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

Who knew you could pour out opaque colored liquids and capture the cascading forms in images reminiscent of rare blooms in art class vases? Jack Long’s splashes of liquid flowers frozen in time will leave you breathless.

I’ve dreamt many times of stepping into the pages of a novel. Once I longed to sit with Sophie on the rigid steps of her apartment and feel how Brahms might spin on the phonograph. Here’s an interactive typographic exhibition in Amsterdam which offers a novel way of moving and interacting with text. Be sure to watch the short video.

News by Claire Burge

2 News

Attendees at The Sunken Garden Poetry Festival have experienced plenty of magical moments over the past 20 years. They’ve dined on picnic blankets, listened to Pulitzer-winning poets, and watched lightning flash across startling words and gorgeous Connecticut skies. This place sounds enchanting and mysterious.

Laurie Anderson says it’s time to move an artist into The White House. In a recent college commencement speech, Anderson, who served as NASA’s only artist-in-residence (only one? more on that in the article), spoke to graduates about the benefits of getting more artists into public spaces, even into the Supreme Court. Sound unrealistic? Well, if democracy put a man on the moon, then it can put an artist in the Oval Office, too.

Publishing by Claire Burge

3 Publishing

Guys, get ready for a whole line of e-book fiction titles written just for you. Beginning this month, Esquire will begin publishing novels for men, which are “plot-driven and exciting, where one thing happens after another. And also at the same time, dealing with passages in a man’s life that seem common,” according to the magazine’s editor-in-chief. Really, guys? Have books been so boring up until now?

This next bit of news applies to both genders, even Amazon-publishing users. Kobo touts itself as a free, self-publishing platform to extricate authors from the expectations and stereotypes running rampant in the industry, according to its company press release:

“Unlike competitive self-publishing tools, Kobo allows authors to set their book price to ‘FREE’ at any time without restrictive exclusive agreements, in addition Kobo pays 10% higher royalties on sales in many growing international markets and allows authors much more freedom on pricing.”

Reviews by Claire Burge

4 Business

Have you invested lots of time and energy into researching how Facebook can help your business? I’m so sorry. Pinterest is the new wave for business marketers. Here are five reasons why this colorful social media platform is exploding.

If you want to escape the visual wonderland of Pinterest, you can always get back to some good old-fashioned storytelling. Winning the Story Wars by Jonah Sachs (Harvard Business Review Press) explains why stories still matter, especially in the marketplace:

“In our post-broadcast world, most brand and cause messages are swallowed up and forgotten before they reach the light of day. Just a few have been able to breakthrough this clutter by using the only tool that has ever moved minds and changed behaviors — great stories.”


5 Creativity

I’ve been wondering about the whole genius and madness connection ever since high school. Would I need to cut off an ear, suffer bouts of depression, and disappear for months at a time just to prove myself madly creative? A panel of scientists met last week to discuss the topic of “tortured genius”. But what do they know? They all showed up with two ears.

Sometimes my creativity gets to feeling claustrophobic and wants some room for adventure. Poet Maya Stein grabbed a typewriter and set off on a 1,300 mile bike ride. Stein considers herself to be “riding the Great American Poem.” She stops at various points along the route to invite strangers to sit down at her cardboard table and contribute a verse. And there’s no white-out for typos.

Write It by Claire Burge

6 Write-It

I’ve often asked my students to write down the instructions for a simple action, such as tying shoelaces. Afterwards, another student follows those precise instructions while we watch to see what happens. Here’s an Assembly Required poetry prompt, where you “can give the reader directions about how to assemble an object or an emotional experience.” Just please exercise caution when allowing someone to follow them literally.

The most recent “Questionly” feature at The New Yorker asked its readers to coin a new word. You can read the pediatric submissions on Twitter by using the #tnyquestion hashtag. Though the contest is over now (open just four days), I’d love to see what our Tweetspeak readers can dream up here in the comment box. Be sure to leave a definition for your newly invented word, too.

Poems by Claire Burge

7 Poems

Do teenagers still write love letters? On real paper, I mean, with the lingering scent of colored ink and raging pheromones? And once love fizzles, do they simply delete the electronic characters from their inboxes? Well, here’s a poem where the letters burn. Read “Fire Roses” by Cynthia Fuller.

