Favorites / Randy K. Schwartz

“The Snow Man” by Wallace Stevens 

I love “The Snow Man” by Wallace Stevens for its last line—“Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is”— and for breathtaking surprises along the way. It pretends to be about a child’s snowman, but Stevens slyly uses the impersonal “one”: snowman? human? Similarly, the first two stanzas pretend to be complete thoughts: “One must have a mind of winter/ To regard” etc. But in stanza 3, it’s suddenly clear these were merely hypotheses in a more complex thought: to regard x and to behold y, without thinking of z. In fact, the entire five-stanza poem is a single sentence, with masterful punctuation and line breaks. In its wonderful sonic quality and grammatical sleight of hand, it’s the work of a great American poet at the height of his craft.

Descending the Staircase / Laurence W. Thomas

DescendingFrontCoverLarry Thomas has a new book out.  You can read it for free online or order a print copy from Amazon. Click on the cover image for details.

“The dream aspects of surrealism come to me naturally. Like most people, I dream frequently and vividly, sometimes so nightmarish that I force myself to wake up in order to escape the fear and horror. Interpretations of dreams are largely guesswork, Freud notwithstanding, and retelling them, impossible. But in those dreams, people, places, and happenings appear in incongruous juxtaposition and contortion providing the basis for surrealistic writings. Some of the poems in this collection are taken directly from such nocturnal experiences recollected through veiled layers of time and the continuous blanketing of subsequent happenings.” – L. W. Thomas

Favorites / Frank O’Brien

       Frank O’Brien—“Pied Beauty” by Gerald Manley Hopkins   


Though my “favorite” poem changes frequently, the one poem I keep going back to every year for the sheer brilliance of its word play is “Pied Beauty” by Gerard Manley Hopkins. Since Hopkins had basically only one theme, he was totally free to concentrate on all other aspects of the art, even coming up with a whole new concept, “sprung rhythm”, in doing so. Although very much English, he picked up the use of alliteration from his studies of the Welsh language (most Celtic languages rely more heavily on alliteration than they do on rhyme). The way Hopkins welds together images with striking word selections and inventive alliteration remains amazing to me after decades of reading and repeating his poems. If you’re not in any way religious, the poesy itself should be inspiring; if you are indeed religious, then you should find it to be as good a single prayer as any you might have learned at school.

Poetry Reading by Thomas Lynch

Recorded January 25 by The Crazy Wisdom Poetry Circle, a PSM member group. (Click the Photo)

ThomasLynchThomas Lynch’s most recent of twelve books are The Depositions—New & Selected Essays (W.W. Norton, 2020) and Bone Rosary—New & Selected Poems (David R. Godine, 2021). He is finishing a novel which he fears might finish him. He keeps homes in Michigan and West Clare, Ireland.

The Human Engine at Dawn / Jim Daniels

HumanEngineJDanielsThe Human Engine at Dawn by Jim Daniels

The ghost behind these haunted and haunting poems is the bittersweet and stunningly detailed memory of his formative years in blue-collar Detroit, echoed sometimes in his present home of Pittsburgh. The latter (much less the former) isn’t Paris, he admits, but then, “Fuck Paris.” With The Human Engine at Dawn, Jim Daniels remains among this country’s most gifted and engaging poets.
William Trowbridge, author of Call Me Fool

Jim Daniels. Singer of the broken city. Ishmael of lost families and foundered dreams. Virgil of what he calls “our poorly wired world.” These poems are deep dives into Daniels’ past, and a past Detroit. The portraits of his mother and father are unforgettable, both for their blunt, unsentimental honesty and their tenderness. Again and again Daniels manages to unearth bright shards of beauty in the bleak alleyways and poverty-haunted streets of the city. And there’s an ode here to his father’s bowling ball that will knock you down, that will roll you right back to the smoky, beer-soaked heart of the last century. The Human Engine at Dawn, in its dark and lyrical urgency, reminds me of why I came to poetry in the first place.
George Bilgere, author of Central Air

About the Author

Jim Daniels’ latest books include Gun/Shy (poetry), The Perp Walk (fiction), and the anthology RESPECT: The Poetry of Detroit Music (coedited with M. L. Liebler). A native of Detroit, he lives in Pittsburgh and teaches in the Alma College low-residency MFA program.

Favorites / Claire Weiner

Claire Weiner — “PostScript” by Seamus Heaney

I find the opening words of Postscript by Seamus Heaney difficult to ignore. “And some time make the time to drive out west…” What an invitation—gentle and imploring at the same time. An invitation that mirrors the natural setting he describes: “the ocean on one side is wild…. and inland among stones the surface of a slate grey lake…” The yin and yang woven throughout this short poem continues with his magnificent description of the swans, “tucked or cresting or busy underwater.” He captures a moment that never fails to blow me away.


Favorites / Catherine McGeehan

Naomi Shihab Nye—“Kindness”–https://poets.org/poem/kindness

     Naomi Shihab Nye’s poem, “Kindness,” has been for me both a source of inspiration and solace. In this poem she takes us with her on an ordinary bus ride to remind us that “Before you know what kindness really is/you must lose things.” I have a sister who is terminally ill and it seems all I have to give her right now is kindness. But Nye tells us in this poem that kindness is the only thing “that makes sense anymore,” that it can go with us “everywhere/like a shadow or a friend.” In addition to this being a beautiful poem, it is a fine example of how poetry can bring grace when it seems there is none. 

Catherine McGeehan

Submission Call – Peninsula Poets

Call for Submissions

Peninsula Poets Spring 2023 (Members Edition)
December 15, 2022 – February 1, 2023

Members only! You must be a member in good standing with your dues paid thru 2023. If you are unsure of your standing, you can contact membership.psm@gmail.com

Send up to 3 unpublished poems in a single file (.doc or docx format only)
one poem per page with your contact information on each page
email as an attachment to editor23.psm@gmail.com

If you don’t have email mail your poems to:
PSM Spring Edition
PO Box 1035
Cadillac, MI 49601
(Must be postmarked by midnight February 1, 2023)

If you have any questions send an email to Debra Belcher at editor23.psm@gmail.com
Visit poetrysocietyofmichigan.com for full membership details.
We are looking forward to reading your work!

Cover Photo Submissions:

We are aware of the wealth of artistic talent beyond poetry among our membership. We would love to include your artwork, painting, drawing, pottery, quilting, stained glass, even doodles or simple line drawings for chapter pages! Please send .jpg photos of your work so we can make a collage or quilt style cover and headings for chapters. JPEG files should be at a resolution of at least 300 dots-per-inch.  Email your submission as an attachment to editor23.psm@gmail.com