Tuesday, September 23, 2014

"Post-strike Analysis" by ModPo'er Lowell Murphree

The gunman was intercepted delivering
flowers when the missiles struck

Surgically separating
pistil from the stamen

Let me say before the commercial break
that we hit what we were aiming at.

We have partners in

His red petals
flew up like larks

into an infrared

Monday, September 8, 2014

Sunday, July 13, 2014

epistemological and ontological assumptions

We need time and space to unpack our lives –
condensed, compressed, repressed, concentrated
for far too long on trivialities,
technicalities, false flag theatrics –
Let’s touch the core of what we call our truth:
shall we preserve the status quo, believe
objectively this love will conquer all?
Or should we seek to transcend (abolish?)
the dead-end that’s approaching
for a different, enlightened way?
Or is it only the individual
that matters in the end, the beginning?
Or maybe just break all the rules,
and then, unshackled, unrestrained, renew?

Monday, June 30, 2014

Recent poems

June 18, 2014
An evangelist spoke to our class today.
Liked my questions and offered me a job.
Told him my last job
was in a bureaucracy
with a corrupt hard drive
and a virus-laden operating system.
He wrote that down in his note pad.
It’s all poetry, I told him.
Didn’t know he was also a poet!

June 22, 2014
21 years in a lockup, black passport
cancelled, holes punched in the cover:
I never felt bound by its darkness,
nor constricted by its strait jacket,
but always freed, liberated, emancipated
by the song of curiosity in my soul.
Let us not disdain the leaders
of the instruction manual factory –
Jesus said feed all the sheep –
but don’t forget that among them
are whores who will turn a trick
at the drop of a dime,
and pimps who’ll sell their own
mothers if the price is right.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Open letter to a MOOC doubter about ModPo


​Dear Professor MOOC doubter:
     I was one of the 30,000 students enrolled in ModPo, Modern and Contemporary American Poetry, via Coursera, hosted at Penn.  I am a living witness that there is human interaction in a large MOOC course, and there is one-on-one contact and individual attention between the student and the instructor and staff.    
     In ModPo, it was not unusual for Prof. Filreis to plug himself into a discussion group or even to send a personal e-mail to students in far-flung locations.  Many can attest to that, and to the fact that it seemed that Prof Filreis never slept during the course!  He was everywhere and in everybody’s conversations and discussions.  Additionally, his seven teaching assistants were equally engaged with students via the discussion groups.  And in the second year, he designated 25 community TA’s, in the US, in the UK, in India, in France, and in Phillippines, (and others) and they multiplied the interaction effect.    
     In weekly live webcasts, many of us met up in Philadelphia (a small contingent always travelled up by MegaBus (cheap tickets)) for face-to-face discussions.    
     In DC, we formed a weekly meet-up at a local bookshop for additional face-to-face discussions.
     So you see, there was lots of individual attention for those who sought it out, as well as for those sought out by the instructor and his staff.  But you have to do the work, both students and the instructor and staff.  Doing the work is what makes the difference, not the structure or the size of the classroom.    
     Thanks for reading this note.    
Raymond Maxwell

Monday, April 14, 2014

MOdPo'er Lowell Murphree is donating proceeds from the sale of his book of poems, Bindings, to ModPo'er Jamie Givens health fund.  Please buy the book and please donate to the cause, because ModPo is not just a poetry class, it is a movement.

Ok ModPo, THIS is it!
BINDINGS by Lowell Murphree is now published and let loose on the world!
Here is a FREE pdf for all our wonderful community to enjoy! Lowell and Jeremy will not take any financial reward from this enterprise, all we ask is that if you like the book you will make a donation to Jamie's health fund – let's see what a difference poetry can make!
Brigitte Pellat Here is the link http://www.gofundme.com/jamiegivens

Our dear friend, Jamie Givens, is on a two year journey to wellness after being ...diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer this year. The sole owner of a licensed massage therapy practice, Jamie hasn't been able to work since October 29, 2013 due to the cancer and treatment. Covering daily expense...See More
BINDINGS by Lowell Murphree
The book can now be downloaded at Dropbox, here is the address.
Please share it with any of your friends outside this group who may enjoy Lowell's work. Poetry has raised nearly $100 for Jamie's health fund, and it would be fantastic if we can generate more interest and more donations


Monday, April 7, 2014

DC Poetica, April 6, 2014.

Counterclockwise from bottom left: Lori, James, Treva (on computer), John, Susan, Ray, Kelleyanne.  Ursula is the photographer. 

Monday, March 31, 2014

NaPoWriMo 2014!

Cross-posted from napowrimo.net


Get set . . .

