This Week’s Top Ten Poetic Picks

The best in poetry (and poetic things), this week with Lyla Lindquist.

Artful Girl by Claire Burge

1 Art

Whatever you might think about a certain television network’s coverage of the London Olympic games, it’s been outright brilliant next to history’s treatment of art as an Olympic sport. Art competitions were a part of the games in the early twentieth century, until they fell apart over distinguishing amateur from professional. Judges couldn’t even bring themselves to give out the medals at times over submission quality. And so, the story goes, the Pentathlon of the Muses was shifted to a parallel competitive universe. History let herself go, one documentary rife with notations such as “Her poem is also lost” as one after another of the works disappeared. The International Olympic Committee itself failed to list the poetry results from any of the games. Thank heavens for the Poetry Pernassus.

Now, if those Olympic judges of the 30s and 40s could have spent some time in Filip Noterdaeme’s Homeless Museum of Art viewing the “revolutionary architectural concept” of his Chicken Wing, perhaps they’d have been a little less tightfisted with the gold.

News by Claire Burge

2 News

Hey, kid. Forget the lemonade stand. The money is in the art show. And we’re so sorry, little Aelita Andre, that your painting in the Agora Gallery exhibit only garnered $12k. See, there’s some unwritten rule on the sliding scale of child artists that you need to be at least 9 years old to snag over $16 grand a pop. Give it five years and see if collectors are shelling out $25k yet like that Autumn de Forest down the street is bringing in. Seriously? Have a look. This is some impressive not-for-Mom’s-refrigerator artwork. It’s even better than the snail trails.

And for all those poets who can’t compete in the Olympic games anymore, maybe you’d like to join the ancient Greek tradition and write victory odes to celebrate the winners. Careful though, you could get the pentameter knocked out of you if the Tyrant of Syracuse doesn’t care for your enjambment.


Publishing by Claire Burge

3 Publishing

A major publisher has had to pull back on a major book in light of the author’s fabrication of quotes from a celebrity and a history of self-plagiarism. (How does that work? Gosh, I repeat myself sometimes. I repeat myself sometimes.) One writer argues that it takes a village to inspire such shenanigans suggesting consumers demand the media fill our insatiable greed for an amazing new story or big idea every ten or twelve minutes. But wait. Before you blame me for eating the appetizers the media keeps serving, who started this thing? Chicken or egg?

Never mind that. I remember my seventh grade Home Ec teacher slumping over on her desk weeping tears of relief the day I left her cooking class for Industrial Arts, where I learned how to bind a book and wire a wine bottle into an electric lamp . This beautiful behind-the-scenes look at the production of a Slightly Foxed edition just about brought me to tears of my own. The stitching, the pressing, the gluing… Be still, my heart.


Reviews by Claire Burge

4 Business

Think you’re ready to be an entrepreneur? There’s an app for that. Okay, you probably need a product or service and a business plan. And maybe some funding. But you also might want to check out these cool apps to help you run your start-up business.

And those apps are just in time too. Richard Florida predicted it in 2003, and now he’s updated his book to reflect that the creative class is taking over the world. Don’t forget to pick up your tattoo at the dry cleaner’s. It’s standard company dress code now.


5 Creativity

Twenty years later and we’re still debating it. Does the online experience diminish our offline lives? Do Facebook, Twitter and Instagram kill creativity? Alan Jacobs suggests that perhaps more folks are just doing what artists have always done — cull and filter experience which might be used in some future creative work. And, he uses the word kludgingly. That is reason enough to read the article.

Do you have trouble getting the time for creative projects in the midst of the daily tedium of email, phone calls, and, oh, eating lunch? Here’s a thought: schedule appointments with your projects. Check out this system for Getting Creative Things Done (GCTD). (In my office, the projects have to brew the coffee.)


Write It by Claire Burge

6 Write-It

It’s sort of like Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song. Poets & Writers has a new prompt challenging  you to write an epistolary poem to apologize to someone. If B. J. Thomas doesn’t make you cry hard enough to get going, you could try these examples from William Carlos Williams and Jessica Greenbaum for inspiration. Come on. Make me feel at home while I miss my baby.

(Epistolary poem. Did I really just say that? Without knowing what it meant? Good thing Poets & Writers defined it for me last February.)

