Poets for Poets – organized by Antony Dunn – a stellar line up of poets read to raise funds for Leeds Young Authors UK slam team @ Yorkshire Dance, Leeds, Friday 15th July 2011. Guest poet: Rommi Smith
by Peter M. Gordon
After midnight at our thirty-fifth reunion I
Walked away from the disco DJ and open bar
Into a flagstone-covered side courtyard
Ten gargoyles crouched on cornices
Leered while I hummed the
Melody Jim taught me
The four brick walls and threadbare
Oak looked the same as when
Jim wrapped harmonies
Around my thin reedy notes
Giving me permission to sing
Just after our twenty-fifth reunion
Hushed words flew between classmates
I e-mailed him to say I’d pray
He died anyway
Without a word or song from me
I lifted my voice one last time
From the depths of this stone well
Jim strolled out from his old entryway
Harmony bounced off stone sconces
We sang oldies until dawn painted
The sky rose and vermillion
Jim went ahead back inside
Like he always did
Waited for me to follow
Peter M. Gordon has worked as a theatre director, writer, teacher, television programmer, and producer. He always loved reading poetry, and began writing poetry a few years ago when an essay he was writing about his oldest son came otu as a poem. He lives in Orlando, Florida, where he’s a member of the First Monday Poetry Group. Peter’s poems most recently appeared in 34th Parallel Magazine and in “Poetry to Feed the Spirit.” Peter also writes a content development blog: http://www.myprogramidea.blogspot.com
First Lady Michelle Obama speaks about the importance of poetry and self-expression as she hosts a White House Poetry Student Workshop with students and poets like Rita Dove, Billy Collins, Kenny Goldsmith, Alison Knowles, and Aimee Mann. May 11, 2011.
Luci Tapahonso is Diné and a Professor of American Indian Studies and English. She is the author of three children’s books and five books of poetry. She teaches courses in American Indian Literature and Creative Writing. Professor Tapahonso received the 2002 American Indian Leadership Award from the University of Kansas for her integral role in establishing the Indigenous Nations Studies Graduate Program there in 1998. Her book, Blue Horses Rush In, was awarded the Mountain and Plains Booksellers Association’s 1998 Award for Poetry.
The Corner of Wells and Madison
by Donal Mahoney
I know that if I ever
fall in the street
the way that man did,
in the middle of an intersection,
someone will mind.
But if unlike that man
I make it
to the other side,
scale the curb and
mount the sidewalk
and then fall,
no one will have to
drive around me.
There will be no extra noise.
There will be only the usual honking.
People walking by
will have to watch their step, true.
But this is Chicago:
No one can blame me for that.
Donal Mahoney has worked as an editor for The Chicago Sun-Times, Loyola University Press and Washington University in St. Louis. He has had poems published in The Wisconsin Review, The Kansas Quarterly, The South Carolina Review, Commonweal, The Christian Science Monitor and other publications. Some of his earliest work can be found here: http://booksonblog12.blogspot.com/
Octavio Paz (1914-1998) was born in Mexico and received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1990. He read from The Collected Poems of Octavio Paz 1957-1987, in Spanish, with his translator Eliot Weinberger, who read the English versions of the poems. The reading took place on October 18, 1988, in Washington, D.C. Mr. Paz was interviewed in English by poet Lewis MacAdams and in Spanish by Professor Enrico Santi. Distributed by Tubemogul.
<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/11367143″>Octavio Paz, 18 October 1988</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user3101443″>Lannan Foundation</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
Joy Harjo Reading at the Dodge Poetry Festival 2008
“We Were There When Jazz Was Invented, or Letter to Lawson”
by Don Kingfisher Campbell
lying on her side
like she was sleeping
golden brown fur still
absorbing morning sunlight
so intact so peaceful
cars drive around the feline
we continue on asphalt
in our metal machines
swerve away from each other
on the concrete river
off the offramp
a billboard reminds me
to VIVE HOY con Pepsi
in the midst of construction
Don Kingfisher Campbell is currently studying for an MFA in Poetry at
Antioch University, Los Angeles. Mr. Campbell has taught Creative Writing
for 27 years in the Occidental College Upward Bound program and has been a
Guest Teacher even longer for the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Kingfisher is the host of Saturday Afternoon Poetry in Pasadena, editor of
the San Gabriel Valley Poetry Quarterly, and founder of POETRYpeople youth
writing workshops. Don has recently been awarded a commission by the city
of Pasadena to compose a poem for the City Speaks art exhibit and also won
first place in the 2011 Whittier Poetry Contest.
Bad French and Ficus Trees
by Matt Randall
Disturbed by the dying air conditioning,
the dusty fake tree beats a torn branch
against the dirty window. I look at it and
wonder why it hasn’t been replaced—or dusted.
At the table behind me, a blonde studies
French, loudly spitting conjugated verbs
all over her cold mochacinno and half-eaten scone.
Her accent is horrible, but no one says anything.
She doesn’t bother me that much, though
I toy with the idea of saying tu es une vache violet
just to see if she understands. But that would break my
silence, acknowledge my lack of concentration.
Looking back to my own table, I stare at
the book open in front of me. But the
stark black and white words, bones of
ancient Egypt, do not interest me.
I look up again, bad French soundtrack still playing,
and watch the dusty ficus leaves sway.
Matt Randall has written everything from technical documents and real estate articles to science-fiction and sestinas. He is also the co-founder of PegLeg Publishing, a small independent publishing company in Oklahoma City, and co-editor if GlassFire Magazine. When he’s not writing and editing, Matt enjoys reading, spending time at IHOP, and collecting gnomes.
by Anne Britting Oleson
In the yellow daylight I am afraid
of nothing except not being in your mind.
I catch my breath and turn about,
Thinking: what unbearable agony
there is in waiting to breathe.
Things unlike you repeat you
over and over to me.
Look: I am cooking dinner, slicing vegetables,
and suddenly it is your clean sweat
which is in my nose,
the dimpled skin of your lower back
which is smooth under my hands.
You are in the back of my mind,
that primal part, which does not rationalize
but only knows and acts.
What is really me is compacted.
I am lost inside my own body.
I am thinking: soon.
Anne Britting Oleson has been published widely in the US, UK and Canada. Her two poetry chapbooks, The Church of St. Materiana and The Beauty of It, came out in 2007 and 2010 respectively. Another book, Counting the Days, is scheduled for release in November. Her blog can be found at http://anneboleson.wordpress.com .