On March 31, 2014
Tomorrow is the first day of NaPoWrimo. I hope you are feeling excited and inspired.
Today’s poetry resource is the Big Poetry Giveaway. Now in its fifth year, the Giveaway celebrates National Poetry Month by giving participants the opportunity to get books of poetry, for free!
I know that by the time I post the first “official” prompt, it will already have been April 1 for a while in some parts of the world, so here is an extra little prompt (totally optional — as all our prompts are) for those of you who are experiencing NaPoWriMo earlier than me.
The prompt for all you early birds is an ekphrastic poem – a poem inspired by or about a work of art. There’s no rules on the form for an ekphrastic poem, so you could write a sonnet or a haiku or free verse. Some well-known ekphrastic poems include Rilke’s Archaic Torso of Apollo and Keats’ Ode on a Grecian Urn. But ekphrastic poetry is alive and well today, too, as your efforts today will reflect.
Happy writing!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Poems by ModPo'ers published in Filipino anthology

Poems by ModPo'ers T. De Los Reyes and Dennis Aguinaldo are included in the book, Verses Typhoon Yolanda: A Storm of Filipino Poets, which has just been released today. 

The official press release can be read here: http://versestyphoonyolanda.blogspot.com.

The anthology was created for fundraising purposes. If you buy a copy, profits from the sales of the book will go to the survivors of Typhoon Yolanda.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Langston Hughes poems posted in February, 2014

Langston Hughes poems posted in February

2/1      Youth
2/2       I too, Sing America
2/3       I Look at the World
2/4       Let America Be American Again
2/5       As I Grew Older
2/6       Daybreak in Alabama
2/7       Dream Variations
2/8       Theme for English B
2/9       Negro Speaks of Rivers
2/10     Love Song for Lucinda
2/11     Afro-American Fragment
2/12     The Weary Blues
2/13     Pennsylvania Station
2/14     Harlem Sweeties
2/15     Midwinter Blues
2/16     Cubes
2/17     Montage of a Dream Deferred: Dream Boogie
2/18     Montage of a Dream Deferred: Children's Rhymes
2/19     Mississippi - 1955
2/20     Advertisement for the Waldorf-Astoria
2/21     Freedom's Plow
2/22     Open Letter to the South
2/23     I Dream a World
2/24     Mother to Son
2/25     Militant
2/26     Old Walt
2/27     Harlem
2/28     Hope for Harlem


Sunday, February 2, 2014

DC Poetica discusses two Rilke poems Sunday, February 2, 2014

L to r: back row: Lori, James, John, Ray.  Front row: Kelleyanne, Susan.
Joining us on Skype (internationally): Treva, Carol, Moshe, and Kent.  

Friday, January 31, 2014

Poems by ModPo'ers: Lalarukh Lasharie

Let Us Name The Dead

I have walked among the dead
My eyes shut
We are the dead
Let us name the dead
They are you and I

2537 dead
Trust us!
These are bad guys we are killing!
Only militants
No combatants
No collateral damage

Let us name the dead
Sakina, Bano, Amjad, Gul Mohammad...

These deaths will haunt us
As long as we live
No boots on the ground
No tanks, no seals
Only hawks raining fire
No humans, just robots

Let us name the dead
Zainab Bibi, Fatima, Imran, Fazal Jan...

Single strikes are obsolete
Doubles are all the rage
Just to make sure, you see.
How pathetic, they congregate
For rescue and mourning!
Strike again! Just to make sure

Let us name the dead
Baby Noor, Faiza, Ayesha, Afzal Khan...

Reaper Drones
We weep when we sow
The grimmest reaper.
Surgically precise
And an effective tool.
This is a false narrative!

Let us name the dead
Ayub, Khadija, Ejaz, Dilawer, Zarina...

I have walked among the dead
My eyes shut
We are the dead
Let us name the dead
They are you and I

©2014 January.
Lalarukh Lasharie

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Amiri Baraka on his poetry and breaking the rules


"...My hope is that the great poets that have existed in America will find their voice in a collective way and that we will be able to rescue all of the lost and the obscure, the willfully hidden poets in Poetry....the powers that be hide that literature which speaks against their rule, and they have done that since the beginning of time, and they will do that as long as they can, they will do that until, finally, we are in charge, the people are in charge of what needs to be published..."

Monday, December 30, 2013

a winter solstice poem (still under construction)

new books arrived in the laundry room
(my wife lets me do laundry more often since I retired)

German novels, African American history,
Native American languages, British plays -
I thumb through all the new additions,

while the whites wash and the colors dry. 
An eclectic collection, well kept (I can tell) and
carefully read by a conscientious reader,

perhaps a tenant, now departed, her books
abandoned, left behind to testify
on her (or his) behalf.  And launderers

like me now benefit from such largesse.
I thumb through them all,
and wonder will my volumes end up here.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Poems by ModPo'ers: Lowell Murphree

Still and All

Still and all, if you ask in that way, I might reply – “peace.”
Although the wind would likely disagree and would be
Pressed to bring the gushing creek to share the thought

Among our loose wrapped memories are few 
With ribbons tied -- 
No disappointment showing

