Archive for Poetry

06.02.2008

Posted in Quotes with tags , , , , , on June 2, 2008 by Ryan Sanford Smith

On Art, Life, and New York City (quotes by Ezra Pound)

It ought to be illegal for an artist to marry. If the artist must marry let him find someone more interested in art, or his art, or the artist part of him, than in him. After which let them take tea together three times a week.

Literature does not exist in a vacuum. Writers as such have a definite social function exactly proportional to their ability as writers. This is their main use.

The modern artist must live by craft and violence. His gods are violent gods. Those artists, so called, whose work does not show this strife, are uninteresting.

Either move or be moved.

And New York is the most beautiful city in the world? It is not far from it. No urban night is like the night there… Squares after squares of flame, set up and cut into the aether. Here is our poetry, for we have pulled down the stars to our will.

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05.30.2008

Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , , on May 31, 2008 by Ryan Sanford Smith

Once I was girls and boys (a poem by Jean Valentine)

Once I was girls and boys—now

Now who I love are the wild-
worn drifters, not of the town—

cooking their supper out by the side of the road, kisses kisses

—And one especially, my mother’s
father, lost, glare blue and shaved,

at his own work—
unknown—

on your behalf        child, window
staring for you.

05.29.2008

Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , , on May 31, 2008 by Ryan Sanford Smith

The Easel of Mantegna (a poem by Kelly Grovier)

Empty-armed, like a soldier
waiting for the deposition
still to happen, watching

as the rough skin is stretched
across the squat square ribs
and stapled, scraped with a palette-

knife before the morbid under-
taking of the gesso and the paint;
or say instead you always were

inclined to play an active role
in this, our cruellest fiction:
empty-angled and pristine save

where you were brushed
with the death and cleansed
with the dizzy stench of spirit.

You are the awkward ladder,
the hallowed steps, the endless
air forever drifting through

the thin rafters of an unroofed
steeple—on or in or out of
whom the wide sound of resurrection

still remains for us a thing
we listen for in silence:
untolled, unrunged.

05.28.2008

Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , , , on May 28, 2008 by Ryan Sanford Smith

Prepare (a poem by Danielle Grace Warren)

Nilsa cleans the fish
grates the scales with the blunt edge of her knife—
those slim disks of light
flicking the silver—the bloodmarsh—of the bowl

& plating her arms like mail.
With her blade-point she crosses
the throat and the gullet—
fish-back firm in her palm

And like the Harpy she
tears out the gills—
with the crack of tooth extraction—
scoops out the ventral dark

& rinses in a basin of less red water—
the scales, so many coins.

05.27.2008

Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , , on May 28, 2008 by Ryan Sanford Smith

What We Get (a poem by Katie Ford)

I waited for a silence with its boards stripped off,
its sills pried away, all glasswork, all September light
with no latch. And when it came,

sometimes it was easy to think of nothing at all, have no question
at all, to sit and stare at the cracked, orange house next door
where the rodents scurried in and out, storing

green bulbs dropped from our trees—olive nuts, our choked-back eyes—
for the mild southern winter in which nothing dies,
only goes a way a while.

I wanted the far away. I wanted not to feel
caught. Look at the myrtle tree pulling up the yard.
Look at the belief I can’t live by, how it didn’t follow
but was here before me like the fields of tall, planted cane

where anything can be hidden. I think this is
what we get when we ask to be saved:
a land where everything grows, and there are many killings.

05.26.2008

Posted in Poetry, Quotes with tags , , , , on May 26, 2008 by Ryan Sanford Smith

Poetry (quotes by Robert Frost)

A poem begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness. It finds the thought and the thought finds the words.

Poets are like baseball pitchers. Both have their moments. The intervals are the tough things.

The figure a poem makes. It begins in delight and ends in wisdom… in a clarification of life – not necessarily a great clarification, such as sects and cults are founded on, but in a momentary stay against confusion.

05.24.2008

Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2008 by Ryan Sanford Smith

The Old Fools (an excerpt from the poem by Philip Larkin)

Perhaps being old is having lighted rooms
Inside your head, and people in them, acting.
People you know, yet can’t quite name; each looms
Like a deep loss restored, from known doors turning,
Setting down a lamp, smiling from a stair, extracting
A known book from the shelves; or sometimes only
The rooms themselves, chairs and a fire burning,
The blown bush at the window, or the sun’s
Faint friendliness on the wall some lonely
Rain-ceased midsummer evening. That is where they live:
Not here and now, but where all happened once.
This is why they give

An air of baffled silence, trying to be there
Yet being here.