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Archive for the ‘Wislawa Szymborska’ Category

For our January meeting, we focused on poets who had earned a distinctive honor in celebration of poetry coming back to the inaugural activities.

Maxine Kumin (1925- ) – Pulitzer prize winner for Poems of New England in 1972, Poet Laureate of New Hampshire

Jack

Kay Ryan (1945- ) – appointed the 16th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry by the Library of Congress

Duck
Turtle
The Edges or Time
Patience
A Cat/A Future
Things Shouldn’t Be So Hard

Robert Frost (1874-1963) –  delivered poem at John F. Kennedy’s inauguration in 1961

The Gift Outright

Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) – first well-known American writer to try to earn a living through writing alone

Annabel Lee

Maya Angelou (1928- ) – delivered poem at Bill Clinton’s inauguration in 1993

Still I Rise
Woman Work
On the Pulse of Morning
The Health-Food Diner

Wislawa Symborska (1923-) – Nobel laureate, 1996

Under One Small Star
Utopia

Margaret Atwood (1939- ) – multiple award winner for poetry and literature

Is/Not
More and More

Gabriela Mistral (Lucila Godoy y Alcayaga) (1889-1957) – first female Latin American poet to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1945.

Anniversary
The Stranger
I Am Not Alone

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piWell, silver linings can be found in most things. Being sidelined this entire week with the ague and otherwise malevolent malaise allowed me to flip on the TV at noon to follow the scintillating yet totally irritating fall of Eliot Spitzer as it unfolded in the local news. Yesterday, March 14, I ran a little behind schedule and tuned in as a weatherman was wishing me Happy Pi Day…huh?

 After a little googling, it all made sense. For all you non-mathematicians, 3/14 corresponds to the first three digits of that fascinating number pi 3.14. Hence, March 14 is known as Pi Day. If you really wanted to get into it, you could celebrate Pi Minute at 1:59 pm on 3/14 or Pi Second at 1:59:26 pm on 3/14.

So what does this have to do with poetry? Funny you should ask. As it turn out one of Frances’ favorite poets wrote a poem about pi. 

Pi
by Wislawa Szymborska

The admirable number pi:
three point one four one.
All the following digits are also just a start,
five nine two because it never ends.
It can’t be grasped, six five three five , at a glance,
eight nine, by calculation,
seven nine, through imagination,
or even three two three eight in jest, or by comparison
four six to anything
two six four three in the world.
The longest snake on earth ends at thirty-odd feet.
Same goes for fairy tale snakes, though they make it a little longer.
The caravan of digits that is pi
does not stop at the edge of the page,
but runs off the table and into the air,
over the wall, a leaf, a bird’s nest, the clouds, straight into the sky,
through all the bloatedness and bottomlessness.
Oh how short, all but mouse-like is the comet’s tail!
How frail is a ray of starlight, bending in any old space!
Meanwhile two three fifteen three hundred nineteen
my phone number your shirt size
the year nineteen hundred and seventy-three sixth floor
number of inhabitants sixty-five cents
hip measurement two fingers a charade and a code,
in which we find how blithe the trostle sings!
and please remain calm,
and heaven and earth shall pass away,
but not pi, that won’t happen,
it still has an okay five,
and quite a fine eight,
and all but final seven,
prodding and prodding a plodding eternity
to last.

Many thanks to Edward Byrne and the Valparaiso Poetry Review for pointing this out in yesterday’s blog post. Otherwise, this little gem would have slipped past me.

And for all you mathematical fans out there, note the irony in the fact that Albert Einstein celebrated his birthday on Pi Day, March 14.

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On Sunday, October 21, we indulged in high tea at Karen’s house and read the following poems:

Wislawa Szymborska (1923- ) Nobel prize winner, 1996 –  bio

The Railroad Station

Anne Sexton (1928-1974) – bio

Just Once

Walt Whitman (1819-1892) – bio

The Last Invocation

Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997) – bio

A Supermarket in California

Morning

Ogden Nash (1902-1971) – bio

Song the Open Road – a parody of Joyce Kilmer’s Trees

Patricia MacLachlan & Emily MacLachlan Charest – Patricia’s bio, Emily’s bio

Once I Ate a Pie

Wang Ping (1957- ) – bio

Syntax

Edwin Morgan (1920- ) – bio

A View of Things

Strawberries – audio by Hamish White and Liz Cameron

Siesta of a Hungarian Snake

Loch Ness Monster’s Song –audio

Paul Muldoon (1951- ) – bio, profile in The New York Times

A Hummingbird

Tupak Shakur (1971-1996)

Untitled rap “Please wake me when I’m free”

Jane Hirshfield (1953- ) – bio

The Stone of Heaven

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