The fireplace chafes at 
Keeping all that pent up sun between the blackened dogs
And calmly turning twisted pine unto soot

Something’s wild and vengeful
In your eyes – something like to hate that 
Shakes the earth and strips the forest bare

Tornados, hurricanes, wars and derision, 
Let these come Christmas Eve. 
We’ll find some virtue in combatting 
Joy in gritting our bared gnashing teeth

It’s when becalmed our canyons start to gape
Our wolves are still, I 
Know my insides come unzipped 

It’s then I cannot stand or understand 
The shepherd or the sheep 
But longing (though I wish it weren’t so) 
And thoroughly betrayed by -- Love. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Poems by ModPo'ers: Sophia Pandeya


Elongated in your tresses I am
the opposite of sleep
Shab-e-Yalda, tonight
it is myself that I weave

Poet, pour the night’s
darkest wine, let me unlock
the keys to my ruin
your lips, Shab-e-Yalda!

Your wine is a deep
inkwell, let me drink it all
and die, no need to write
my name, just see

the stars, Shab-e-Yalda!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Poems by Modpo'ers: Mark Herron

Winter Solstice

The shortest day is upon us, and our structures
Built to observe, like Stone Henge, the pyramids
Track the sun’s alignment, demonstrate this day
We look out, on this, the closest day to Heaven

If each concentric sphere were like our world
They too would face the Sun, not this Earth
Our guiding constellations - people and animals
They would turn their backs on us as well

We watch the Sun each year; we map his path
Beloved being, like us, we wonder at your span

Like fond farewell, the Sun but lingers in the sky
Again, we pray the days run longer from here
In hope, dread, we measure on this shortest day
For a longer tomorrow, another beautiful year

Monday, December 16, 2013

Poetry by ModPo'er Mary Thompson Hardwick


Can’t cheat

Another one
Out of gas

Read “Life”
at Death

Road tired

Big Bang

Feverish sleep


Saturday, December 14, 2013

December 14, 2013 meeting of the DC Politics and Prose Poets Society

Today Isn’t Everything
by Pablo Neruda

Something of yesterday clings to today,
a flag or a potsherd;
or simply a notion of light,
the scum on a midnight’s aquarium,
an unwithering thread---
essential tenacity, gold in the air:
something persists, whatever passes away
a little diminished, to fall under the arrows
of the hostile sun and its combats.

Else, why
in the glowing autonomy
of the positive day
that we lived
did a portent of seagulls
stay on, circling back as if it would stagger
the mix of its blue with the blue
that had vanished?

I tell you:

Inside the light
your soul makes its circle,
refining itself to extinction, 
or enlarging its rings like the stroke of a bell.

And between death and rebirth
the space is less grand
than we thought, the frontier
less implacable.
Light’s shape is round as a ring
and we move ourselves by its movements.

Translation: Ben Belitt
From Late and Posthumous Poems: 1968-1974

Sunday, December 8, 2013

a short poem for a sad moment (originally titled Metro Center)

He always knew
his enemies
would not be able
to destroy him -

nor would
violence or disease
conspire to
take him out –

nor would he be
behind the wheel
when he crossed
the River Jordan –

one night he would
fall asleep, as usual,
and wake up
in Beulahland.

a luta continua...

Thursday, December 5, 2013

A favorite poem of my favorite high school math teacher

A Prayer
By John Drinkwater (1882–1937)

LORD, not for light in darkness do we pray,
Not that the veil be lifted from our eyes,
Nor that the slow ascension of our day
            Be otherwise.

Not for a clearer vision of the things        5
Whereof the fashioning shall make us great,
Not for the remission of the peril and stings
            Of time and fate.

Not for a fuller knowledge of the end
Whereto we travel, bruised yet unafraid,        10
Nor that the little healing that we lend
            Shall be repaid.

Not these, O Lord. We would not break the bars
Thy wisdom sets about us; we shall climb
Unfetter’d to the secrets of the stars        15
            In Thy good time.

We do not crave the high perception swift
When to refrain were well, and when fulfil,
Nor yet the understanding strong to sift
            The good from ill.        20

Not these, O Lord. For these Thou hast reveal’d,
We know the golden season when to reap
The heavy-fruited treasure of the field,
            The hour to sleep.

Not these. We know the hemlock from the rose,        25
The pure from stain’d, the noble from the base,
The tranquil holy light of truth that glows
            On Pity’s face.

We know the paths wherein our feet should press,
Across our hearts are written Thy decrees:        30
Yet now, O Lord, be merciful to bless
            With more than these.

Grant us the will to fashion as we feel,
Grant us the strength to labour as we know,
Grant us the purpose, ribb’d and edged with steel,        35
            To strike the blow.

Knowledge we ask not—knowledge Thou hast lent,
But, Lord, the will—there lies our bitter need,
Give us to build above the deep intent
            The deed, the deed.