Friday, March 18, 2011

Hosting Friday Poetry: Between Two Souls

Our minds and hearts have been so much focused on Japan and the natural disasters of earthquake and tsunami extended into the nightmare of nuclear reactor fires in the past week. I have been reading the poetry of 19th c. Buddhist monk and poet Ryokan. I have an interesting volume of poetry by both Ryokan and the 21th c. Benedictine monk Mary Lou Kownacki, where she complements his poems with poetry of her own. She spent a couple years meditating on his works and writing poetic responses. She was living in an inner city convent at the time and her poems are vibrant, immediate and gritty, full of sirens and neighborhood children's cries. Ryokan was living in a monk's hut on a mountain in Japan at the time of his writing, and his poems are full of village children's laughter and the immediate rhythms of nature; drizzling rain, plum blossoms, cold nights, lonely crickets and thin porridge. The call and response between the voices across centuries, faith traditions and continents is startling. One of my favorite pairs:

The plants and flowers
I raised about my hut
I now surrender
to the will
of the wind.


The tulips and daffodils
I planted in my front yard
I now surrender
To the mercy
Of neighborhood children.

-Mary Lou Kownacki
crocus group

These poems seem especially poignant to me now, when I am praying for an East wind to blow across Sendai to disperse contaminants, and at this time of year when there are crocuses bursting out of the mud just when hoards of children rampage through my backyard leaping like spring colts from the stalls.

partly sunny

Look for the book Between Two Souls; Conversations with Ryokan by Mary Lou Kownacki for more of that thought-provoking loveliness.

Don't miss the Kidlit4Japan auction organized by Greg R. Fishbone, starting today. Authors, illustrators and other Children's Literature people are donating items and services with all proceeds going to benefit the victims of the recent tragedies in Japan. More ways to help Japan are listed at the Paper Tigers blog, including a New Sun rising writer's anthology you can submit too and several other auctions done by artists, authors, and editors in the book world. great opportunities to get involved there! If you know of other events being organized leave me a comment and I will add links and info here.

And now, on with the show! The Friday Poetry round up is right here today! Leave your name (with the author or title of your poetry post) and the direct URL to your Friday Poetry post. Be sure to come back later and visit around the other blogs linked here to enjoy poetry all weekend!

1.Gregory K. - 60 poems/2 links18.The Poem Farm (Book Relatives)35.Rasco from RIF (My Taxi Ride)
2.Tabatha (Li- Young Lee)19.Irene Latham (poem attributed to Mark Twain)36.Katie @ Secrets and Sharing Soda
3.Mary Lee (Pied Beauty)20.Karen Edmisten (Marianne Moore) 37.Charles Ghigna
4.Ruth (Musee des Beaux Arts)21.100 Scope Notes (Book Spine Poem: The Mix- Up)38.Jennie from Biblio File (The Dreamer)
5.Debbie Diller (How to Talk to Your Snowman)22.jone (sneak peek)39.Tara (A Cynthia Rylant poem)
6.The Stenhouse Blog (Poison Ivy)23.david e (mooncatching)40.Kelly Fineman (Wordsworth - Daffodils)
7.Sara Lewis Holmes (Teaching the Girls)24.Blythe Woolston (A revision lesson from Edward Lear)41.Nicole Marie Schreiber ("A Prayer in Spring"
8.KK's Kwotes (X.J. Kennedy quote) 25.Dori Reads (Poems About Fire)42.Theresa
9.Kurious Kitty (Knock at a Star) 26.Wild Rose Reader (Early Drafts of Two End- of- Winter Poems)43.Brenda (Proseand Kahn)
10.Diane Mayr (Sidewalk poems)27.Books Dogs and Frogs (Snack Smasher)44.Picture Book of the Day (It's Time to Sleep, My Love)
11.jama (three basho haiku)28.Sylvia (Poetry Tag eBook)45.Judy@ Learning (Dirge Without Music)
12.Barbara29.Mother Reader (Dazzling Display of Dogs)46.Carol
13.Sally (Paper Tigers) - call for poems for Japan anthology fundraiser30.Blue Rose Girls (Things to Do If You Are the Ocean: An Original List Poem)47.Beth (Library Chicken) Working Words
14.Sally Thomas@ Castle In the Sea (Diaries of Barbara Pym Edition)31.Political Verses (Scott and Dot: A Feminist Nursery Rhyme by J. Patrick Lewis)48.Jane Buttery
15.Pentimento32.Carlie (an original poem )49.You're next!
16.Emily Jiang33.Barbara Etlin  
17.Heidi Mordhorst (Life in Me Like Grass on Fire)34.Janet Squires  


Tabatha said...

Hi Andi,

What a fabulous book! Can't wait to read it.

I heard of another auction for Japan:
It has books by Kristin Cashore on it.
BTW, your link didn't work until I took out part of it. Try it and you'll see what I mean.
Have a great weekend!

