Poem Tomas Tranströmer

After a Death
Tomas Tranströmer

Once there was a shock
that left behind a long, shimmering comet tail.
It keeps us inside. It makes the TV pictures snowy.
It settles in cold drops on the telephone wires.
One can still go slowly on skis in the winter sun
through brush where a few leaves hang on.
They resemble pages torn from old telephone directories.
Names swallowed by the cold.
It is still beautiful to hear the heart beat
but often the shadow seems more real than the body.
The samurai looks insignificant
beside his armor of black dragon scales.

Ten poems by Tomas Tranströmer
translated by Robert Bly

Everyday Poems for City Sidewalk 20140218

BY: Public Art Saint Paul – Everyday Poems for City Sidewalk presents

Saint Paul Poet Laureate Carol Connolly curates

WHAT:Reading by Writers Series – Free and Open to the Public

WHERE:Historic University Club Saint Paul, 420 Summit Avenue

Bar is open and serves throughout the evening

WHEN: 5:00 dinner Reservations 651-222-1751. No need to be a member.

MAIN PROGRAM:7:00 P.M. Prelude by violinist Mary Scallen. flutist Jim Miller. 7:30p.m. February 18, 2014


Featured Readers:

ANNA GEORGE MEEK, poet, widely published in dozens of fine national journals, The Yale Review, and more, is also the recipient of many prestigious awards: National Endowment for the Arts; Minnesota State Arts Board, Academy of American Poetry Prize, Minnesota Book Award, and more. Her first book ACTS OF CONTORTION won the Brittingham Prize in Poetry. Her chapbook ENGRAVED won the Snowbound Chapbook Competition. Meek, a Twin Cities professor of English, sings professionally with the VOCALESSENCE ENSEMBLE SINGERS.

LESLIE ADRIENNE MILLER, poet, whose collections include Y; THE RESURRECTION TRADE; EAT QUITE EVERYTHING YOU SEE; all from Graywolf Press, as well as YESTERDAY HAD A MAN IN IT; UNGODLINESS; and STAYING UP FOR LOVE, from CMU. Leslie’s poems have appeared in a wide variety of prestigious publications including BEST AMERICAN POETRY, AMERICAN POETRY REVIEW, ANTIOCH REVIEW, HARVARD REVIEW, and many many more. Leslie holds degrees too numerous to list, and is a revered Professor of English at the University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul.

MARTIN KIHN is a writer, digital marketer, dog lover, balletomane and spiritual athlete. His articles have appeared in NEW YORK magazine, the NEW YORK TIMES, GQ, DETAILS, COSMOPOLITAN, and FORBES, among many others, and he was on the staff of SPY, FORBES, NEW YORK, and VIBE. His books include BAD DOG, A LOVE STORY and HOUSE OF LIES, upon which the SHOWTIME series is based, starring Don Cheadle. Marty holds the distinction of being the only living author upon whom a character is based whose actor was nominated for an Emmy. Twice.

MARY MOORE EASTER,Pushcart Prize-nominated poet is a Cave Canem Fellow and Rae Schupack Nathan Professor of Dance emerita at Carleton College. Her nationally presented work gained national notice during her 40-year Carleton tenure. Her chapbook is WALKING FROM ORIGINS, Heywood Press. Widely published in a variety of venues:POETRY, Calyx, Seattle Review, Water Stone, more, she is the recipient of many fellowships and residencies, Bush, McKnight, Ragdale, more. Her memoir, THE WAY SHE WANTS TO GET THERE, One Dancer’s Journey, is forthcoming from North Star Press in 2014.

PHYLLIS GOLDIN is a singer-songwriter, composer, writer, visual and recording artist, with several publications and CDs. She has enjoyed a number of artist residencies and performs widely.

WANDA BROWN, poet, is a recipient of several writers’ residencies, her poems appear in anthologies, including WAITING FOR THE DOUGH, WRITINGS, DRAWINGS & NON-PRIZE-WINNING RECIPES, in collaboration with Phyllis Goldin.

As GOLDINBROWN, this duo presents collaborative performances of music and spoken word.

LYNETTE REINI-GRANDELL, poet, whose first collection APPROACHING THE GATE, Holy Cow! Press, will be released in October 2014. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, appeared in IT’S ANIMAL BUT MERCIFUL; MN ARTISTS.org; POETRY MOTEL; REVOLVER; EVERGREEN CHRONICLES, more. Her poetry is part of an art installation in room 5D of the Carlton Arms Hotel in Manhattan. In Minneapolis, she performs regularly at Dusty’s Bar with the Bosso Poetry Company, a subsidiary of Bosso Enterprises, theoretically based in Big Lever, Wyoming. Lynette, with musician Kari Tauring, will perform in WALKING THE BEAR at Bryant-Lake Bowl on Sunday, March 9, 2014.

DARA SYRKIN, poet, who when asked to deliver a short bio, does just that. Dara earns a living helping writers create their best work. She believes writing is a team sport and credits her writing group comrades, and a keen partner, for keeping her on track so she can create her best work.

