Poetry Spotlight: The Selected Poems of Donald Hall


Donald Hall was the Poet Laureate of the United States from 2006-2007. The following selection is from “An Airstrip in Essex, 1960”.

It is a lost road into the air

It is a desert

among sugar beets.

The tiny wings

of the Spitfires of nineteen forty-one

sink under mud in the Channel.


Near the road a brick pillbox

totters under a load of grass,

where Home Guards waited

in the white fogs of the invasion winter.


Good night, old ruined war.


In Poland the wind rides on a jagged wall.

Smoke rises from the stones; no, it is mist.


Poetry Spotlight: On the Bus With Rosa Parks by Rita Dove

51D3D8IlU+L._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_Rita Dove has released 10 volumes of poetry. This selection is from the poem “The Musician Talks About Process”

When I go into Philly

on a Saturday night,

I don’t need nothing but

my spoons and the music.

Laid out on my knees

they look so quiet,

but when I pick them up

I can play to anything:

a dripping faucet,

a tambourine,

fish shining in a creek.

Poetry Spotlight: Galaxy Love by Gerald Stern


This selection is taken from the poem “Orson”

Orson Welles has been my philosopher

for the last few weeks now and if he’s just a

phenomenon and doesn’t really have a system

as Spinoza did or Anaxagorus, he

at least is consistent even if some of the things

he talks about are immensely unimportant

except to actors maybe or gossipmongers.

Poetry Spotlight: Hard Love Province by Marilyn Chin

Hard Love Province 9_10.indd

Marilyn Chin is a Chinese American poet. Wiki tells me this is her fourth collection of poetry.



Black President

If a black man could be president

Could a white man be his slave?

Could a sinner enter heaven

By uttering his name?


If the terminator is my governor

Could a cowboy be my king?

When shall the cavalry enter Deadwood

And save my prince?


An exo-cannibal eats her enemies

Am indo-cannibal eats her friends

I’d rather starve myself silly

Than to make amends


Blood on the altar    Blood on the lamb

Blood on the chalice

Not symbolic    but fresh

Poetry Spotlight: The World Will Follow Joy by Alice Walker

alicewalkerThis is Walker’s 10th volume of poetry, and was published in 2013.


If my sorrow were deeper
I’d be, along with you, under
the ocean’s floor;
but today I learn that the oil
that pools beneath the ocean floor
is essence
of all our
our ancestors who have died and turned to oil
without our witness
eons ago.
We’ve always belonged to them.
Speaking for you, hanging, weeping, over the water’s edge
as well as for myself.
It is our grief
heavy, relentless,
us, however resistant,
to the decaying and rotten
bottom of things:
our grief bringing
us home.

Poetry Spotlight: Watchdog of Baltimore by Hyman Pressman

561981927.0.mThis is exactly the kind of Baltimore ephemera (especially in book form) that I live for. Hyman Pressman was the comptroller of Baltimore from 1963-1991. I don’t have any memories of him since he was before my time but, he seemed like quite the character.

For the purpose of this post, he was a compulsive verse writer. At the drop of a hat he would pen a few lines to commemorate an event, a person, and his sports teams.

Watchdog came out in 1977. Pressman died in 1996 (obit)



Our City Hall is a hundred years old.

They claim the dome was never sold.

With so much hot air, it’s none too soon.

To put it all in a hot-air balloon.