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: The Road Not Taken

Selected by Kainat Cheema

The Road Not Taken

By Robert Frost

Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

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: Universal Lovers

Written and submitted by Randall Taylor

Universal Lovers

A love older than time…
Made up of feelings mixed into beats that slowly rhyme.
I swear when I look in your eyes…
I see a different universe.

Not in the same old colors…
No red, blue, green, or yellow
But hazel…

It’s incredible really.
I can’t write the feelings I have about you.
I can’t sing the words only our hearts can use to describe the love we share.
When I see the universe in your eyes I close mine because I want to enter it through your mind.
When we think of each other I feel our sacred realms connect.

The stars aligned…
Every sun and moon parallel…
Except two…
You and I…
I, the Sun and You, the moon my darling will form an eclipse.
Combining all our thoughts and feelings into an eclipse of light.
Luminescent of both our universes just as how we make each other smile.

When we step into each other’s universes…
I don’t want to feel love…
I want to feel blissful.
A euphoria born in our spirits from speaking soulful mantras in our own language…
The language of universal lovers.

National Poetry Month: Souls Intertwined

Written and submitted by Randall Taylor

Souls Intertwined

I want you to be with me because you want to be with me.
I want you to look at me and say “He loves me in a way no other man can”
When you tell me you love me don’t look at my mask…not the mask that shrouds a lifetime of
wounds, scars and bruises.
When you tell me you love me, close your eyes and relax while your soul searches for mine
within my insecurities and fears.
Hug me tight allowing your spirit to embrace mine, healing it with your soothingly tender
warmth as it is revived by the serene and ethereal beauty that is your essence.
Your soft relieving touch will harmonize my dreams and nightmares leading my heart to the
sacred bliss of Heaven.