Poem of the Week: “The Wood” by Paul Muldoon

As we endure the stresses and chaos of long work days or classes, we crave some peace and quiet—the familiarity of home. We know that wherever we are in the world, we can always come home to the people we love and the home we cherish. Paul Muldoon’s “The Wood” echoes this desire for solace in the comfort of our homes and and reminds us to be grateful for the people, smells, and tastes that accompany our homecoming. In the spirit of Thanksgiving and anticipation of our return home, enjoy “The Wood.”

The Wood

They tell me how they bought
An hour of silence
From a juke-box in New York
Or San Francisco once,

That now they intend
To go back to their home place
For a bit of peace,

A house overlooking a lake
And a wood for kindling.

‘But you can’t fell trees
That had stood for as long
As anyone remembers?’

‘The wood we have in mind will stand
While it has lost its timber.’

Paul Muldoon, from Mules (1977)

Dead trees

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Get Your Daily Dose of Poetry

Do you love poetry, but find yourself unable to sit down and read an entire collection?Between running around doing errands, writing for ourselves, or sitting behind a desk working, it can be hard to find time to read the genre that we all love.

But never fear! Here at the Press, we have compiled a list of some of websites that feature a poem-a-day, which is a great way to get your poetry fix quickly and effectively.  Below are some of our favorites:

  • Poetry Daily features an anthology of contemporary poetry “selected for its literary quality” in order to “provide you with a window on a very broad range of poetry.”  We’re really excited about this site because it will feature two poems from Michael Longley’s latest, The Stairwell, tomorrow (11/18).  You can sign up for a free weekly email newsletter to keep you up to date on “upcoming poets, special editorial features, and poetry news and reviews.”
  • Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor features a daily poem with an option to listen to the poem via audio link.  The site also includes a list of birthdays and events that occurred on that particular day in the past.
  • Poets.org features work by American poets and you can sign up to receive an email every morning with their featured daily poems.
  • Your Daily Poem’s purpose is to “help dispel the ugly myth that poetry is boring” and achieves this by featuring poems “specifically selected for accessibility and appeal.” They feature both contemporary and classic poems, as well as famous and more obscure poems and poets.  There is also a biography of the poet connected with every featured poem.
  • Verse Daily “is an independently owned daily publication of quality poetry” online. Each poem includes information on the poet as well as the publisher.  They also take submissions from a variety of sources including published magazines, books, anthologies, and chapbooks of poetry.

Those on Twitter can also follow all of these sites to get daily poetry right on your feed. In order to make it easier for you, here are the links for Poetry Daily, Writer’s Almanac, Poets.org, Your Daily Poetry, and Verse Daily.

If we missed one of your favorites, comment below, so others can get their daily fix of poetry.  And don’t forget to check out work from Michael Longley’s latest collection on Poetry Daily tomorrow!

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Poem of the Week: “Closed Bells” by Medbh McGuckian

As we transition into winter, Medbh McGuckian’s frosty poem Closed Bells reminds us of the fast-dropping temperatures. Her fleshed out, frostbitten images offer the characteristic “wordlessness” for which McGuckian is best known and create a dream world suspended in the mid-season chill.

Closed Bells

Frost hollows
small areas of leaf
in gardenless

Wounded by the thought
of nests expanding,
they inspire
devotion of a sort,

using this world
as if not
using it to the full,
a risky limbo.

Front action
on the loose-fitting stones
and frost-broken rock
over-divides itself

and puts the spent hops
with their pinch
of old seed
off flowering.

Rust will devote itself
entirely to
that ringingly taut
and ample root,

though they will come
into flower
a close grey spring

if you study
your windswept window
bearing their colours in mind

that would find the move
too much
if they did not
answer to this blue

found between the bones:
movement towards
a touch, with two
five-nerved lips

reflexed to form a star,
or one indistinct nerve
erect and desirable
in your violet throat.

-Medbh McGuckian, from The Book of the Angel (2004)


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