May Play has just ended here at Tweetspeak Poetry. Partcipants created original poems by using words from each Monday’s feature at Every Day Poems. How could I choose only one winner? I was drawn to a poem which used words from “Breaking it Off: Letter from Anne Sexton” by Maureen Doallas. I asked Lane Arnold to record herself reading her lovely contribution, which she posted in one of our May Play comment boxes. On the other hand, Megan Willome offered up a short poem with a big voice on Twitter. Since I figured it’d be fair to honor at least one of those short tweets, too, I asked Megan to record her poem for us. She used words from “Coated” by L.L. Barkat. Don’t worry: the play continues this month, so keep posting and tweeting. This month we’re calling it June Jazz.

People by Claire Burge

8 People

Popular culture likes to reduce art to Cliff’s Notes. (Do teens still use those?) For example, we tend to package up “This Land is Your Land” with all the usual majestic scenes. However, as we approach Woody Guthrie’s centennial birthday, we ought to draw near to the campfire and pay attention to the whole song. Andrew Cohen writes,

“we forget the gut-wrenching other verses and their pointed lament for the common man. It is those other verses, the ones we routinely don’t sing today, which are arguably the most politically relevant as the nation gears up for another gut-wrenching, divisive general election”

Do you know who served as our 16th president? Of course you do. But who served as our nation’s 16th poet laureate? No, I didn’t know either. Here are some wonderful interviews The Paris Review did with Kay Ryan. Even though she’s often regarded as a “poetry outsider”, this fascinating poet still has my vote of confidence.


9 Education

What is it about poetry and bicycles? Sophomores at a Buffalo high school plastered colorful bikes with poetry for a community art exhibit. English teacher Stephen Goss says,

“Instead of students reading a poem and then writing an essay about the theme of the poem and the style and literary elements that are in the poem, these students are writing their own poetry, figuring out ways to get it out on the streets, figuring out a guerrilla campaign to kind of get excitement around their writing and then implementing that through action.”

Teachers and students in Los Angeles also discovered a way to highlight the visual aspect of poetry. Library organizers created a poetry event which connects with a YouTube generation. Madeleine Kerr writes of the community event,

“In this project, the teens literally see that what he or she writes online or tweets carries the same weight as what will be printed in their book — because that is what’s being done. Online writing is ‘real’ writing in our LAPL lab: it carries meaning, weight, information and even more importantly, the teens have grown to understand what it means to have a digital footprint.”

Motion by Claire Burge

10 Sound n Motion

Bookshop shelves are always spellbinding. Watch this stop-motion film from a Toronto bookstore and marvel at their colorful and alluring enchantment.

Finally, the Internet is buzzing over these rare audio recordings of Flannery O’Connor reading her work. Her southern voice beats and threshes like an angel’s white camellia wings. Listen as she lifts the words right off the page.

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 June we’re exploring the theme Trees.

Red #9


  1. says

    But if you want some still-motion photography of those flowers, they won’t be able to deliver. Even though they’re really good at spilling and splashing stuff all over the dining room floor. :)

  2. says

    First, thank you for featuring me.

    And double thank you for the link to Flannery O’Connor reading my favorite of her stories. It’s just so wonderfully twisted.

  3. says

    Lots of good stuff, Matthew!

    The Nota Bene vido is very cool, and lots of fun.

    Some people do not know that NASA created an art program in the late 1950s; its owns some wonderful pieces (some work was on display last year at National Air and Space Museum here in D.C.).

    I did a feature on Stein and contributed to her Type Rider project. Reading the posts she sends to her contributors has been a delight. People have really taken to her. I also received a post card from her along the way.

    Am so glad Esquire has cleared up the issue of just what kind of novels men like: “plot-driven and exciting….” says it all.

    Many of the skeptics of Pinterest are lawyers. One I know told me she thinks it’s destined to be the “next great class action suit”. In time. In time.

    Congrats again to Megan and Lane.

  4. says

    Yes, congrats to Megan and Lane!

    This was such a treat for the senses…and the splashes of liquid flowers….ahhh….no words! Everything you shared was delightful…thank you!

  5. says

    Megan – Thank YOU! :)

    Maureen – A post card! I miss those days. :) Tweetspeak needs to hold a retro pen-pal exchange. Instead of tweeting poems, we’ll mail our verses on postcards. Wouldn’t that be dreamy? I guess I just want to find post cards in my mailbox again … :)

    Lorraine – I really struggled to find any appropriate words for those splashed flowers. Every attempt at describing them just felt like a drop in a bucket. :)

  6. Anne Overstreet says

    Sigh. Matthew, your posts are one of my favorite ways to stay plugged in to the creative ether!


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