A Great Poem by Gail White

I found a great poem. In these dark dismal days of over-abundant pseudo poetry, the search for good poetry is a dispiriting endeavor. But rather than drag anyone down with my opinion of more bad news, here is a great poem, one written not long ago by a person still alive today.


A few years ago I attended the West Chester Poetry Conference. In the library during one of the breaks between readings and classes and talks, I looked over the poetry books on display. Some of the names I knew and some I didn’t. I picked up one book and read the first poem. The library was crowded, early in the conference, and people came early to buy what might be something they like and, as often is the case in poetry, a short run, a book printed and not in very many copies.


I read the poem and a light went off in my head. But mingling was going on, people were talking and I was listening to everything going on. I put the book down. And for three years I couldn’t get that poem out of my head.      To Continue Click Here

A view on the poem Aftershocks by Alicia Stallings

 “Aftershocks”, a sonnet by A. E. Stallings, has taken my interest to write a review. Or maybe ‘review’ is not exactly the goal. How I understand or what I admire about the poem is the goal here.


          The poem approaches, via a thoughtful narrative, an amusing thought. Apparently, two people have had an argument, and as may happen, when caught up in an argument, emotions get everything all mixed up, and the two people inadvertently take each others point of view — all this written over the metaphor of an earthquake. The two 
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A kind of poetry treatise from 2012

Dear Poet

Dear Poet; you might live for one good hour each day,
one hour totally yours, quiet with pen and paper,
either in faint blue light of five in the morning
before the sun pops up behind trees with big engines
and breakfast plates clatter with cares and wares,
or late in the office when exit signs are noticed.

Young Poet; do you believe how many things
cleverly entice you out of your writing chair,
out of sweet reverie and boundless thought
and new vision, explanatory order, fine wisdom,
and rare connections, possibly quite valuable?
What kills you with another day out of your life?

True Poet; however you have found this page
in the charged confabulations that muck your day,
reach out and cover the nearby window with your hand,
listen, and hear the numerous misdirected slants
that try to sell you dozens of pre-scheduled calendars
with your name and title filled in royally on wasted days.

Hot Poet; don’t do it, don’t live in pretense land,
you can never win over, you can only avoid
poisonous personalities with duplicitous smiles.
They offer appreciation and name-tag awards
and already-spent money for your limited time.
Look out, be careful, because, look at your poor friends.

Blue Poet; you write in silence, yet speak in sound.
Whether great or mediocre, you are an alone sojourner,
yet to be accepted and to help others is the goal.
The minute they like you they want you to cease;
talk, they ask, stop writing! Be with us! Honor us!
Adulation addiction smudges sentences with fakery.

Famous Poet; witch-doctor, village priest,
drunken fool, visionary, assuager of hurting hearts,
whatever your job, how close can you get to truth?
We look to you for integrity more than opinions.
You put feelings in thought, and thoughts in feeling,
and you know the difference between thought and feeling.

Tough Poet; be kind, encourage others.
Lone wolves don’t make it. Praise sparingly.
Decline money for blurbs. Money can make you lie.
Blurbs are read, not for the poems, but to see
if the writer dances the cha-cha in a tutu.
No one wants your poetry, they want you.

Human Poet; others are not to be misunderstood,
they pinch you only to see if you are mean.
Poetry is the side issue. What they want is help,
small help, usually to be simply acknowledged.
Although often true, scratch a poet — get an angry person,
fire sans artistic passion is uglified arrogance.

Gracious Poet; leave the animal body behind,
your better spirit sits on a cushioned chair (or hard bench)
in a concentrated, high-conscious assemblage of thought,
and hopes barefoot muses patiently nod or disapprove words.
Remember, oh, so gently, involve the constant need to belong,
give kind appreciation to everyone, and respect their chair.

New Poet; do you say things people don’t understand?
Overlooked means you are still free, everything new.
Unknown means you see exact and pure as unlined paper.
No one watching means that joy of creativity is yours.
When no one shows, it means you must improve.
Great writing is belief in the power of a single line.

Fair Poet; the first line is an easy line,
you simply write down your thoughts.
The last line is the hardest line,
a million variables weigh expectations.
The only rule is don’t mess with anyone’s dream.
You need know only one thing: whether you can sing.

Sad Poet; when you write, write for the future.
You luxuriate in beautiful misunderstood time,
where beauty is always accompanied with danger,
if only in resentment from others that you write.
To be a poet is to be free, and others don’t like this.
A leader is magnanimous. Let others find the truth.

Love Poet; if you can talk, you can write.
Love is never, never, inferred or oblique.
Be forthright, creativity loves action.
Don’t shepherd; one of the sheep is always a wolf.
Ability is responsibility. If you have the ability,
you are the one, the only one, who can do what you can do.

Big Poet; keep your opinions to yourself.
However painful, keep what you know to chitchat.
No one will agree with you when you are right.
Never make a statement! Keep your belt buckled!
Don’t smoke and walk around with a drink in your hand.
A roomful of idiots can always find the smart one.

Kind Poet; genius is a happy thing.
If you want what you want, write one beautiful poem.
No matter what, after you are read and done,
if you are not interesting, forget it.
Ask yourself, exactly what do you have to offer?
Is poetry your first love? What have you done today?

Brave Poet; remember, when things go well,
be most careful, that’s when you are most vulnerable.
The principle of life is based on king of the hill, pure ego.
Enjoy the cuts, the burns, the insidious smears by pea-brains.
No one really grows up; they just act mature.
Money is the language of humans, not words.

Lonely Poet; pick your friends carefully.
The poesie-parties are full of wanna-be kingrats,
who palm your cheek then rip out your jugular,
full of two-faced failure-poets turned sick critics
with vituperous venom and slicer-dicer agendas.
Always call them by name, smile and shake their hands.

Fine Poet; do you see full prismatic rainbows
in a spot of sunlight on the washing machine?
Does the word fret invoke musical reach?
Do people seem to mumble? Do you seem to talk down a well?
Does your brain scan word-horizons like an explorer?
If you experience the above, you’re probably a poet.

Sweet Poet; are you shuffled between a million
shunted to the side isles of reluctant universities,
useless, doubtful, un-mainstream, a cheesy leper?
Yet famous awards are bestowed on famous poets,
and you wonder, how do these honors find the talent,
who discerns respected genius? And you? Time will tell.

Wise Poet: fact is, poetry is a small, exclusive club,
rampant with charlatans who stick awards on each other!
The best advice is don’t bother, don’t waste your life
with endless simpering drivel by artsy poet-wimps.
Whatever you do, don’t write poetry. Don’t do it.
Hate and disdain all poetry. Then you can write.