Friday, December 30, 2011


Santa Claus, sweet soul that he is, brought me just what I wanted for Christmas: a Kindle. (He brought lots of people Kindles...Kindle sales topped 4 million in December.)

Why did I ask for a Kindle? Well. In recent months I've noticed that there are books I want to read that are only available as e-books. Such as Janet Wong and Sylvia Vardell's poetry collections P*TAG, POETRY TAG TIME and GIFT TAG. I downloaded them right away, and by Christmas night, I had consumed them all, more than once.

There is so much to love about these collections. Gorgeous, inspiring photography (that Sylvia has got an eye!), and a wide range of voices and subjects. I loved Janet's explanatory poem about the "Tag" in the title... for more on tagging as an art form, check out the documentary EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP. Fascinating.

I connected with many of the poems in each volume. And I am so grateful to Janet and Sylvia for making great poetry so accessible. And to the participating poets -- especially all you Poetry Friday friends whose lovely work appears in these collections! --for sharing bits of their lives and worlds. (Each poem includes a bit of explanation from the poet, sort of the inside-scoop stuff you hear at poetry readings.) Such a fabulous way to spread the poetry-love. I'm completely inspired. And  there was one poem in particular that stole my heart:  "Cornered" by Steven Withrow (from P*TAG).

Don't know Steven? Change that. Right now. Visit his blog and request the pdf of his collection CRACKLES OF SPEECH. (Two of my faves: "A Few Discrepancies" and "Sea is Sound, Air is a Door Ajar") He's also the founder of Poetry Advocates for Children and Young Adults. If you haven't joined, please do.

And now for the poem, which Steven and Janet and Sylvia all graciously permitted me to reprint here:

by Steven Withrow

I am a closing of ancient walls
No floor, no vaulted ceiling

You are a clasping of grooved stone hands
Intricate intaglios

We are the V in vanishing point
Anointed intersection

You are my shadowy catacomb
I am the crook of your thumb

You are a trap at the end of me
As I am a bend of you

You, most ornate corner of my heart
And I am saved, I am saved

Mmmm. Poetry. love it so much.

An aside: youngest son asked, "Why did you choose that one when there are so many other good ones?"

My answer: "We love what we love. No need to explain or understand it."

Happy New Year, everyone! For more on these e-books, visit the Poetry Tag Time website. Then visit Julie at the Drift Record for Round up.