Poetry Class: What’s your all time favorite poems

The teacher of the poetry class I am enrolled in asked the class what are our all time favorite poems. I was surprised my my selections.

As I child I remember listening to my grandfather reciting an excerpt from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “Hiawatha” (Part I, Chapter 3). So, I chose that as an all time favorite.

In school, I memorized several poems that have become my favorites as well. They include:

  • Walt Whitman’s “O Captain! My Captain!”
  • Rudyard Kipling’s “If”
  • Edward Rowland Sill’s “Opportunity”
  • Thomas Hood’s “I Remember, I Remember”

Other poems I’ve found along the way include:

  • Carl Sandburg’s “Grass”
  • Sergeant Joyce Kilmer’s “Trees”
  • W.B. Yeats’ “The Lake Isle Of Innisfree”
  • Robert Pinksy’s “Samurai Song”

The list I sent to the class instructor is not final nor reflective of poets who have influenced me. I tend to enjoy a complete work rather than an individual poem. If I was asked what three books of poetry have influenced my own work, it would be more representative of the direction my poetic work is moving. Still, it is interesting to learn which individual poems became the foundation of my journey into poetry.

Presidential Campaign Typeface

Optima vs. Gotham

The Obama camp chose Gotham. Conceptually this chose could be a bad move (i.e. think of a future dystopian America or simply think of the south side of Chicago). Gotham is a fairly new typeface designed my Tobias Frere-Jones who was inspired by mid 20th-century architectural signage. This could swing two ways; 1) Obama could be considered as too trendy, new, inexperienced and 2) Obama could be considered as recycled material from the 1950s rather than a truly progressive. Gotham is classified as a geometric due to its lineal monoline circles and rectangles providing a modern feel. This could be a challenge for Obama if he’s trying to secure the parties base which started voting in the 1950’s.

The McCain camp chose Optima. Conceptually this chose could be a good move (i.e. think optimistic or Optimus Prime). Interestingly, Optima was designed by Hermann Zapf as one of the first digital typefaces for desktop publishing in the 1950s. This could date McCain as a dinosaur or cast him as a futurist. Further, Optima is classified as a humanist typeface due to its calligraphic elements. This could be a bad thing for McCain if he’s trying to secure the Christian vote.

(Other font thoughts from Steven Heller here).

Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people.

Eleanor Roosevelt (via hrrrthrrr)

What magazines do you receive?

Deborah of 32 poems magazine wants to know:

I’m getting Cimarron Review, Bloomsbury Review, Ninth Letter, Virginia Quarterly Review, The New Yorker and some others. The New Yorker hardly needs my support, but there you go. I am morally opposed to The Atlantic, because they do not publish enough poetry. The amount of poetry they publish withered to nearly nothing the last time I checked. That’s about the time I decided to subscribe only to magazines that offered a large poetry presence. You could easily tell me how few poems The New Yorker publishes. Well, The New Yorker is The New Yorker. The prose is also good.

Some other magazines that invite my interest include Southwest Review, Barn Owl Review, and Pebble Lake Review to name a few. I’m only including magazines one can subscribe to, so that leaves out many excellent online magazines.

What magazines do you like?

American Poetry Review, Poetry, Poets & Writers and Small Press Review.

Magazines I used to subscriber to, but had to cancel due to lack of funds: Entrepreneur, Fast Company, Main Street Rag, New York Review of Books, Paste, Salamander and Slipstream.

Unwritten Poetry Rules

Deborah’s unwritten poetry rules are now written.

And Mary’s rules.

And Diane’s rules

Being a Digital Nomad used to mean either a traveling salesperson or perhaps the occasional work-at-home employee. Today, it means all of the above but it adds a caveat that includes capitalizing on connectivity and opportunity regardless of your location. Read more…

The Rise of the Digital Nomad

1. Add up all the money you spent on poetry contests. Does that amount make you dizzy, cringe, squirm, feel flush or consider kicking a small domesticated animal?2. Have you spent more money on poetry contests than on contemporary poetry books and periodicals? Read more…

Take the “Are Poetry Contests Killing Your Soul?” Quiz

Problematic literary contests?

From Poetry Hut Blog:

One of the editors of Cider Press — Robert Wynne — has responded to (what appears to be) unethical behavior regarding their Cider Press Review Book Award. And Stacey Lynn Brown’s rebuttal. (I’ve read that Pavement Saw Press’ contest has been problematic. And did you know that there was no winner chosen this year for the Cave Canem Poetry Prize?)


Poet Billy Collins sells out

“[Billy] Collins, the former U.S. poet laureate, is the keynote speaker for the Decatur Book Festival Friday night at Agnes Scott College. Word from the festival organizers is that all of the free tickets have been given out…” Link

Poets & Writers magazine explains why in the recent issue:

“What makes Billy Collins one of America’s best-known (and best-selling) poets? Perhaps it’s his attention to what matters most — his audience.”