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Safe Fuel Containers -- Your Link to Seasonal Chores

(StatePoint) People are heading outdoors to prep lawns and gardens for the season and get their families ready for warmer weather. What's the key common denominator for most of these activities?...

 

American Life in Poetry

Deirdre O'Connor is the Director of The Writing Center at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania and the following poem is from her new collection from Able Muse Press, The Cupped Field. I'm sticking my...

 

Imagining a World with Better Faucets and Cleaner Hands

I’m about to break into a chorus of “Happy Birthday” in a public restroom when—oh no! The faucet is one those where you push down the handle instead of turning it. Then the handle, which can’t possibly know how dirty your hands are, decides...

 

American Life In Poetry

Most of the school-age athletes I know or have known would have been embarrassed to show any vulnerability, and this fine poem by Al Ortolani, from his chapbook Hansel and Gretel Get the Word on the Street, published by Rattle, really catches what I...

 

(Not) Working from Home

A lot of us are working from home right now, so I think this is a good time to talk about why we're not getting anything done. I'm an expert on this subject-not getting anything done, I mean. And I...

 

American Life In Poetry

I had to drop out of a philosophy class in college because I'd begun to think about what I was thinking about and I was getting dizzy and sick. Here's a poem by Danusha Laméris about getting relief...

 

American Life In Poetry

How many poets does it take to change a light bulb? Only one. Here's a poem by Jared Carter from his new book, The Land Itself, from Monongahela Press. This is a fine example of how a talented poet...

 

American Life In Poetry

I'm writing this column on a summer day when a hungry crowd of Monarch butterfly caterpillars are eating the upper leaves of the milkweed just outside my door in Nebraska, and my wife and I are joyful...

 

Someday When I'm Social Distancing

I once wrote a column with the prophetic title, "Someday When I'm Quarantined." In it, I vowed that if I were ever unable to leave my home for a few months, I'd finally do all of the things I don't...

 

American Life In Poetry

Jane Hirshfield, who lives in California, is one of our country's finest poets. I found this beautiful meditation in Poetry of Presence: An Anthology of Mindfulness Poems, published by Grayson Books...

 

One Sock, Two Sock, Red Sock, Blue Sock

I have blue socks to wear with blue pants, gray socks to wear with gray pants and black socks to wear with red pants. Kidding. I just wanted to make sure you were paying attention. I was content with...

 

American Life in Poetry

I've mentioned the anthology, Local News: Poetry About Small Towns from MWPH Books, P.O. Box 8, in Fairwater, Wisconsin. Here's one of the many poems I've enjoyed, by Scott Wiggerman, who lives in...

 

A Bad Case of Friggatriskaidekaphobia

More than 17 million Americans suffer from friggatriskaidekaphobia though they seldom admit it, mainly because they can't pronounce it. Loosely translated, friggatriskaidekaphobia means, "I'd like to...

 

American Life In Poetry

Lest we forget our vegetables, here's a poem by James Bertolino about one of our dearest and healthiest ones. The poet lives in Bellingham, Washington, and this is from his book, Every Wound Has A...

 

American Life In Poetry

That sage curse, "May you live in interesting times," has been upon us for the past few years, but here a Kentucky poet, Jonathan Greene, offers us some reassurance that there is order in the world....

 

American Life In Poetry

Robert Bly is one of the last living major American poets of his generation, and W.W. Norton recently published his Collected Poems. I and many other poets of the central states owe Bly, who grew up...

 

Ode to an Extra Day

You know that old poem? Thirty days hath September, April, June, and November; All the rest have thirty-one, Excepting February alone, And that has twenty-eight days clear And twenty-nine in each leap...

 

American Life In Poetry

This week's poem is one of my favorites and I can't explain why in the fifteen years I've been writing this column I've neglected until now to share it with you. Wendell Berry is one of our country's...

 

American Life In Poetry

Tolstoy said, "Nothing can make our life, or the lives of other people, more beautiful than perpetual kindness." I found this poem by Dorianne Laux in Poetry of Presence: An Anthology of Mindfulness...

 

Love, Honor...and Make You See Things My Way

This year, I'm going to give my Valentine the best gift of all: understanding. And by that I mean, his understanding of me. Instead of a card, I'm giving him this letter explaining why I do what I...

 

American Life In Poetry

Last week I said that I planned to publish two beautiful poems of grief and loss by David Baker, from his new and selected poems, Swift, published last year by W. W. Norton. This is the second of...

 

American Life In Poetry

This week and next I want to show you two beautiful poems of grief and loss by David Baker, from his new and selected poems, Swift, published in 2019 by W. W. Norton. Baker teaches at Denison...

 

Flaky Fables - Classmates

Do you often see people from your past, but you can’t remember their names? The old guy ahead of me in the grocery check-out looked about two coughing spells away from the Promised Land. I didn’t notice him until he tried to pay with a credit car...

 

American Life In Poetry

This is the sixth of Marge Saiser’s poems to appear in my column, and I’ve written elsewhere how much I admire her work. This poem is typical of her clear, accessible poetry of close observation. I am especially taken by her capture of the flash...

 

And the Winners for 2019...

It was the best of lists. It was the worst of lists. Also the most, least, biggest, smallest, flattest and roundest of lists. 'Tis the season when experts on everything roll out their report cards of...

 

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