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Location: Colorado High Plains (Zone 6)
books food preservation greening the desert
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What are some of your favorite collections of poetry? Or favorite poets? Poems?

I really love poetry collections because they offer a broader insight into each poem in the book. Sort of like only understanding light when you have seen dark. Some poems benefit from being surrounded by more poems by that poet.

Natalie Diaz, an incredible indigenous poet in the U.S., has the most amazing collection of poems entitled When My Brother Was an Aztec. Here's a poem from her collection that I love:

Why I Hate Raisins

And is it only the mouth and belly which are
injured by hunger and thirst?
-Mencius

Love is a pound of sticky raisins
packed tight in black and white
government boxes the day we had no
groceries. I told my mom I was hungry.
She gave me the whole bright box.
USDA stamped like a fist on the side.
I ate them all in ten minutes. Ate
too many too fast. It wasn't long
before those old grapes set like black
clay at the bottom of my belly
making it ache and swell.

I complained, I hate raisins.
I just wanted a sandwich like other kids.
Well that's all we've got, my mom sighed.
And what other kids?
Everyone but me, I told her.
She said, You mean the white kids.
You want to be a white kid?
Well too bad 'cause you're my kid.
I cried, At least the white kids get a sandwich.
At least the white kids don't get the shits.

That's when she slapped me. Left me
holding my mouth and stomach--
devoured by shame.

I still hate raisins,
but not for the crooked commodity lines
we stood in to get them--winding
around and in the tribal gymnasium.
Not for the awkward cardboard boxes
we carried them home in. Not for the shits
or how they distended my belly.
I hate raisins because now I know
my mom was hungry that day, too,
and I ate all the raisins.

Some of my other favorite collections are:

Unpeopled Eden by Rigoberto Gonzalez
The Animal Gospels by Brian Barker
The Book of Men by Dorianne Laux
Sanctificum by Chris Abani

What are your favorites? These examples are all contemporary (all the poets are still alive), but older stuff is welcome, too!
 
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Hello, I frequent a site called Friendfamilypoetry. I stumbled onto it by mistake and joined it. The have a wide selection of poety. The site also has an area where the different types of poetry are explained. I read through it and learned quite a bit. You are also able to submit your work if you would like to share it. All of he poems are well organized.    Just a suggestion.    Larry
 
Larry Bock
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I can't believe the crowd grew silent.   Poetry and writing has to be a basic, for those who call themselves " off gridder's".  Those who chose not to stare into a TV screen.  For some, a blank sheet of paper and a pen? Is a frightening endever. Option #2 ? Pay a doctor that makes a " tent" out of his finger tips, nods, and the charges your insurance company $ 160 an hour. Option A? Pad $2, add a good pen $2. Write what lives in you. Even if no one ever reads it.   You are free
 
Emily Lerner
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Well, maybe I didn't really think through how to start the thread--tying poetry into other common interests on the forum. Being outside while reading or writing poems is a singular experience. Was hoping more people did that kinda thing. That's okay, though.

There are plenty of examples that I could list of poetry that is specifically about nature, but I think all poems are tied to nature in some way. Even ones that don't mention trees or mountains or how beautiful "nature" is. Even poems in urban or "modern" settings. All poetry (or art in any form) comes from the human experience, which, I think, is intrinsically tied to nature. We are a part of this planet, and permies know this more than most. Even if you yourself don't write poems, there must be a poem--or a poet or a poet's body of work--that has resonated with you and your own experiences. Lots of people tend to think that poetry is a dying art, but it's not! As long as we are here and we write, poetry will always be a part of us as humans and, therefore, of nature.

Poetry can also be a little daunting for some, but I was hoping there would be a few more responses! I'd really love to learn more about some of you fine permies. Sometimes taste in reading material can be a lovely window into another person--even if it's just a little bit! I often resonate with poetry that involves food because food is such an integral part of the human experience. Permaculture of any kind, I think, ties in with this because of the sort of communal survivalist nature of it, even if you live/are alone.

