Dead Poets Live
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Dead Poets Live

This is an email from Dead Poets Live , a newsletter by Dead Poets Live.

Audre Lourde Prompt

I hope you are having a good start to the new year.

I’m writing today with a favor — I’m working on a prompt based on the poetry of Audre Lourde. If you’re familiar with her work, would you be up for sharing your favorite poems? You can send to my email:

If you’re a writer and have an idea for a DPL prompt, please let me know. I would love to post more regular updates, but will need some help this year! With prompts, the goal is to introduce great poets of the past and focus on specific aspects of their work that be applied to our writing today. Sometimes its inspiration, sometimes it’s techniques. . .it is always fun to see how you respond in your own poems.

On the homepage of Dead Poets Live, there is now a section of all-time highlights. Below that are the current submissions, listed in chronological order. Also in the menu are links to former prompts and translations (mostly by the talented Joe Váradi).

I assume most of us click on what comes across our Medium feed or emails, but the homepage is a way to make content a bit more sticky. Feel free to visit if you ever need inspiration.


— David

What I’m Reading

When the Light of the World was Subdued is an anthology of North American native nations poetry, some writers dead and many others living. Gorgeous work, highly recommended, but know that the 426 pages is only the tip of the iceberg.

Here are a couple samples:

The Delight Song of Tsoai-Talee
M. Scott Momaday

I am a feather on the bright sky.
I am the blue horse that runs in the plain.
I am the fish that rolls, shining, in the water.
I am the shadow that follows a child.
I am the evening light, the luster of meadows.
I am an eagle playing with the wind.
I am a cluster of bright beads.
I am the farthest star.
I am the cold of dawn.
I am the roaring of the rain.
I am the glitter on the crust of the snow.
I am the long track of the moon in a lake.
I am a flame of four colors.
I am a deer standing away in the dusk.
I am a field of sumac and the pomme blanche.
I am an angle of geese in the winter sky.
I am the hunger of a young wolf.
I am the whole dream of these things.
You see, I am alive, I am alive
I stand in good relation to the earth.
I stand in good relation to the gods.
I stand in good relation to all that is beautiful.
I stand in good relation to the daughter of Tsen-tainte.
You see, I am alive,
I am alive.

Hard Times
Karene Woods

A woman sits on a porch of weathered boards,
her skin the color and texture of the dried-apple dolls
that grandmothers gave to children years ago.
When asked about the past, she will not speak.
They were hard times.

Maybe she sits on the parched earth instead,
looks toward fields of rice, cotton, sugarcane, tobacco.
Maybe she wears a printed housedress or sarong
with hair covered or plaited, her face etched
in memories of joy snatched from her
in daylight and auctioned to strangers.

Her hands have scrubbed cities of floors,
washed the nameless dead,
cooked food for armies, so little of it
hers; hands that failed to protect her or any of her children.
She believes that if she speaks, she might break apart,
the dust of her flying across stooped men
chained by their debt to the fields.
She presses both lips together,
an effort to hold her own grief in her skin.

Maybe evening wears into night.
The stars that connect us
gather like sisters around her. We hear,
They were hard times,
across the continuous land of our women, until as sun
rises above the droning flies and the garrulous chickens,
a voice speaks in our old language, which we do not know.
We sift through a history with dust on our hands,
the empty rocker creaking in the breeze.



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