Readings last just about an hour. Books will be available at the books sales table; writers will autograph.

Jacob Bacharach Has A Poem

A Spate of Unions

That which wasnt is becoming by
best estimations something well achieve
within what Im assureds a reasonable time
as soon as now, if I can be believed.
The past is past. The future is to come.
Mistakes, if they were made, and let me say,
I can conceive that they were made by some
impatient staffer, unpaid junior aide,
although of course I cant with certainty
identify what they might be, because,
let me be clear, they were not made by me,
will nonetheless . . . where was I? Let me pause.
To those whod make us choose between what may
and might never be done, I say, I say.


Gene McCarthy Talks To Marc Chagall

When I met Marc Chagall
I asked him first of all
whether he had ever seen
in life or in a dream
a cow just sitting down
He said that he had seen
cows both blue and green
and also that he knew
cows that danced and cows that flew
but that he had never seen
in life of in a dream
a cow just sitting down

(Gene McCarthy, at his 1780’s farmhouse Rappahannock Co. Virginia)

Gene McCarthy, Selected Poems p.20
Lone Oak Press, 1997

Blake’s Thanksgiving…

It is an easy thing to talk of patience to the afflicted,
To speak the laws of prudence to the houseless wanderer,
To listen to the hungry raven’s cry in wintry season
When the red blood is fill’d with wine & with the marrow of lambs.

It is an easy thing to laugh at wrathful elements,
To hear the dog howl at the wintry door, the ox in the slaughter house moan;
To see a god on every wind & a blessing on every blast;
To hear sounds of love in the thunder storm that destroys our enemies’ house
To rejoice in the blight that covers his field, & the sickness that cuts off his children,

While our olive & vine sing & laugh round our door, & our children bring fruits and flowers.
Then the groan & the dolor are quite forgotten, & the slave grinding at the mill,
And the captive in chains, & the poor in the prison, & the soldier in the field
When the shatter’d bone hath laid him groaning among the happier dead.

It is an easy thing to rejoice in the tents of prosperity:
Thus could I sing and thus rejoice: but it is not so with me.

William Blake (b. November 28, 1757), from The Four Zoas

Darkness Sticks to Everything by Tom Hennen

New work by Minnesota poet Tom Hennen

Reviewed by Dave Wood in the Coon Rapids Herald [Link]

Minnesota poet Tom Hennens work has been around for a long time, since 1963, and his new book is a welcome addition to his oeuvre.

Darkness Sticks to Everything, with a foreword by Jim Harrison .and an afterword by Thomas R. Smith (Copper Canyon Press, $18, paper) reprints poems from his earlier books like The Heron with No Business Sense and includes about forty of his new poems.

Hennen is a master of the prose poem, many of which he mines from his background as a farm kid in western Minnesota.

Heres a fine example:

Corn Picking 1956 Afternoon Break

I needed a heavy canvas jacket riding the cold red tractor, air an ice cube on bare skin. Blue sky over the aspen grove I drove through on the way back to the field, throttle wide open, the empty wagon I pulled hitting all the bumps on the dirt road. In the high branches of the aspens little explosions now and then sent leaves tumbling and spinning like coins tossed into the air. The two-row tractor-mounted corn-picker was waiting at the end of the corn rows, the wagon behind it heaped so high with ears of corn their yellow could be seen a mile away. My father, who ran the picker, was already sitting on the ground, leaning back against the big rear wheel of the tractor. In that spot out of the wind we ate ham sandwiches and doughnuts, and drank hot coffee from a clear Mason jar wrapped in newspaper to keep it warm. The autumn day had spilled the color gold everywhere: aspen, cornstalks, ears of corn piled high, coffee mixed with fresh cream, the fur of my dog, Boots, who was sharing our food. And when my father and I spoke, joking with the happy dog, we did not know it then, but even the words that we carelessly dropped were left to shine forever on the bottom of the clear, cold afternoon.

Perhaps its only my background as a farm boy, but those finely detailed words struck me with real power.

I could taste the ham, probably served on coarse homemade bread, I could smell the coffee, could hear the yellowing corn stalks rustle in the cool sunlight, could feel the glossy coat of the dog Boots. (My dogs name was Pal.)

As poet Thomas R. Smith points out in his well-reasoned afterword, Tom Hennen can take little details, tiny details and make them universal, as he does in


In flakes, in the shape of pellets and pills.

Snow drifting, sailing, wind driven.

A hatch of crystal insects. One race or many?

Genus, species not classified or understood. Habitat air and sky and earth. Lives in groups. Small and large. Starts out alone but soon in crowds of snow, in piles in banks, in drifts, in heaps, in shovelfuls.

A skift of snow.

Skift, a word my father used for a very small amount of snow but more than a trace, hard and fine as bread flour. It appears only on the coldest winter days. It comes when you are not looking: busy throwing hay down from the loft for the milk cows, or lighting a cigarette with your back to the wind, etc. Its the layer of dry snow that skids over the patches of bare ground.

