Category Archives: Poetry

Studying Geometry

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In answer to the Daily Post prompt, study:640px-Teorema_de_desargues

Studying Geometry

A polygon is the sister of a pollywog.
A rectangle is just a square that was hung on the line rather than dried flat.
A sphere is merely a circle on steroids; it works out with cube, who used to be a square.
Is an equilateral triangle more egalitarian than an isosceles?
How do you know when a triangle’s right?
How can you be so obtuse? Too bad you’re not as acute as me.
Do witches cast hexagons?
Would an octagon be three times more secret than a pentagon?
Is there a rhombus in the rumpus room?
Is a dodecahedron as rare as a dodo bird?

Candymaker as Physician

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In response to today’s The Daily Post prompt: treat.

Candymaker as Physiciancandy

The confectioner said, you need a treat.
Something soft and something sweet.
She melted butter and poured in sugar
By the cupful.
My teeth twinged, my tongue watered.
A little vanilla, and some nuts,
Rolled in coconut, dipped in chocolate.
She placed a dozen in a white box
Tied with a red ribbon.
Take two and call me in the morning.

I ate two
And then two more
And then four more.

My stomach aching, I called her.
What did you do to me? I’m going to burst.

She said, ah, but good things
Must be taken in moderation.
Too much joy only brings sorrow.
Go to bed and call me tomorrow.

Poem ©ARHuelsenbeck

Review of Good Poems, selected by Garrison Keillor

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Review of Good Poems, selected by Garrison Keillor

I do not intend to defend or address Keillor’s alleged inappropriate behavior that recently cost him his jobs at Minnesota Public Radio and the Washington Post.

That said, one of my favorite poetry collections is Good Poems for Hard Times, which Keillor assembled, and which led me to acquire his earlier anthology, simply titled Good Poems. And good they are.

Sometimes you need to read a poem multiple times before you can appreciate it, and many of these good poems fall into that category. But others ring from the first read through, delighting me with their cadence, rhyme or humor.

Good Poems

One poem haunted and devastated me: John Updike’s “Dog’s Death,” and I didn’t know why it hit me so hard. We have a little old deaf and blind dachshund, but nothing in her life paralleled the words. That poem disturbed my mind for days almost like an earworm, until I finally unburied an old memory from thirty-five years ago.

When we bought our first house, we bought a beagle puppy from a pet store. He was the cutest little thing, but one day soon after when we took him on a walk, he sat down and walked no further. I thought he was being stubborn, but my husband suspected something was wrong and eventually took the pup to a vet. She diagnosed parvo virus, and tried to treat him, but he didn’t respond, and we had him euthanized. We had been paper training him, and he once dragged himself to the paper to have diarrhea.

In Updike’s poem, the dog sustained an unnoticed injury that ruptured her spleen, and died on the way to the vet. The last stanza is what twisted my heart:

Back home, we found that in the night her frame,
Drawing near to dissolution, had endured the shame
Of diarrhoea and had dragged across the floor
To a newspaper carelessly left there. Good dog.

Keillor expertly arranges the poems in this book. For example, these two poems, sharing the same name and obviously related, were printed on opposite sides of the same page:

This Is Just to Say
William Carlos Williams

I have eatenjoanna-kosinska-199279
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

This Is Just to Say
Erica-Lynn Gambino
(for William Carlos Williams)

I have just
asked you to
get out of my
apartment

even though
you never
thought
I would

Forgive me
you were
driving
me insane

Which led me to wonder—did the poets know each other?

One nice feature which Good Poems shares with Good Poems for Hard Times is a section at the back of the book containing short biographies of each of the included poets. I immediately found the one for William Carlos Williams, 1883-1963, but I couldn’t find the one for Erica-Lynn Gambino. I was heartbroken. Should I write to Penguin Books and tell them there’s an omission? I tried closing the book and opening it again, but still no biography appeared for Gambino. It bothered me.

 

320px-GKpress

Photo by Prairie Home Productions

Until I finished the entire book and read through all the biographies (I’m a little obsessive-compulsive that way) and found Erica-Lynn Gambino Huberty, b. 1969. So no, the poets did not know each other personally. Mystery solved.

 

The poems are interestingly organized into nineteen categories: O Lord, A Day, Music, Scenes, Lovers, Day’s Work, Sons and Daughters, A Good Life, Beasts, Failure, Complaint, Trips, Snow, Yellow, Lives, Elders, The End, and The Resurrection. Some poems would have been appropriate to more than one category, and I found it amusing that they ended up where they did.

Yes, this is definitely a good bunch of poems, but be patient with them. Some I didn’t care for on first reading, but they became more meaningful after repeated visits. And probably some won’t be your cup of tea no matter what. But it’s still worth mining for the gems that resonate.

What the Angels Said

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What the Angels Said

Merry Christmas!

In place of Monday Morning Wisdom, today I am sharing a poem I wrote in October as part of the OctPoWriMo challenge. The prompt was What is the Message? and the suggested form was nonet. I chose to write a paraphrase of Luke 2:10-14.

Angel musicians

What the Angels Said

I bring you good tidings of great joy.
Today in the town of David
A savior is born to you.
Find the babe wrapped in cloths:
This will be your sign.
Glory to God!
Peace to men.
Fear not!
Christ.

Poem © by ARHuelsenbeck

Miraculous

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In response to today’s Daily Post prompt:

Miraculous

 

Yoga (a poem)

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Inspired by a Wild Whimzy Writing Prompt:

backbend copy

One with nature
I lift my face to the warmth of the sun
My back arches
My knee bends; my toes point upward
My aching muscles stretch and loosen
Hold; reach a little farther
Release and relax

Incomplete

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In response to today’s Wild Whimzy Writing Prompt:

wooden-heart-1466161527MgS-400x267

How do I climb out of the hole
where my heart used to be?
Once I was complete,
two joined together to make a whole.
Now I’m a fragment, jagged, broken.

Beach House

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My response to The Daily Post prompt: relocate:

Beach Housefrank-mckenna-181770

Gonna ask my realtor
Can she get me a deal
On a sweet little beach house
With a lot of appeal.
It should be in the tropics
But not too hot
Close to the water
In a shady spot
Must come with a cabana
And cabana boy
With lots of clean towels
And mai tai joy
All this and more
At a super price—
Less than a hundred
Would be very nice

poem © ARHuelsenbeck

Video of the Week #126: Poetry Contest

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Contest rules and submission port here.

Creative Juice #69

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Creative Juice #69

A dozen after-turkey articles to motivate you to create during this holiday weekend. (By the way, I’m thankful for all the people who read Creative Juice.)

  1. The Other Art Fair.
  2. What if life really is just the dress rehearsal? I never thought of eternity in quite this way before.
  3. Can you determine whether a poem was written by a human or a computer? (I missed two out of three.)
  4. Rituals and memories.
  5. Why a painting by Manet shocked his contemporary audience.
  6. Need some inexpensive gift ideas? Be sure to watch the video of the grown-up fidget spinner.
  7. Here’s an alternative advent calendar you create yourself.
  8. Christmas decorations you can make yourself with paper.
  9. Beautiful quilting. Be sure to click on each image for the enlargement.
  10. Why it’s good to try your hand at different arts.
  11. Marvelous photographs by Cig Harvey.
  12. Psychologist Dean Simonton writes: “On average, creative geniuses aren’t qualitatively better in their fields than their peers, they simply produce a greater volume of work which gives them more variation and a higher chance of originality.” Author Thomas Oppong says, “If you want to be prolific, stop judging yourself.” (I don’t totally believe that—you have to judge yourself somewhat if you want to put out excellent work. But this article gives creatives much to think about.)