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Poems read Jan-Mar 2021

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Exuberance and enthusiasm

Kay Redfield Jamison defines “exuberance”:

“Exuberance,” derived from the Latin exuberanceex, “out of,” + uberare, “to be fruitful, to be abundant”—is at its core a concept of fertility.  Exuberance in nature is defined by lush, profuse, riotous growth; it is an overflowing, opulent, and copious abundance…A fruitful outcome of an alchemy experiment, for instance, was characterized as “exuberated earth” in 1471, according to the Oxford English Dictionary

Kay Redfield Jamison. Exuberance: The Passion for Life. New York: Vintage Books, 2004. p. 24.

“Enthusiasm” is different. Instead of fertility and abundance, it’s about finding some inspiration, sublime grandeur, or joy within.

The Greeks understood the mysterious power of the hidden side of things. They bequeathed to us one of the most beautiful words in our language—the word ‘enthusiasm’—en theos—a god within. The grandeur of human actions is measured by the inspiration from which they spring. Happy is he who bears a god within, and who obeys it.

Kay Redfield Jamison. Exuberance: The Passion for Life. New York: Vintage Books, 2004. p. 5.

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Not whether it can be reversed, but how it will resolve

A handwritten paragraph from my notes, circa 2000 when I was about 20 years old, rediscovered in 2020.

Nothing is irreversible. True, there is no rewind button to undo the things we ought’nt to have done—but once they are done, we can handle them in a number of different ways. Nothing stays the same for any length of time. It is always changing. So it is not a question of whether it can be ‘reversed’ but how it will resolve itself next week, next lifetime, or in an eon.

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Poems read April-June 2020

These poems made their way across my Twitter feed. I am grateful to all the people–poets, translators, and sharers–who caused them to appear.

