Poems for These Days

Three Yaddo Poets Extend Their Hands

April 22, 2020

June Jordan’s speaker distinguishes between reminiscing and reliving. She begins “I never thought I’d keep a record of my pain / or happiness.”

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Three Yaddo Poets Bend but do not Bow

April 9, 2020

As the ordinary leans and staggers into the absurd, one’s mind attempts to merge the two. Mary Ruefle charts the variety of forms this attempt takes, her speaker confiding “I begin / to talk to violets. / Tears fall into my soup / and I drink them.”

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Three Yaddo Poets Discover Hidden Comforts

April 6, 2020

It is daunting to be depended on in times of danger, and more so when one cannot guarantee safe passage. Camille Dungy’s speaker occupies “the undrenched intervals” of air within rain through which someone else sleeps soundly, though she understands her protection is nothing more than the negative space of a storm, and not its ending.

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Three Yaddo Poets Light the Torch of Resilience

April 1, 2020

Many of us feel we are “dark gardening / in the vertigo cold,” reaching into the earth, hoping our efforts produce a harvest. Others are reaching madly while the soil poisons their hands. When we care for those most vulnerable among us, wherever they are, we cultivate our own “particular silences” into songs.

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Three Yaddo Poets Find Faith in Stillness

March 28, 2020

Jenny Xie teaches that to sustain stillness when there is no identifiable “right” act or word is to persevere under an appetite that cannot be fed. To find food we hadn’t tasted and be nourished differently. To be newly good.

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Three Yaddo Poets Stop Time at the Precipice

March 24, 2020

Baldwin’s plea for respite in a storm quickly becomes an urgent command for mercy, buoyed by a final statement of his own vulnerability. His deference to a greater power transforms into a reckoning with his own comparative powerlessness, though the two are ultimately intertwined.

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