Thursday, December 2, 2010

Literary Blog Hop: Poetry

The Literary Blog Hop is hosted at The Blue Bookcase. Our question this week comes from Gary at Parrish Lantern:

What is your favorite poem and why?

Poetry intimidated me. In fact, I hadn't read poetry since my high school English classes.  That changed earlier this year when I won a copy of Poetry Speaks Who I Am from Bellezza.  Inside, I found this poem about a kitchen table:

Perhaps the World Ends Here
by Joy Harjo

The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we
must eat to live.

The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table.
So it has been since creation, and it will go on.

We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe at the
corners. They scrape their knees under it.

It is here that children are given instructions on what it
means to be human. We make men at it, we make women.

At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts of lovers.

Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms
around our children. They laugh with us at our poor falling-
down selves and as we put ourselves back together once
again at the table.

This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella
in the sun.

Wars have begun and ended at this table. It is a
place to hide in the shadow of terror. A place to
celebrate the terrible victory.

We have given birth on this table, and have prepared
our parents for burial here.

At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow. We
pray of suffering and remorse. We give thanks.

Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table,
while we are laughing and crying, eating of the last
sweet bite.

Finally, a poem that spoke to me! "Perhaps the World Ends Here" is the poem that gave me the courage to give poetry a second chance.
Find my complete review of Poetry Speak Who I Am here.

Visit The Blue Bookcase for links to other participants.


  1. "This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella
    in the sun." loved this line & the image of home & then the world radiating out from a domestic kitchen table.

  2. That is a beautiful poem.

    I don't read poetry as a rule, but a friend of mine sends a poem to her email list every Monday. I have found several that I like -- mostly along the lines of this one that you picked. Honest, homey, and about things I can understand.

  3. I remember your review of this book and this poem. This poem is going to be attached somehow to my parents kitchen/dining room table that has been passed on to my son. The table is 65 years old but has seen much of what is described in this poem. It's perfect. I'm starting to regain my love of poetry. I even pulled out my ancient copy of Robert Frost.

  4. Ah, sweet JoAnn, I forgot about that poem! Poetry intimidated me loves that one too, in fact, that whole anthology is quite wonderful. So glad you liked it! xo

  5. That's lovely. And explains why I'm so reluctant to consider giving up my extremely beat-up kitchen table that's full of scratches and dents. My kids grew up around that table!

  6. This is SO good!

    Being a poet, I can’t imagine my life without poetry. I live and breath it. I have loved to read a lot of poets and poetry over the years and still find something new every day. I have gone through phases liking, poets, and moving over to the the next. So many yet to read.

    Here is my Literary Blog Hop post!

  7. Poetry is so personal, don't you think? I never quite understand what it is exactly when I 'feel' a good poem. I don't seek enough of these good poems and keep saying I will do better. It's that time of year again to set that goal (sigh.)

  8. I am definitely intimidated by poetry, but this one really is a fabulous poem. I could imagine the table being used in all those ways, one image fading in as another fades out. It would make a great video.

  9. i like the fact that you analyze poetry i definitely will be coming back again. good job. welcome to my page let's connect literary :)

  10. The more posts on this hop I read, the more I am realizing that there are many more styles of poetry than I'd ever considered...(duh, why wouldn't there be?) I like the one you posted.

  11. Parrish Lantern - Thanks for posing a question that allowed me to post it one more time!

    Rose City Reader - That seems to be the key for me, too.

    Margot - What a wonderful idea! I think of my grandparent's table whenever I read this poem... it's in my cousin's house now, but makes me happy every time I see it.

    Bellezza - It's the mix that I especially love in this anthology ... the new with the classic, and the audio CD added so much. It's good to enjoy poetry again!

    Amy - Glad you like the poem... and hang on to that table!

    Gautami - Not sure why that poem really struck me, but I'm glad you like it, too.

    Care - Absolutely! It's definitely more personal than novels or short stories... but I'd be hard pressed to define exactly why. I'd like to have an ongoing anthology as part of my reading next year.

    Vivienne - Oh... I like thinking about this as a video, too!

    Gracefulglider - Thanks for visiting. I am just starting to read poetry again for the first time since high school... and that was a long time ago!

    Melody - That's exactly why I'm enjoying the literary blog hop so much! Glad you liked the poem.

  12. I feel the same way about poetry too but your selection was wonderful!!

  13. Staci - Poems like this somehow seem more approachable to me... guess everyone can relate to the kitchen table!

  14. Brilliant. I've never read this one. Thank you for sharing it!

    Here's my post:

  15. And Heart Is Daft.

    WITHOUT understanding any pain but that
    which inside her anyway is made,
    this creature singled out creates
    havoc with intelligence.And heart is daft,
    is some crazy bird let loose and blind
    that slaps against the night and has
    never anywhere to go.And when a tongue's
    about to speak some nonsense like
    "Love is weak, or blind, or both" then comes
    this crazy bird, pecks at it like a worm.

  16. That is one of my favorite poems ever. Glad you enjoyed Poetry Speaks Who I Am.

  17. Vasilly - I loved Poetry Speaks Who I Am... wish I could find more collections like that!

  18. Hi JoAnn, Check out a collection of poetry edited by Seamus Heaney & Ted Hughes called "The Rattle Bag" published by Faber and Faber. The editors have chosen verse meant to amplify notions of what poetry is, they've included poems from oral cultures - hunters prayers' charms, incantations of various kinds - also there's contemporary verse, translation, American & a smattering of English classic.
    The Times Literary Supplement said it was an
    exciting & splendidly compendious volume that sets a standard which other anthologies will find it hard to equal & if I remember correctly I think I described it as a key to a whole world of verse (The Parrish Lantern)
    Hope this helps.

  19. Parrish Lantern - Thank you. Another blogger recommended The Rattle Bag last spring. I've just placed an order with amazon!

  20. Hi JoAnn, hope you enjoy, it has worked as a personal introduction to loads of verse I could never found otherwise.

  21. Love it! Worth memorizing. I've been thinking of returning to my poetry writing next year. Thanks!

  22. Kim - Definitely worth memorizing. I didn't know you wrote poetry. Maybe you'll post one on your blog??


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