January 20, 2006

Friday Poetry Blogging

Recently, I’ve talked about how Fridays are going to be poetry day in my classroom this semester, and readers have suggested that Friday Poetry Blogging could be yet another Friday meme for this blogging community. (We just love Friday memes, don't we?) Mona has many times posted original poetry on Friday, Bitty has already jumped in with a Ray Carver poem, Sarah Sometimes says she thinks it’s a good idea, DaniGirl says she can be persuaded to play along, and Arete recently posted a poem by one of my favorite poets, Joy Harjo.

The idea is to post a poem you like -- or a poem you've written.

Today I am posting the poem I use on the first day of class. We read this poem and talk about what the poem says about community – and then talk about what kind of community we want in the classroom. Joy Harjo talks about the kind of community that forms around the kitchen table – I wonder sometimes what kind of community we are forming as we pull up to our computers and meet in cyberspace.


The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to live.

The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table. So it has been since creation, and it will go on.

We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teeth at the corners. They scrape their knees under it.

It is here that children are given instructions on what it means to be human. We make men at it, we make women.

At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts of lovers.

Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms around our children. They laugh with us at our poor falling-down selves and as we put ourselves back together once again at the table.

This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella in the sun.

Wars have begun and ended at this table. It is a place to hide in the shadow of terror. A place to celebrate the terrible victory.

We have given birth on this table, and have prepared our parents for burial here.

At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow. We pray of suffering and remorse. We give thanks.

Perhaps the world will end here at the kitchen table, while we are laughing and crying, eating of the last sweet bite.

from The Woman Who Fell From The Sky
by Joy Harjo


Bad Alice said...

Oh, it has been ages since I've read any Joy Hargo. I got to see her with Poetic Justice once--really great. This inspired me to investigate her current projects and I found out she has a weblog: http://www.joyharjo.com/news/

Anonymous said...

I much prefer this to continuing to reveal the sad uncoolness of my music collection. Yay!

Miranda said...

I've loved that poem for quite awhile. Can I join in too?

Anonymous said...

You know how much I love that poem.

Bitty said...

I wonder sometimes what kind of community we are forming as we pull up to our computers and meet in cyberspace.

The many tables in cyberspace offer something for everyone. Some people bond in anger and frustration and even hate, some in hope, others in despair.

More and more the "cold" machines become the conduit for otherwise impossible friendships, something that continues to astonish me.

This table is a particularly nice one.

Rana said...

That poem literally gave me chills. Thank you.

I've posted a Friday poem too in response to your earlier post -- sort of a winter triad.

Anonymous said...

oh. my.

Anonymous said...

Haven't read that poem for ages...thank you. Think I'll do a Saturday morning poetry blog.. got me wondering what poem to use.
Great idea and a lovely poem.

listie said...


Thanks; you've inspired me to dig out some of my poetry books so I'll be ready for the next poetry Friday.

lostinthemiddle said...

Rats. I missed it. But, I am so all over it next week. We get to poetry blog all semester, right?

Bardiac said...

I love this idea.

I usually start my poetry classes off with this little gem:

Red sand between my toes;
Summer vacation in outer space.*

Another one I love to teach is "The Pope's Penis" by Sharon Olds. My students squirm a LOT on that one, though.

*That's "A Martian Haiku" by Robin Williams. Very fun to play with for imagery and stuff with new folks.

So many poems, so little time!

Sarah Sometimes said...

See my blog for scanned JPGs of my favorite Frank O'Hara poem. Kind of lame, because it's hard to read the scans. Next week I'll be better prepared, I promise.

Anonymous said...

I ran a poetry listserve for years, and I'm slowly archiving all the poems I sent out at poetryblues. I'll have to get started again now that we have an official poetry Friday!

jackie said...

oooh, I want to do it too! I just finished reading the "best american poems 2005" and there were some really great ones in there. make sure to remind us again next week, for the scatterbrained among us!

DaniGirl said...

I'm a poetry newbie, for the most part, but (as the old cliche goes) I know what I like and I like what you posted!

Oh the pressure - at least I have a week to find something worth posting...

Anonymous said...

I will definitely do this. Friday Poetry Blogging it is!

Jennifer Garrison Brownell said...

What a great poem. I'm all over this idea, too. I'm already plotting what will be up next Friday over at my place. Thanks as always!

Anonymous said...

I think I'll post a poem on my course blog this semester. Thanks for the idea. And Bardiac--let them squirm. ; )

Anonymous said...

I like this idea too!