You're right, Larry. There will never really be a substitute to taking the time to sit and write, especially if you're an off-gridder. And it is much cheaper than most past-times! I can't look out the window and not think of poetry. Maybe some people think of music or prose or something else. I'd be open to hearing those kinds of things, too!

I'm also new here, and a stranger, so people maybe thought this post was a little weird. Poor way to introduce myself, I think. I'll have to be more careful in the future to stick to permaculture stuff, specifically, I guess.
 
Emily Lerner
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Also, I am aware of this awesome thread: https://permies.com/t/19166/art/Poem-day, but was hoping to open things up a little bit to include a broader array of poetry sources. So cool that people share their work on here. I encourage people to continue contributing to that post, as well!
 
gardener
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Emily Lerner wrote:

Natalie Diaz, an incredible indigenous poet in the U.S., has the most amazing collection of poems entitled When My Brother Was an Aztec. Here's a poem from her collection that I love:

Why I Hate Raisins

And is it only the mouth and belly which are
injured by hunger and thirst?
-Mencius

Love is a pound of sticky raisins
packed tight in black and white
government boxes the day we had no
groceries. I told my mom I was hungry.
She gave me the whole bright box.
USDA stamped like a fist on the side.
I ate them all in ten minutes. Ate
too many too fast. It wasn't long
before those old grapes set like black
clay at the bottom of my belly
making it ache and swell.

I complained, I hate raisins.
I just wanted a sandwich like other kids.
Well that's all we've got, my mom sighed.
And what other kids?
Everyone but me, I told her.
She said, You mean the white kids.
You want to be a white kid?
Well too bad 'cause you're my kid.
I cried, At least the white kids get a sandwich.
At least the white kids don't get the shits.

That's when she slapped me. Left me
holding my mouth and stomach--
devoured by shame.

I still hate raisins,
but not for the crooked commodity lines
we stood in to get them--winding
around and in the tribal gymnasium.
Not for the awkward cardboard boxes
we carried them home in. Not for the shits
or how they distended my belly.
I hate raisins because now I know
my mom was hungry that day, too,
and I ate all the raisins.

Some of my other favorite collections are:

Unpeopled Eden by Rigoberto Gonzalez
The Animal Gospels by Brian Barker
The Book of Men by Dorianne Laux
Sanctificum by Chris Abani

What are your favorites? These examples are all contemporary (all the poets are still alive), but older stuff is welcome, too!



That poem is beautiful. Personally, I love bukowski.  Most of the best poetry seems to hurt a little. Or a lot.
 
Emily Lerner
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Todd Parr wrote:
Personally, I love bukowski.  Most of the best poetry seems to hurt a little. Or a lot.



I can get down with some Bukowski! Maybe I'm a bit of a masochist, but I love best the poems that hurt. Helps me remember I'm alive.

Thanks, Todd
 
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What are some of your favorite collections of poetry? Or favorite poets? Poems?



I've been meaning to get back to this thread and post...I even brought out a stack of poetry books out from the 'cold' room (we have a couple rooms shut off to make it easier to heat our house this winter, one is the library/work room).

The most recent collections of poetry I've loved has been two! by Jane Hirshfield  "After" and "Given Sugar Given Salt". 
I like her philosophy towards life and so many of her poems resonate with me.

I've loved a lot of 'collections' over the years...early ones were by Lawrence Ferlinghetti back in the sixties starting with 'A Coney Island of the Mind' along with other poets from that period, especially what were considered the Beats.

I rarely read a collection straight through as one would a novel so I have several going at once...there are a couple Wendell Berry's in the stack  "Farming, the Handbook" and another I couldn't locate at the moment.....and an ebook of his poems "Collected and New Sabbeth Poems" that I haven't read much of yet.

...and any collection of Rumi poetry is very much a favorite....

Some topics here are slow to take off.....this is a good one, thanks for starting it.

