this road before huh?
Don’t worry we’ll be okay
I’ll show you the way, a different way.
A different me.

It’s my fault really.
I didn’t know how to read before.
Not about the girl who would return to me as the waves that kiss the seashore.
Not about the boy who could not see the light from behind his own shadow.
I was in a dark place afraid of tomorrow

I found a new path neither good nor bad.
A path shrouded in midnight where we can move the stars and sleep with the wind.
A path shined in the afternoon where we can rest with the clouds and talk with the waves.
This is a new beginning.
We write each other’s stories and caress each other’s souls.

This is the road to dawn,
in between the sun and moon,
smiles and tears,
past and future.
I will learn to read you as you will I,
making history one laugh and cry at a time.
We will travel through love and hate,
joy and pain.
But hey?

What’s sunshine without a little rain

National Poetry Month: The Beautiful Scar

Written and submitted by Randall Taylor

The Beautiful Scar

I’ve made you laugh and smile just as much as I’ve made you yell and cry.
Loving each other has never been easy.
But some wounds shouldn’t heal even if we never know why.
I’m sorry… My mask is ugly and sadly I’m ugly underneath too…
My eyes remain concealed because they cannot lie about the wounds and bruises my mask has
caused you.

Still… I don’t know where mine are…
But when we take off our masks, your chest bears the same pain as my back.
I will kiss yours as you massage mine.
Am I scared? Well I used to be…
Until I remembered who I was before I donned this mask.
Before I became ugly.

But still…you kissed every wound, massaged every bruise and spoke every cure.
I always wondered why you held me in the shadows even though I belonged in the light.
I always wondered why you kissed my mask even when I looked and felt nothing like me…

But now I understand.
Love isn’t perfect.
It’s a blessing and a curse.
But it will never break.
We share the same scar…
Because my dear we are each other’s beautiful mistake.