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Monthly Archives: January 2014

Poetry books on bestseller lists

books,cats

garden and library

Recently I saw that Maine poet Richard Blanco’s new book FOR ALL OF US, ONE TODAY was on the New York Times bestseller list. This makes me happy. (And what’s not to love about a poet who has blurbs on his website from Anderson Cooper, Gloria Estefan and Tim Gunn?) It’s been a year since he read his stunning poem at the presidential inauguration, and got quite a few people interested in accessible poetry that speaks to Americans of all stripes. Blanco’s celebrity-poet status is going strong.

I also noted in last week’s Maine Sunday Telegram that the #5 best selling nonfiction paperback at Longfellow Books in Portland is PORT CITY POEMS, the recent anthology edited by Portland Poet Laureate Marcia Brown. (This was erroneously identified as being published by Down East; it’s a publication of Maine Poetry Central.) I love it that people around Portland are finding and buying this anthology, which is locally produced and distributed. The fact that these books are on national and local bestseller lists speaks to the refusal of poetry, which has been aptly referred to as the “forgotten stepchild of literature”, to roll over and play dead.

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New Year

blanket-of-snow

Here is a lovely poem by Moon Pie Press poet Ellen Taylor about that bittersweet task of putting away the holiday decorations. I’m done with the job at my house, after three days that featured a lot of snow shoveling, too. Our weather has certainly been conducive to getting a lot of reading done. May your 2014 be peaceful and prosperous and include the joy of poetry.

UNDECORATING

Alone I unhook the glass bulbs
from needly fingers of pine,
wrap them in folds of newsprint.
Wooden ornaments require less care.
They lie together in shoeboxes
where they will spend the year nestled
with attic mothballs and mice.
Strings of lights fall like strands of pearls,
and except for wisps of tinsel
the tree is green once again.

The crèche is packed away with tissue paper.
All through Advent, baby Jesus has been moving
from manger to apex of the stable roof
because my nephew, almost five, has decided
that if Jesus is God, then he should fly.
Now the angels lie down with the shepherds,
the sheep, the donkey, and the Holy Family
are put to rest for another year.

No one will help with the undecorating,
I remember my mother saying. She is right.
Perhaps it is a ceremony of one,
one custodian sweeping up
after the final performance,
still humming the tune
of the night’s final song.