I want to, perhaps, converse,
Sit down in a bookstore and discuss
Laban Hill, Shakespeare, mull over a warm brew.

~M.D. Brauer

In honor of National Poetry Month, let me introduce you to a favorite poet and friend, Marvin Brauer. You can read the rest of this poem and many more just as beautiful, over at his blog, M.D. Brauer M.D.

(Thanks to Bradley Sepos for the wonderful image.)

To honor National Poetry Month, Knopf will send a poem to your mailbox every weekday for free, if you add your name to their list. Poets featured will be favorites like Sharon Olds, Langston Hughes, and W. H. Auden. Some will even feature audio clips.

Sounds like a great deal to me. Sign up here.

(Thanks to Piotr Lewandowski for the image.)

636896_twirlingYou don’t know how many times I have tried to post this poem here. Once a year, I guess, since I started this blog. But just look at this snippet:

Start with my toes,

you old Ghost

Spirit the soles of my shoes

and teach me a Pentecostal


See what I mean? Wonderful.

And the thing is, it’s Pentecost today. And this is the best Pentecost poem I ever saw. And I have tried, and tried to find Nancy McCready, its author, so I can get permission to post the whole poem here for you. And I just can’t find her.

So here’s what you do: go to an old page on Andrew Greeley’s site here (yes, I’ve tried to reach him, too), and run a word search for “boogaloo.” That should take you right to it. Read it, and let it lighten your step.

The rest of the page is worth your time too, by the way.

May your Pentecost Sunday be lovely and joyous.

Nancy McCready where are you???

(Thanks to galofgray for the fabulous picture.)

“It will come, one day, like rain to
the desert,
God will bring justice, but for those
he catches unawares
they will dance and burn and die in
the desert sun. This I believe.”

My friend Marvin Brauer is the sort who can unravel a tense moment with an unexpected joke that makes you limp with laughter. He’s even better with the lighter moments.

And he’s quite a wonderful poet. This particular verse was inspired by the title of my novel, To Dance in the Desert.

You can read the rest of this poem, and many others, on his blog, M.D. Brauer M.D.

(Thanks to disforia for the image.)

“The meaning of poetry is to give courage. A poem is not a puzzle that you the dutiful reader are obliged to solve. It is meant to poke you, get you to buck up, pay attention, rise and shine, look alive, get a grip, get the picture, pull up your socks, wake up and die right. Poets have many motives for writing (to be published on expensive paper, to show up the others in your M.F.A. program, to flaunt your sensitive nature and thereby impress someone who might then go to bed with you, to win valuable prizes and fellowships and maybe a year in Rome or Provence, to have a plausable excuse for making a mess of your life), but what really matters about poetry and what distiguishes poets from, say, fashion models, or ad salesmen is the miracle of incantation in rendering the gravity and grace and beauty of the ordinary world and thereby lending courage to strangers.”

That’s from Garrison Keillor’s wonderful introduction to Good Poems for Hard Times. That introduction alone is worth the price of the book, which is filled with poems like the ones he chooses for his broadcast, The Writer’s Almanac.

Have I told you about this broadcast? It’s a five minute, midwest college, liberal arts education done up in a voice that can lower your blood pressure and clarify your values. If you don’t get it on the radio, you can catch it on the website, or find it on iTunes and take it with you. Listen in every day, in the morning if you can.

(Thanks to jefras for the image.)

The cat went here and there
And the moon spun round like a top,
And the nearest kin of the moon,
The creeping cat, looked up.
Black Minnaloushe stared at the moon,
For, wander and wail as he would,
The pure cold light in the sky
Troubled his animal blood.
Minnaloushe runs in the grass
Lifting his delicate feet.

Do you dance, Minnaloushe, do you dance?
When two close kindred meet,
What better than call a dance?
Maybe the moon may learn,
Tired of that courtly fashion,
A new dance turn.

Minnaloushe creeps through the grass
From moonlit place to place,
The sacred moon overhead
Has taken a new phase.
Does Minnaloushe know that his pupils
Will pass from change to change,
And that from round to crescent,
From crescent to round they range?
Minnaloushe creeps through the grass
Alone, important and wise,
And lifts to the changing moon
His changing eyes.

Mary DeMuth wrote a wonderful poem entitled Abundance, and you can read it here.

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