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Entries in poetry (76)


from revolutionary lips

I often say that poetry saves me. It gets under my skin and into my bones and pushes me to pay attention. It opens a door for me and I suddenly find myself in a room surrounded by others who want to talk about the unexpected beauty found in the messy, gritty, grief-filled moments that happen in a life. 

Poetry has helped me find a home inside myself where I know I'm not alone.

Reading Amy Palko's new poetry collection, From Revolutionary Lips, was like opening that door again and stepping inside a candlelit room filled with women who aren't afraid to tell it - the real, the sexy, the gorgeous, the messy truth inside them.

Over the last few years, I've been walking a path of women mending after going through trauma when my daughter was born. And this mending has been slow and hard and beautiful and painful and confusing. This mending happens in the space between moments as I move from mother to wife to entrepreneur to friend... and try to remember I'm always me even as the roles topple into one another. 

The grief mingled in all of it catches me off guard at times. I find myself taking a step forward with shaky vulnerability and then whoosh! I'm discombobulated and simply sad and unable to say aloud what my heart, what my body, most needs.

Reading Amy's words, being ushered into the door that her poetry opened, has felt like someone has held up a mirror to the swirling feelings inside me. This collection is sexy and raw; it's full of the stories women grasp inside fists while thinking "no one else must feel this way."

Amy's words will remind you that you aren't alone in your desires and the mysterious longings inside you. They are an invitation to freedom. And she weaves her gorgeous self-portraits between the poems so you remember that she's walking this path alongside you.

Yes yes yes.

Here's one of my favorite poems from Amy's collection paired with her self-portrait.

by Amy Palko 

Grounding in the bowl
of my pelvis, feeling
the rub, that place of pain
and discomfort, that red raw
weeping wound bleeding
rust coloured tears…

She says stay with me.
She says stay with the discomfort.
She says stay with the pain.

Don't try to escape it.
Don't try to remove yourself, transcend
in any way from the experience
of this moment,
and the next,
and the next.

She says just be with.
She says just be with and receive

She says see -
This is where the light gets in.
And out.

You can read more about From Revolutionary Lips and buy it (plus the audio and hear Amy's gorgeous voice read these poems) right here.

Amy Palko is the creatrix of Red Thread Voices - a publishing house that aims to offer a home to the voice of exiled feminine, She is also a goddess guide, poet, photographer and lecturer whose work has been featured internationally. She lives in Edinburgh, Scotland with her husband and three teenage children, in their home that overlooks the deep harbour, and the wide mouth of the River Forth as it opens up to swallow the cold waters of the North Sea.


female poets: a place to begin

Yesterday, I shared that I'm thinking about the tables I want to sit at when having conversations about the beautiful questions (as David Whyte calls them), and one part of this is sharing more about poetry here on my blog and reading and sharing more female poets.

So here's a list of just a few to get you exploring. Because poets tend not to have personal websites, I'm linking to Poetry Foundation for you to learn more about these female truth tellers and adventurers and read more of their poems. Please feel free to share other female poets and your favorite poems in the comments. I'd love this post to become a beautiful resource for all of us.

Naomi Shihab Nye: Her poem "Kindness" is one of my favorites. I also love her collection Red SuitcaseWhat Have You Lost? is often by my bedside; it's a collection of poems by others she gathered on that topic. 

Marge Piercy: I remember the first time I read "The Day My Mother Died" and stood rereading it again and again, my mouth agape with that "I'm not the only one" kind of feeling swirling around me. I also love the poem "Colors Passing Through Us." And her collection The Moon Is Always Female must be mentioned in this week's poetry conversation.

Sharon Olds: Her poem "I Go Back to May 1937" was the first poem that caused me to say "Oh shit" out loud (there have been others). I've written about it several times (including here), but I have to mention it today because of the way it tells a story so many of us touch around the edges of but seldom have words for. Her collection "The Father" is about her father's illness and death and her reflections on all of it. It is gritty and masterful. In other collections she writes about the real stuff of motherhood and holds nothing back. Here she is reading "The Clasp." (Wow. Just wow.)

Jane Kenyon: I have Kenyon's Collected Poems. I pick it up, read one maybe two poems, then try to catch my breath and put it down for two to four months, then repeat the process. I could probably devote an entire blog post to explain why, but part of me really wants you to discover her on your own and begin your own conversations with her. A few for you to begin with: "Let Evening Come," "Happiness" (you can hear her read it), and "The Shirt," which might just surprise you and make you laugh out loud.

Diane Ackerman: I'm a big fan of Diane Ackerman's A Natural History of the Senses and have had A Natural History of Love on my shelf for a long time. It's now in the pile of books I'm hoping to read this winter. With these books though, you get more of her naturalist/poet self; they aren't filled with poems. You can dive into her poetry in Origami Bridges. And here's one for you to read right now: "We Are Listening."

Elizabeth Bishop: Her personal story just really captures me. She is now recognized as one of the great American poets, but she wasn't well known while alive. So many of her poems rhyme, which is also intriguing to me. Here's one for you: "Full Moon, Key West."

and of course, Mary Oliver: She's my favorite poet. The one I turn to daily. At retreats, I will often pick up one of her books from the basket of poetry I have beside me and just turn to a poem. It is almost always the one the group needs to hear at that point in the retreat. Magic. Her poems often chronicle the walks she takes each day. And they just tell the real stuff about life...about being a human in this beautiful, heartbreaking world. I'm so grateful for her. I pretty much recommend every collection, but Red Bird is a great one to start with. And here's one of her poems, "Breakage," for you to read aloud again and again.

And then there's Nikki Giovanni and Kathleen Norris and Marianne Moore and Susan Howe...there are so many others. Please do share your own favorites in the comments.

Tomorrow our week of poetry continues, so please do meet me back here.


because poetry should be read aloud

I've recorded a poem for you today.

Because sometimes there are just words you need to hear...words you think someone else might need too.

Because sometimes you need to hear these words aloud so you can write them on your heart...so you can feel less alone.

The poem is called "Flotsam."

It's written by me and you can find it in the poetry collection Five Days in April in my shop.

Just click "Flotsam" below to listen to this short poem.






i love poetry {january 21, 2013}

Today, my heart, my spirit, my soul soared as I listened to Richard Blanco read his poem "One Today" at President Obama's Second Inauguration. Listen to it above.

I love poetry.



i'm thinking about you..


The above quote is from my video post below. The video is a little letter from me to you today. 

video URL: http://vimeo.com/53613292

In the video, I read the poem "For strong women" by Marge Piercy (from The Moon Is Always Female, you can read the poem here).

Thank you for being out there sharing your light, your stories, your you.ness.


PS The poem has a couple of words that might not be okay for little ears.