I just finished a slim, posthumous book of Adam Zagajewski’s poems. This little poem seems to me to capture exactly how it feels to long to write when you can’t:


We always forget what poetry is
(or maybe it happens only to me).
Poetry is a wind blowing from the gods, says
Cioran, citing the Aztecs.

But there are so many quiet, windless days.
The gods are napping then
or they’re preparing tax forms
for even loftier gods.

Oh may that wind return.
The wind blowing from the gods
let it come back, let that wind

from The Life
translated by Clare Cavanagh

Raymond Carver

It’s rare that a writer can work well in both prose and poetry. Raymond Carver, best known for his short stories, has also written some intriguing short poems. Here’s one:

Sunday Night

Make use of the things around you.
This light rain
outside the window, for one.
This cigarette between my fingers,
these feet on the couch.
The faint sound of rock-and-roll,
the red Ferrari in my head.
The woman bumping
drunkenly around in the kitchen . . .
put it all in,
make use.

Raymond Carver


My high school had an ancient Dutch Elm on a hillside that was the logo of the school, so the blight that hit the elms was devastating, not just for itself, but for the school’s identity. The school recovered, of course, though the elm did not. So the title caught my attention when I saw Valencia Robin’s poem. But the quality of the poem was what made me post it here–it’s turn from and return to the absence of trees so imbued with sadness:

Valencia Robin
first printed in the New York Times and later iin Poetry Daily





One of the deep pleasures of this blog is discovering poets I hadn’t encountered before whose work dazzles me. Today it’s Megan Nichols, whose poem I first read in Poetry Daily. My mother, a psychoanalyst, was a thoughtful interpreter of dreams. It was her forté–she could ask the right questions to eke out the often confusing meaning. So I found this poem especially vivid and moving as it cascades to the action of the ending.

Interpreting Dreams

If everyone in the dream is you
(and everyone in the dream is you)
then when you stand naked in the classroom,
you are the classmates, the teacher, and the flesh.
And when your mother drowns you in the tub
you are the mother, the child, and the bathwater.
And when all your teeth fall out at once, think
of yourself as not just the Chiclets clattering
to the tile, not just the empty mouth gaping, gums
softening like frozen yogurt melt. No, think
of yourself as the fall too, not the thing that will fall,
or the thing that has fallen, not the force behind
the falling, nor the thing that falls. You are the verb,
the act of, the motion as it moves.

Megan Nichols

from Threepenny Review