This Week’s Top 10 Poetic Picks

Matthew Kreider

The best in poetry, (and poetic things), this week with Matthew Kreider.

Artful Girl by Claire Burge

1 Art

As a young boy, I often placed my hand in front of a light bulb, bent my fingers just right and watched the silhouette of a barking dog appear on the wall. Okay, I still do that sometimes. I love the idea of creating something out of shadows. And I really love artist Kumi Yamashita’s incredible shadow art.

Kids can play with shadows for only so long, though. Eventually, every kid wants to create something he can touch. Many children get their fix by clicking Lego bricks together. PBS Off Book takes a look at adults who create mind-blowing Lego art.

News by Claire Burge

2 News

Soon after becoming California’s new poet laureate, Juan Felipe Herrera decided he wanted to do something bigger. His plan is to turn the entire state into a virtual poetry workshop in order to create the world’s longest poem. Surely, if anybody can do it, a Californian can.

Last week 18-year-old Kristen Dupard became the 2012 Poetry Out Loud National Champion. Listen to her recite the winning poem for Jeffery Brown of PBS NewsHour. Dupard said her preparation taught her to pay attention to the poet’s meaning, not just her interpretation of the meaning.

If you’re a poet with a cowboy hat, you’ll want to be in Medora, ND this weekend for its 26th annual gathering of poet cowboys. I wonder if any Tweetspeak readers will be tweeting from the event?

Publishing by Claire Burge

3 Publishing

Enough of all this talk of e-books and digital formats. Enjoy The New Yorker’s account of the audiobook industry. Once upon a time, it had a history, too.

Of course we won’t judge a book by its cover. But a beautiful cover sure doesn’t get in the way of reading it. Check out Flavorpill’s gallery of 25 Awesome Minimalistic Book Covers.

Reviews by Claire Burge

4 Business

The Betabrand executive pinstripe hoodie sold out three production runs within hours. My wife signed up for an email alert to get me into this garb post haste. She’s sure the latest talk in tech fashion will cover me in style and comfort while I’m tweeting. It’s crafted from the finest charcoal pinstripe Merino wool, the fabric of classic four-season executive suiting, but Betabrand’s uppity hoodie includes wrist cuffs, front pockets, gray paisley lining, zipper and hood. Blame this streamlined fashion risk on Mark Zuckerberg and a whole generation of anti-establishment types if you must, but this startup business casual classic-to-be is infinitely cooler than the Pajama Jeans my wife once sported around the home office.

A recent funding effort set a record at Kickstarter, raising $3.3 million in only five days. Pebble, a smartwatch that communicates with your smartphone, could be the integrated wholeness this technological world is looking for.


5 Creativity

Traveling abroad makes us more creative. Really, there’s even research to support this. So go now and do what needs to be done.

Every day we come across unsightly sidewalks or sentences. But the creative mind knows what to do. This guerrilla gardener turned unbecoming potholes into miniature works of art.

Write It by Claire Burge

6 Write-It

I’ve been busy this week. Wrapping up a school year, preparing final exams, and putting the final touches on the last two issues of the school newspaper have all left me feeling pretty dry. Times like these call for short bursts of play. This month, Tweetspeak is offering May Play. It’s a chance to write (or tweet) found poems in short bursts. Play is good for the soul — and community.

Poems by Claire Burge

7 Poems

I was cleaning out my desk today and found a picture I took of Joshua Clover. The poet was a visiting professor at one point while I was in university. I cherished his wild eccentricity. Last week I saw his name in the news. It looks as though his recent bank protest could possibly land him in jail. Let’s read “The map room”.

People by Claire Burge

8 People

Richard Ford and I share a fascination with Canada. I’m moving there this summer. But Ford, a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, will release his new book, Canada. Here’s a taste of what plays on Ford’s consciousness with the country that’s bigger than America but too polite to remind Americans of this fact:

“’Canada’ – the word – possessed for me (and still does) what I think of as a plush suppleness. I like the three softened “a” sounds (unless you nasalize them, in which case quit reading now) sandwiched among those muted, staccato’d consonants. I like its pleasing, dactylic gallop on my tongue. I like its rather stalwart, civic assertiveness to the foreigner’s eye.”

What about you? Have you been gripped by a word lately?

The other day I opened a file cabinet and found my clippings of Edna St. Vincent Millay’s sonnets. Immediately, my heart started to beat faster when I recalled how I discovered her presence and poetry in college. She had a poetic charisma. Shahirah Majumdar writes,

“It didn’t hurt that Millay was one of those poets who used her life as practice for her art. The mythos that she invented — the starry-eyed creature of enormous appetite left incandescent (in all senses) by its own hungers — was both for her poetry and her daily bread. Her poems were always a portrait of herself: as she was or had been or wanted to be.”


9 Education

Grad commencement speeches puzzle me. Even though they’re generally saturated in cliche, they still move me. Like the wind beneath my wings. Here’s an inspiring address by Neil Gaiman about beginning a career in the arts.

The Holden Caulfield part of me always kinda cracks up whenever people make the proverbial graduation grope for “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost. I get to feeling bad for Mr. Frost, actually. People don’t get the poem. But I think he knew that. Here’s a collection of alternative poems for graduation day.

Motion by Claire Burge

10 Sound n Motion

Speaking of inspiration, here’s a dark comedic video to feed your Pinterest obsession.

Finally, a beautiful reminder that in art, just as in family, every dot matters.

Photos by Claire Burge. Used with permission. Post by Matthew Kreider.


Buy a year of Every Day Poems, just $2.99— Read a poem a day, become a better poet. In May we’re exploring the theme Roses.

Red #9


  1. says

    Great roundup. My older boys and I both enjoyed the lego video…they are aspring ‘lego engineers’ as the lingo goes.

    I liked the shadow play and the dot video, too. I want to play this month, but like you, I’m full up to my ears with finishing school up for the year. We’ll see.

  2. says

    Not to sound like a broken record or anything, but the shadow art was wonderful. And listening to the Lego artists all giddy over their art, fantastic.

    But you’ll have to excuse me now. It’s about time for me to saddle up and ride north to Medora for the Cowboy Poet Gathering. Wonder if they’ll be serving up Medora’s famous Pitchfork Steak Fondue with their poetry.

    (Yes. Really. Fondue with a pitchfork. It’s a cowboy thing.

  3. says

    Maureen – thanks for the word on Herrera. I’ll have to spend some time exploring his poems.

    Joy – Oh, I know. My boys are passionate about becoming “certified Lego professionals”. I wonder what a “Lego poet” would look like? :)

  4. says

    Monica – Yes, those shadows are so rad!

    Lyla – So are pitchforks standard tableware up there? We do have family in Grand Forks. We need to make a detour for fondue. We should all meet for poetry and pitchforks. Sounds dreamy, especially if you met us there! :)

  5. says

    I’m a broken record of Lyla’s broken record: the shadow art was amazing! Also, the pothole gardens. I love them. My back “patio” is pothole ridden. Now I know what to do with the potholes! Thanks, Matthew!

  6. says

    I hate to sound shallow given all you’ve offered here but I LOVE the Glen Plaid Executive Hoodie. How long till you receive? It will serve you well in Canada!

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