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To receive the American Life in Poetry weekly column containing contemporary poetry, go to http://americanlifeinpoetry.org and register.
Here is their latest column, reprinted here with permission:
American Life in Poetry: Column 192
BY, U.S. POET LAUREATE, 2004-2006
Class, status, privilege; despite all our talk about equality, they’re with us wherever we go. In this poem,, who grew up in a Spanish speaking home in , contrasts the lives of rich tourists with the less fortunate people who serve them. The titles of poems are often among the most important elements, and this one is loaded with implication.
Fences (by Pat Mora)
Mouths full of laughter,
the turistas come to the tall hotel
with suitcases full of dollars.
Every morning my brother makes
the cool beach new for them.
With a wooden board he smooths
away all footprints.
I peek through the cactus fence
and watch the women rub oil
sweeter than honey into their arms and legs
while their children jump waves
or sip drinks from long straws,
coconut white, mango yellow.
Once my little sister
ran barefoot across the hot sand
for a taste.
My mother roared like the ocean,
“No. No. It’s their beach.
It’s their beach.”
American Life in Poetry is made possible by The www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright (c) 1991 by Pat Mora, whose most recent book of poetry is “ Odes,” , 2007. Poem reprinted from “Communion,” Arte Publico Press, , 1991, by permission of the writer and publisher. Introduction copyright (c) 2008 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.(
American Life in Poetry provides newspapers and online publications with a free weekly column featuring contemporary American poems. The sole mission of this project is to promote poetry: American Life in Poetry seeks to create a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. There are no costs for reprinting the columns; we do require that you register your publication here and that the text of the column be reproduced without alteration.
Writing poetry helps me to filter emotions through a fine looking glass.
Just as the sun, when it hits the looking glass, will burn paper,
words too can be written with fire. The fire burns within me.
I only need to throw out watered-down perceptions
and let the poem materialize.
I’ve always loved Edna St. Vincent Millay’s poetry. I found this video at Technorati. Great words, visuals and sounds. Wonderful paintings by Brenda K.I.F. set to music by Enigma.
Watch the wonderful video below. These are VERY talented young poets… and some very powerful poems. Thank you to PBS for showcasing them!
I have four poems that were published today in The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature.
Thank you to Helen Losse, Poetry Editor of The Mule, for including me in the November issue!
The Merton Institute for Contemplative Living sponsors the Merton Prize for Poetry of the Sacred. The Poetry Judge for 2009 is Wendell Berry. All contest entries must be postmarked by December 31, 2008. First Prize is $500. There will be three Honorable Mention awards of $100 each.
For 2009 contest guidelines, go to http://www.mertoninstitute.org
There are times,
when we revisit places of our youth,
when doorways open
and we are allowed a look into our souls.
It is then,
as we grow silent
and listen to the wind,
that we learn our true nature.
Take our place,
feet firmly on the ground,
a seasoned pilgrim on the wheel of life.
(“Kentucky Homestead” Photos)