Saturday, April 9, 2016

A quick look at local poets

Let's start a list of Minnesota's poets with our first two state poets laureate:

Local Poetry section at Common Good Books
Local Poetry section at Common Good Books
Photo by J. Harrington

Then we'll continue with those Minnesota poets whose works I've read and enjoyed, listed alphabetically:
There are a number of other wonderful Minnesota poets that I haven't yet enjoyed, and, possibly, some I've read and lost track of. Writings by those listed or other Minnesota poets can often be found in St. Paul at Common Good Books or Subtext or, in Duluth, the bookstore in Fitzger's.

How To Be a Poet

By Wendell Berry
(to remind myself)

Make a place to sit down.   
Sit down. Be quiet.   
You must depend upon   
affection, reading, knowledge,   
skill—more of each   
than you have—inspiration,   
work, growing older, patience,   
for patience joins time   
to eternity. Any readers   
who like your poems,   
doubt their judgment.   


Breathe with unconditional breath   
the unconditioned air.   
Shun electric wire.   
Communicate slowly. Live   
a three-dimensioned life;   
stay away from screens.   
Stay away from anything   
that obscures the place it is in.   
There are no unsacred places;   
there are only sacred places   
and desecrated places.   


Accept what comes from silence.   
Make the best you can of it.   
Of the little words that come   
out of the silence, like prayers   
prayed back to the one who prays,   
make a poem that does not disturb   
the silence from which it came.

Berry's poem demonstrates to me that poetry is both local and universal? Agree?

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