Mary Lee said...

A praise song is almost a lament, and definitely sung in a minor key, in light of the past week's events. But Hopkins reminds us to praise the whole lot of our world, "whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)"

Praise be for Friday, and for poetry, and for healing.

Thanks for hosting. Great poems. (I can relate -- kids have been picking the crocuses in the land lab at school during recess!) Interesting concept for the book.

Ruth said...

I'm thinking about Japan too - here's mine.

Thanks for hosting.

Sara said...

Thanks for hosting, Andi. And wow, that sounds like an awesome book. One of the things I've always loved about literature is the way it allows you to have a conversation with people long gone, and those not yet born. But to actually write poems in response to each poem--- I may have to take that up as a Poetry Month project!

I'm in today with a poem from a local poet who has a new book coming out. It's a boxing poem: Teaching the Girls.

Andromeda Jazmon said...

Thanks for helping me with the link Tabatha. I didn't see the auction you mention though. Can you share more about it?

jama said...

Love the idea of conversations across centuries. Thanks for featuring Between Two Souls -- sounds like a beautiful book!

I had Japan on my mind today, too, with Basho haiku.

Thanks for hosting, Andi!

Sally Thomas said...

Whoops, I'm in actually with a poem by Donald Davie, not anything to do with Barbara Pym! That's a leftover from a Seven Quick Takes post I did months ago, for another blog entirely, that the linky form obviously remembered! (So, Barbara Pym fans, you're out of luck today).

Thanks so much for hosting -- beautiful poem and daffodils!

Marjorie said...

Thanks, Andi, for your choice of poems today. laughing children and flowers are exactly what we need to be reminded of. OUr thoughts are very much on Japan at the moment too - and I've just posted the link to Sally's PF post with a call for poets to contribute to an anthology for Japan.

I posted earlier in the week about some other auctions that are going on... but I hadn't seen the Kidlit one so thatnks for letting us know about that too.

Emily Jiang said...

Thanks for hosting and pointing us towards what we can do to help Japan! Also, the poems posted are a lovely reminder of how past works can still be in dialogue with living artists. Very inspiring.

Karen E. said...

Thanks for hosting today, Andi. Beautiful pairing of poems -- the book sounds really interesting.

I'm in today with Marianne Moore, my husband's pick this week.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for hosting! At 100 Scope Notes I have a book spine poem:

Jone said...

I love what you have posted this this week. My heart is heavy yet prayful that relief will find Japan

david elzey said...

love the comparison between the two surrenders. an interesting juxtaposition between "will" and "mercy."

though i was thinking about how the moon is going to be huge this week, and happy for news other than the recent tragedies, the poem i'm posting this week comes from an old japanese zen koan.

Blythe Woolston said...

I appreciate you thoughtful post about Japan.

Elaine Magliaro said...


What an interesting post! I'm going to have to get a copy of that book. BTW, my daughter attended Saint Anselm, a Benedictine college in New Hampshire.

I hope the weather where you live is as beautiful as it is here where I live. We finally have a taste of spring!

Enjoy your weekend!

Sylvia Vardell said...

What a beautiful post-- in both words and images. I just took homegrown tulips to my Mom in the hospital, so this is especially meaningful. Thanks!

MotherReader said...

MotherReader has A Dazzling Display of Dogs! A review of the book, I mean, not like an actual display of dogs which would be just silly. ;^)

Thanks for hosting!

boreal-owl said...

Hi, Andi.

Thanks for your lovely, thoughtful post and for hosting Poetry Friday.


Janet S. said...

Thanks for hosting.
To celebrate Women in History Month, I've selected "Vherses: a celebration of outstanding women" written by J. Patrick Lewis and illustrated by Mark Summers.

Janet S. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Toby Speed said...

Andi, I love your your thoughtful review of the poetry book and the idea of a conversation in poetry across the centuries. And your crocuses are refreshing. So nice that spring is finally here!

Wishing everyone a happy Poetry Friday and a lovely weekend.

kellyrfineman said...

Sounds like a fabulous book, Andi. Thanks for hosting - I'm in today with Wordsworth's "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud", in honor of some daffodils I saw this morning!

Looking for the Write Words said...

Hi Andromeda and fellow poetry lovers,
Sadly I haven't participated for several Fridays, but am always inspired by this community. Looking forward to bringing more poetry in to the classroom especially for Poetry Month.
Thanks. ~Theresa

Carol said...

Better late than never, right? Wanted all my poetry loving friends to know that the featured topic of the April edition of Oprah magazine is poetry. There's a terrific interview of Mary Oliver and lots of other good stuff too!

tmsteach said...

Thanks for sharing these, especially at this moment when Japan is so much in our thoughts.h

Robyn Hood Black said...

Thank you for hosting and for sharing such a beautiful, meaningful post.