Chris Abani, [“This is not a lamentation, damn it.”] in Santificum
Hanif Abdurraqib, “Lights Out Tonight, Trouble In the Heartland”
Kim Addonizio, “Knowledge”
Ayobami Adesina, “absence”, in Memento
Anna Akhmatova, “Everything is Plundered”
Anne-Marie Albiach, “Such Sweetness,” trans. Anthony Barnett
John Ashbery, “Wet Casements”, “Of Linnets and Dull Time”, “Composition”, “This Room”, “Girls on the Run”
Mary Jo Bang, “The Cruel Wheel Turns Twice”
Frank Bidart, “For an Unwritten Opera”
Caroline Bird, “A Surreal Joke”
Eavan Boland, “Tree of Life”, “Atlantis–A Lost Sonnet”
John Brehm, “Opening,” in Inland Empire
Adam Clay, “Only Child,” in To Make Room for the Sea
Wanda Coleman, “Red Squall”
Katie Condon, “Origin,” in Praying Naked
Eduardo C. Corral, “To Francisco X. Alarcón (1954-2016)”
H.D., “The Walls Do Not Fall”
Tadeusz Dąbrowski, “Redshift,” trans. Antonia Lloyd-Jones
Meg Day, [“Make me a bird, Lord”]
Natalie Diaz, “Grief Work,” in Postcolonial Love Poem
Chelsea Dingman, “In America”; “How a Woman Uses the Wind,” in Through a Small Ghost
Tarfia Faizullah, “The Distance Between Fire and Stone”
Ariel Francisco, “The Sea Can Stand Anything—I Can’t,” in A Sinking Ship Is Still a Ship, and “Meditation on Patience”
Ross Gay, “Sorrow is Not My Name”
Jack Gilbert, “The Abandoned Valley,” “The Great Fires”
Allen Ginsberg, “America”
Louise Glück, “March”
Andrew Grace, “Do You Consider Writing to be Therapeutic?”
Paul Guest, “My Mock-Scale Dream”
Hilda Hilst, “XXXII,” translated by Laura Cesarce Eglin
Jane Hirshfield, “Like Others
Joanna Klink, “Some feel rain”
Randall Jarrell, “What’s the Riddle…”
Laura Jensen, “Tapwater”
June Jordan, [“There is no chance we will fall apart”]
Bob Kaufman, “I Have Folded My Sorrows”
Suji Kwock Kim, [“You must not grieve that the world…”]
Kim Kyung Ju, “Let Me In,” trans. Jake Levine
Philip Larkin, “Days”
Robin Coste Lewis, “Summer”
Ada Limón, “The End of Poetry”
Jayanta Mahapatra, “After the Death of a Friend”
Rachel McKinley, “Still”
Milosz, “Meaning”
Ben Mirov, “Monkey Heart,” in Hider Roser
Laura Moriarty, [“So then as I say I begin again…”]
Lisel Mueller, “There Are Mornings”
John Murillo, [“To preach forgiveness…”] in Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry
Hieu Minh Nguyen, “Heavy”
Frank O’Hara, “Adieu to Norman, Bon Jour to Joan and Jean-Paul
Bruno K Öijer, “[we were the last / to leave every party]” (trans. Öijer/Häggblom)
Sharon Olds, “True Love”
Lisa Olstein, “My Only Life”
Jill Osier, “The Steps in the Snow Lead Around and Around a Place Called Want,” in The Solace is Not the Lullaby
Kiki Petrosino, “Crossing”
Stanley Plumly, “At Night”
Samih Al-Qasim, “Tickets” trans. by Nazih Kassis
Pierre Reverdy, “Memory,” trans. Kenneth Rexroth
Rainer Maria Rilke, “Ich will ihn preisen. Wie vor einem Heere”
Mary Ruefle, “Genesis”
Kay Ryan, “Bitter Pill”
Umberto Saba, “Dawn,” “The Broken Window” (both were trans. George Hochfield & Leonard Nathan)
Steve Scafidi, “Ferocious Ode”
Caitlin Scarano, “How do I know when I have the truth about myself?” in The Hatchet and the Hammer
Anne Sexton, “Just Once”
Jo Shapcott, “Myself Photographed”
Brenda Shaughnessy, “All Possible Pain”
Izumi Shikibu, “[The way I must enter]”, “[Even if I now saw you]” (trans. Jane Hirshfield and Mariko Aratani)
Adeeba Shahid Talukder, “The first three weeks of war”
Marisa Silva-Dunbar, “Americana”
Bruce Smith, “Devotion: Red Roof Inn”
Tracy K. Smith, [“Maybe desire is nothing but memory”]
Molly Spencer, “Elegy with Edge Effects,” in If the House
Mark Strand, “[even this late it happens]”
Mathias Svalina, “Wastoid,” in Wastoid
John Allen Taylor, “On the Anniversary of a Failed Suicide”
Genya Turovskaya, “The World is Not the World”
M.A. Vizsolyi, “[when i’m done what i have to do is]”
Richard Wilbur, “Juggler
Franz Wright, “[The long silences need to be loved]”
James Wright, “Hell
Dean Young, “Zero Hour”, and “Reality” in Solar Perplexus
Lu Yu, “Night Thoughts,” trans. Rexroth

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How to “loan” a Kindle book

Some titles for Amazon Kindle have “Lending” enabled. The product page for each title indicates whether this option is offered. When the owner of a Kindle book offers a book as a loan, the recipient will have 7 days to “accept” the loan. Upon accepting it, they’ll have 14 days to read the loaned book. At the end of those 14 days, the rights to the Kindle book automatically revert back to the original owner, and the owner can’t loan out that particular title again.


Create a URL that looks like this:

Replace “B07T3WCYQC” with the ASIN of the book you’d like to lend. The ASIN can be found on the book’s Amazon product page and usually also in the URL of the Amazon product page.

If you don’t own the book corresponding to that ASIN or if the title can’t be loaned, the URL will redirect to the book’s product page. If it’s available for you to loan, however, the URL will bring you to a page that allows you to enter an email address for your recipient.


If you’d rather navigate the Amazon site to find the lending page “organically,” here’s instructions and screenshots.

Once you’ve bought a Kindle book, go to “Account & Lists” -> “Your Content and Devices.” You’ll see a list of all your purchased books. Find the title you want to loan. Click the square button next to it. Click the link “Loan this title.” (The link isn’t offered when the title can’t be loaned.) You’ll be taken to a page where you need to input your recipient’s email address. You can add a personal note.

For each book title, under “Product details,” there’s a field called “Lending.” It will say either “Enabled” or “Not Enabled.”
When you are logged in, use Amazon’s main menu to click “Account & Lists” and then “Your Content and Devices.”
Next to each of your purchased book titles, there’s a square button with a three-dot icon. Click that. It will pop up a box with more information and options. If “lending” is enabled for the title, there will be an option to select “Loan this title.”
You will need to provide your recipient’s email address.