When I was about seven years old, I walked past $1.35 in a puddle on my way to school. I left it there. It didn’t belong to me, and you know there are rules about taking things that don’t belong to you. To this day my family remains unimpressed with my remarkable ability to stay in the lines. You see, later that evening, my sister reported losing her lunch money on her way to school (to the tune of exactly $1.35). So when Colson Whitehead wrote up the definitive list of rules for How to Write, as a rule-follower I was all over it. Until I got to No. 11. Curse you, Colson Whitehead.

And now, please excuse me while I go write an epistolary poem to my sister about not stealing her lunch money.


Poems by Claire Burge

7 Poems

The 35W bridge linking Minneapolis and St. Paul was once a part of my regular morning commute. Five years ago, that bridge across the Mississippi River collapsed, killing 13 people. To honor those lost, St. Paul poet Todd Boss has written 35 poems in conjunction with artist Maja Spasova’s installation featuring 35 oversized life rings. Read the poems here, or listen to everyday Minnesotans read them. I like that phrase, Everyday Minnesotans. That’s the way Minnesotans are. Here across the border, we move a little slower. We’re known as Every Other Day South Dakotans.

Human nature makes it tough to look to look away, sometimes. Poet Tania Runyan captures that tension in the midst of tragedy in The Goldfish Pond, featured this week in Every Day Poems.

I like the dead one best,
my daughter says,

and follows a corpse
the length of her smallest finger
around the edge of the pond.

Read the rest of The Goldfish Pond.


People by Claire Burge

8 People

So much more than a pretty face. Marilyn Monroe was a lover of literature and took classes at night. Marilyn Monroe even wrote poetry, featured in Fragments: Poems, Intimate Notes, Letters. There’s some thoughtful stuff here:

Life — I am of both of your directions

And from the looks of it, her handwritten notes are just slightly more legible than what I bring off the roof after a day’s work.


9 Education

Well, so maybe honesty isn’t the best policy. I should have pocketed that $1.35 and denied it. Maybe I’d be a better poet by now. Rachel Rooney seems to think that the good liars have the best hopes for success in writing poetry. Work on your fibbing finesse and learn four other poetry writing tips.

I suppose I could make up for lost time with this magnetic poetry Kids’ First Words Kit. Now, what bald-faced poetic lie can I tell using the words yellow, dance, summer, always, аnԁ moon?

Motion by Claire Burge

10 Sound n Motion

Cerys Matthews delights with her attempts at flamenco music. Listen to Cerys Matthews sing, and you’ll wonder why she had to work as a water-bombed nanny.

And just one last link, because I don’ t know when to quit. You might send your kid to time out for doing something like this when you have a migraine. But Imogen Heap makes a wonder of art, music and good science.

Photos by Claire Burge. Used with permission. Post by Lyla Lindquist.


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

Red #9


  1. says

    Containing all those first poems just became a cinch. Now we need Magnetic Art images to revolutionize storage of all those first pics that go up on our refrigerators.

    Wonderful links, Lyla.

    • says

      Maureen, my eldest is 18 in a couple of weeks, and I still have one of his 1st grade pictures hanging on my bedroom door. There’s not enough storage anywhere for some of those gems. :)

  2. says

    You do this, too? It’s like a new superpower!

    I loved No. 8 on the list by Colson Whitehead.

    The thing with Jonah Lehrer has hit me hard. When his voice comes on the radio, I know it instantly. No more.

    • says

      This is the way of the adjuster, Megan. We dabble in everything, master very little. :)

      #8 made me laugh too. Until #11 made me insecure.

      And yeah. The Lehrer thing is sad and frustrating.

  3. says

    Oh, hi, Lyla! You’re so multi-faceted!

    My favorite was “Tip 3: Poetry requires both words and silence.” I like that the white space is actually part of the poem.

    The Imogen Heap made my day. It was way better than singing to break a wine glass. :)

  4. Paul Willingham says

    Maureen and Lyla:

    We’ll go Lyla one better. She has 1st grade art on her bedroom door. We have have 30 plus year original canvas of a “Duck Billed *___* prominently displayed in our home. The artist shall remain nameless but her initials are Lyla Lindquist.


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