I'm going to add this thread to the 'Meaningless Drivel' forum also....more folks will see it there...that forum title is in fun not a comment on the thread




 
Emily Lerner
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Judith, thank you. The change of forum is a good idea. Glad you made it back to this one!

Sorry you had to go to the cold room for them! I'm glad that you did, though. I've been meaning to read some Hirschfield, so I have even more reason to get going on that, now! Ferlinghetti is my favorite of the Beat poets. Took a whole semester on the Beat generation and his works stuck with me. Also adore Wendell Berry!

And Rumi. Ah. Always.

Thanks for leaving a response!
 
master steward
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Ah, the concentration to really take in a good poem has been lacking in my life. I keep thinking I'll get there again.

The thing is, I can't seem to simply / only read good poetry. It takes an engagement that is more comprehensive than mere vocabulary in my book.

Maybe being outside, away from domestic distractions makes that easier to do. Maybe that type of engagement would be more soul-filling than some distractions I employ these days to escape stress. What a great reminder for me to try!

When I do wish to plunge into the depths of poetry, I enjoy Mary Oliver or May Sarton.
 
Emily Lerner
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Oh, I get what you mean about the concentration. It can be really tough to do with lots of distractions because it really does ask for your full attention. I can't do it all the time. I read other stuff, too, like novels, to cut the work a little bit.

When I do get to sit down and really read poems, though, I usually read them out loud (with the help of tea or water) to make sure my mind doesn't wander. My animals don't seem to mind.

Mary Oliver is fantastic, but I am sad to admit I haven't read much Sarton. I'll have to give her some more attention!

When I read poetry that's not "recent", I tend to reach for Elizabeth Bishop. Hands down one of my favorite poets of all time.
 
Judith Browning
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Emily Lerner wrote:Judith, thank you. The change of forum is a good idea. Glad you made it back to this one!

Sorry you had to go to the cold room for them! I'm glad that you did, though. I've been meaning to read some Hirschfield, so I have even more reason to get going on that, now! Ferlinghetti is my favorite of the Beat poets. Took a whole semester on the Beat generation and his works stuck with me. Also adore Wendell Berry!

And Rumi. Ah. Always.

Thanks for leaving a response!



Emily, I didn't change forums for your thread...I only added it to another for more visibility.  It will appear in both and still be one thread. 

I think this promises to be a fun topic...especially as winter settles in and many of us do more reading.

 
Larry Bock
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I love to read poetry, writing is a tough endever. If you keep it to yourself?  It's easier.  A Paul Valey quote " a poem is never finished, just abandoned" Every time I revisit a poem that no one has seen? I change a word or two, add a quatraine or delete something. Anyone else have this problem?
 
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Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon.

-CK
 
Larry Bock
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Chris Kott wrote:Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon.

-CK


Yes, love the album. Poetry is words put to music.music,is poetry.    Just like slow dancing is a vertiical expression of a horizontal desire. ( my woman's words, not mine) Keep in mind? This is coming from a construction worker.  Lol.  Read Jim Morrisons  biography. "no one here gets out alive". Turn to the end of the book. There are many poems there.  Some you will recogognize.  Some not,   He, was a poet
 
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Here are some collections or anthologies I'd recommend:

Collection of Jim Morrison's poetry:
http://www.jimmorrisonpoetry.com/

Collection of Theodore Roethke's poetry:
https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/theodore-roethke#tab-poems

Collection of Robert Frost's poetry:
https://www.poemhunter.com/robert-frost/poems/

Complete works of Robert Burns poetry:
http://www.robertburns.org/works/

Collection of Willa Cather's poetry:
https://www.poemhunter.com/willa-sibert-cather/poems/

Collection of Ezra Pound's poetry:
https://www.poemhunter.com/ezra-pound/poems/

Not the least of these minds is Wendell Berry:
https://www.poemhunter.com/wendell-berry/poems/

I better stop there.
 
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