Category Archive: Poetry

February 5, 2018

Requirements for Poets

Category: Literature,Poetry :: Link :: Print

Sister M. Madeleva [Wolff], poet and college president, writes:

Sometimes students ask what books are best to read as helps to writing. With no hesitation at all, I say, “The Bible, the Oxford Dictionary, seed catalogues.” This is spoken in parable. Here are the words of God, of man, of nature.

What preparation best enables one to be a poet? The Sixth Beatitude, I think, “Blessed are the clean of heart for they shall see God.” (My First Seventy Years, p. 148).

Posted by John Barach @ 12:59 pm | Discuss (0)
May 2, 2016

Ruth Pitter on Poetry

Category: Literature,Poetry :: Link :: Print

This astonishing gift of special seeing is quite common among children. To this extent perhaps most children are poets. As we grow up it is generally lost. I can remember so well, from earliest childhood, seeing something in the light on a hill, or in the shape of a flower, or in a human face (perhaps a very plain face) which seemed absolutely heavenly. It was so strong a feeling that I felt I must tell the world about it or burst. Ordinary description was no use; poetry it had to be. — Ruth Pitter.

Posted by John Barach @ 2:56 pm | Discuss (0)
August 30, 2013

Seamus Heaney (April 13, 1939 — August 30, 2013)

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In honor of the great Irish poet Seamus Heaney, who passed away today, here is one of his early poems.   It was one of the first of his that I read and it’s still one of my favorites.


Late August, given heavy rain and sun
For a full week, the blackberries would ripen.
At first, just one, a glossy purple clot
Among others, red, green, hard as a knot.
You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet
Like thickened wine: summer’s blood was in it
Leaving stains upon the tongue and lust for
Picking. Then red ones inked up and that hunger
Sent us out with milk cans, pea tins, jam-pots
Where briars scratched and wet grass bleached our boots.
Round hayfields, cornfields and potato-drills
We trekked and picked until the cans were full
Until the tinkling bottom had been covered
With green ones, and on top big dark blobs burned
Like a plate of eyes. Our hands were peppered
With thorn pricks, our palms sticky as Bluebeard’s.
We hoarded the fresh berries in the byre.
But when the bath was filled we found a fur,
A rat-grey fungus, glutting on our cache.
The juice was stinking too. Once off the bush
The fruit fermented, the sweet flesh would turn sour.
I always felt like crying. It wasn’t fair
That all the lovely canfuls smelt of rot.
Each year I hoped they’d keep, knew they would not.

Posted by John Barach @ 12:23 pm | Discuss (0)
December 1, 2004

“Saturday Morning”

Category: Literature,Poetry :: Link :: Print

I’m not at all familiar with this poet, but as I was glancing through some back issues of Christianity and Literature the other day, I came across Penney Oedel’s “Saturday Morning” and thought you might enjoy it, too.

Posted by John Barach @ 3:56 pm | Discuss (0)
July 13, 2004


Category: Literature,Poetry :: Link :: Print

The latest issue of The Atlantic contains this beautiful poem: “Gift” by Brooks Haxton. (Thanks to Gideon for the link!)

Posted by John Barach @ 6:22 pm | Discuss (0)
April 30, 2004


Category: Literature,Poetry :: Link :: Print

The latest issue of the Valparaiso Poetry Review contains “Coverings,” a poem by Doug Jones.

Posted by John Barach @ 10:49 pm | Discuss (0)