In below-zero wind when your eyes are freezing shut. Skift snow spreads itself in thin ribbons on the clear ice of puddles

Frozen in the dirt.

Skift snow frightens all the birds away except the chickadee that has no room in its little body for an ounce of fear. The only sound of skift snow is a whisper as it brushes across the crusty winter afternoon. No matter. The chickadee will sing the same short song it has been singing since it left the ark, even as the next ice age slides in
on a skift of snow.

Spreads itself in thin ribbons on the clear ice of puddles frozen in the dirt.

We’ve all seen it, but somehow Hennen makes it seem like more.

Editors note: Dave Wood is a past vice-president of the National Book Critics Circle and former book review editor of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Phone him at 715-426-9554.

Real reading is reincarnation.


there are readers and there are readers. There are people who read to anesthetize themselvesthey read to induce a vivid, continreal-readers-books-stackeduous, and risk-free daydream. They read for the same reason that people grab a glass of chardonnayto put a light buzz on. The English major reads because, as rich as the one life he has may be, one life is not enough. He reads not to see the world through the eyes of other people but effectively to become other people. What is it like to be John Milton, Jane Austen, Chinua Achebe? What is it like to be them at their best, at the top of their games?

English majors want the joy of seeing the world through the eyes of people wholet us admit itare more sensitive, more articulate, shrewder, sharper, more alive than they themselves are. The experience of merging minds and hearts with Proust or James or Austen makes you see that there is more to the world than you had ever imagined. You see that life is bigger, sweeter, more tragic and intensemore alive with meaning than you had thought.

Real reading is reincarnation.


Where The Wild Things Are

Emilio DeGrazia

Beneath the paved highways and streets
Where the pebble debris of long-dead seas
Has harmonized the white noise of minnow tails
With echoes in the ears of empty shells
Pearl-shimmering in sunlight streaks
That also warm dirt teeming with worms,
Grubs, beetles, roaches and ants
Do business as usual
In the traffic beneath the jackboots
Of empire state buildings swaying drunkenly
Under the influence of arrogance and ignorance––
There seeds find refuge in muck’s milk
And there they wait for their moment
To unfurl their flags out of cracked concrete.


the best poems come from the best storytellers… e.e. cummings

e.e. cummings

nobody loses all the time

i had an uncle named
Sol who was a born failure and
nearly everybody said he should have gone
into vaudeville perhaps because my Uncle Sol could
sing McCann He Was A Diver on Xmas Eve like Hell Itself which
may or may not account for the fact that my Uncle

Sol indulged in that possibly most inexcusable
of all to use a highfalootin phrase
luxuries that is or to
wit farming and be
it needlessly

my Uncle Sol’s farm
failed because the chickens
ate the vegetables so
my Uncle Sol had a
chicken farm till the
skunks ate the chickens when

my Uncle Sol
had a skunk farm but
the skunks caught cold and
died so
my Uncle Sol imitated the
skunks in a subtle manner

or by drowning himself in the watertank
but somebody who’d given my Unde Sol a Victor
Victrola and records while he lived presented to
him upon the auspicious occasion of his decease a
scrumptious not to mention splendiferous funeral with
tall boys in black gloves and flowers and everything and

i remember we all cried like the Missouri
when my Uncle Sol’s coffin lurched because
somebody pressed a button
(and down went
my Uncle

and started a worm farm)

Edward Estlin Cummings :





I know that you will not come back
Not answer to my call or whistle
Not come even at your pleasure
As was your way.
Yet, I will leave your “good dog” pad and dish
Beside the kitchen sink, a while.
Your rawhide bone beneath a chair
The cans of dog food on the shelf
Your favorite ball, which you
hid in the boxwood hedge.

I’ll listen in the early morning light,
For your muted huff, not quite a bark,
Suggesting you be let out.
And lie in half-sleep until
I hear your harplike
Single scratch upon the screen
To signal you had answered nature’s call
Made your accustomed rounds
Checked the limits of the grounds,
For trace of groundhogs, raccoons, even bears
And now returned intent on sleep
On bed, or rug, or floor
depending on your mood.

And if not answered,
Lie down in silent protest
Against my failure to respond
And to show resentment of the
Indifference of the stolid door.

I will not yet remove
The mist of dog hair
From your favorite chair.
Not yet discard the frazzled frisbee
You could catch, making plays,
Going away, like Willie Mays.
But having proved your skill
Refused to fetch;
Let retrievers tire themselves
In repetitious runs, you seemed to say.
You would run figure eights,
Disdaining simple circles
Jump hedges just for sport.
Eat holes in woolen blankets
But leave untouched
the silk or satin bindings.
Herd sheep and cattle
Spurn running rabbits and deer,
That would not play your game.

You swam with ducks
And walked among wild geese.
Ate Turns but not Rolaids,
You knew no dog-like shame.
And died by no dog’s disease at end,
But by one that also lays its claim on men.

Eugene McCarthy