February 17, 2009

Phase One Complete

OK, everyone, Phase One of the Ars Poetica project is now officially complete: every properly submitted poem has now appeared on this website.

Now Phase Two begins: finalizing selections for the print anthology.

In the coming weeks, if you properly submitted poems, you will be receiving an email from us with more details. If you do not hear from us by March 1st, something has gone wrong and you should drop us a line.

Thanks to everyone who submitted!

Posted by dwaber at 01:41 PM

February 06, 2009

Chain Poem

Important! Read carefully!
Do not disregard
this message—It is real.
When you receive this poem,
open your mind.
Write down seven thoughts
expressed as mental pictures.
(These thoughts can be on any subject:
politics and sorrow, love
and sorrow, life and sorrow…)
Do not discard this poem
or terrible things will happen:
Ideas will be abandoned unexpressed,
love will not be spoken,
a concrete image will dissolve in tears.
A man in Alabama received this poem:
within twenty-four hours of reading it,
his blindness had been lifted.
A woman in New Jersey got this poem:
within one week of reading it, she began
a journal which clarified her life.
You, too, can use this poem
to your good fortune. Here is how:
Express an idea concisely and beautifully
as you can. Write a title at the top of the page.
At the bottom, sign your name preceded by
a small, circled “c” and the date.
Read it aloud to five of your best-loved friends.
Wait for results to follow.

—Carol Clark Williams
previously appeared in Grandmother Earth Volume 12,
Encore 1998

Posted by dwaber at 02:31 PM

February 05, 2009

Even through the summer storm

wild geese imagine the moon and
row toward it, writing
lines of poetry.

Against the gothic clouds they sketch
sestinas, every stanza
beginning with the letter “v”.

They search the lightning-punctuated sky
for words that rhyme with
“flight” and “night”.

—Carol Clark Williams
previously published in Mad Poets Review, Vol. 20

Posted by dwaber at 01:44 PM

February 04, 2009

Poetry Lover

Eventually it stalks
the chantry of your mind
with heavy step and a proud face,
sits at your communion table,
fork and knife poised in its hands,
criticizes the elements and their presentation,
becomes the Adversary.

Eventually it demands
both sides of the bed,
total control of the television remote,
dictates what music
you can play on the stereo,
takes over the closet.

Far cry from the day
it knocked timidly
on your half-open door,
knelt at your feet,
waiting to speak. Or fled,
and you eagerly pursued it
down the merciless streets.

—Carol Clark Williams
previously published in Byline Feb.2007

Posted by dwaber at 01:07 PM

February 03, 2009

Writer’s Block
                    To Carolyn Forché

Once at a college lecture, someone asked
how long it took to generate your poetry,
the meditative travelogues
of your soul. You replied,
“Seven years”--The span of time
from inception of the thought
to conception of the poem.

I would ask now, wish I had asked you then:
What did you do in those seven years until the words came
in acceptable rows like schoolchildren with bright faces,
to replace the constant distant ache
tapping at the corners of your mind,
repetitive small echo
of infant ghosts waiting for their medium.

How did you occupy yourself until the poems arrived:
did you stare out windows,
leaning your head against the cold pain,
did you grip your hands one against the other
and wordlessly grieve like a barren woman
praying for children to clothe in crisp white folds,
smooth out their tangles and send into the world?

—Carol Clark Williams
Previously published in Digge’s Choice, Shirazad, PPS Prize Poems

Posted by dwaber at 01:04 PM

February 02, 2009

To Teach You Poetry

if I could,

I would hold out my hands to you.
with every poem that has grasped my mind

tattooed along splayed fingers,
painted in polish on the nails.

Williams’ El Hombre etched beneath my ring,
Millay’s Mariposa on the Mount of Venus,

Henley’s Invictus triding up the lifeline
in large red capitals. The names of poets:

William Stafford inscribed across my knuckles,
Billy Collins circling my wristbone,

Robert Frost and Linda Pastan needled deep
into the suicide vein. And if you would

take my extended hands, the lines of ink
would transfuse from my skin to your arteries,

wash the heart in effervescent waves,
seizing and releasing, widening, coloring,

hammering the thick dark muscle wall
in ancient iambic rhythms.

—Carol Clark Williams
previously appeared in Fledgling Rag, Volume 3

Posted by dwaber at 01:04 PM

February 01, 2009

Writing Prompt

Times when you wake with an ache in the belly
like a barren woman thinking, today
I shall be childless once again.
The heavy thrum of underworld engine falls silent
and crop circles are
just the way the wind blows the wheat.
The shining red Harley rusts
upside down
in the silted creek bed

so you resort to the old
sympathetic magic, the rituals of reaching
for Calliope’s fleeting sandals in the dark:

listen to the mellow jazz saxophone
become part of the painting
journal seven things you really would die for
how you would feel knowing
this is your last moment

this moment
when the longed-for beloved
lightning strikes

immolates the painting,
scorches the pansy bordered journal
pages to ashes
and you struggle
like a man unzipping his

very skin down the center from Chakra to crotch
forehead to knees
his bended knees
and the poem thrusts its bawling bloody head through
the membrane, tears with sharp-nailed
fingers to be born to be borne
will be born will not be
prevented from being
bringing in its soft hands
the significance of everything:

the mite in the mattress, the dance
of dust in a slant of sun,
even the wheat speaking
in circles around the burned and barren ground.

—Carol Clark Williams

Posted by dwaber at 02:10 PM