Three on Thursday, Random Style
Change Will Do You Good

Fridays are for Poetry

"Genuine poetry can communicate before it can be understood."
                                --- T.S. Eliot


I am a reader of poetry.  Always have been.  I collect poems.  I seek out new poets.  I keep my poetry books on a special shelf in my library.  They are the words I go to when there are no words.

But when I tell other people that, they tend to look at me funny.  Like . . . poetry?  Really?  And so I don't always tell people.

For me, though, there is power in poetry.  Big magic.  Even before we understand it.  

by Elizabeth Alexander
Poetry, I tell my students,
is idiosyncratic. Poetry
is where we are ourselves
(though Sterling Brown said
“Every ‘I’ is a dramatic ‘I'”),
digging in the clam flats
for the shell that snaps,
emptying the proverbial pocketbook.
Poetry is what you find
in the dirt in the corner,
overhear on the bus, God
in the details, the only way
to get from here to there.
Poetry (and now my voice is rising)
is not all love, love, love,
and I’m sorry the dog died.
Poetry (here I hear myself loudest)
is the human voice,
and are we not of interest to each other?
Learn more about the poet Elizabeth Alexander and her work here.
And remember, next Thursday - April 26, is Poem in Your Pocket day.  Carry a poem in YOUR pocket that day.  Share it with someone else.  And maybe join me in posting it on your blog.


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There have certainly been times when poetry has left me puzzled, but far more often it has communicated so much before I've really understood. This Elizabeth Alexander poem expresses that so well. I really do look forward to Fridays, reading the poems you've shared, and learning about poets new to me. I'm learning that poetry's magic is too big to be confined to just one month!


What an accomplished person Elizabeth Alexander is! Thank-you as always for bringing something new and enlightening to me. xoxo


You are so right. There is something miraculous in poetry - it always amazes me that simple words can evoke such thought, such feeling, and such wonder.

Happy Friday!


I love poetry for just that reason, the words so often touch a place inside of me that is beyond comprehension and yet they are so perfect and lovely. Once, a teacher I had, asked me why I liked Robert Frost's Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening so much that I was copying it into my notebook. It filled my mind with so many images and feelings that I couldn't begin to describe, so I told her that it was "lovely". She laughed and said that my response proved I didn't "get" the poem. Poor woman! That poem still brings me peace and comfort and fills me with feelings and images that are beyond words...and so do many other poems.


I loved this poem. Will definitely seek out more of her work. Thank you!


When I go to the bookstore I thumb through books of poetry to find one that speaks to me. Next time I'll know to look for Alexander's books. I know I've read this poem before and I know I will many times again Thank you for encouraging us, reminding us, and for sharing your love of the art.


I think describing poetry as the human voice is the best description of poetry I've ever read. It should be capitalized and repeated over and over, The Human Voice, because when you come right down to it, it's pretty damn powerful.


I admire Elizabeth Alexander for many reasons. Her poetry is elegant while speaking to ordinary life. Something wonderful happens to us as we read and share poetry. Thanks for sharing this poem.


T'is a lovely poem and a great post for helping us each realize and seek our own individual "love affair" with poetry...thank you for this and for the reminder about "Poem in your Pocket Day!" Fortunately, I think today's younger folk are more in tune to poetry, too...


I wish I'd found poetry sooner, but better late than never! This one reminds me of Billy Collins' Introduction to Poetry (and gah! all my teachers were the torturing type!)

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