This Week’s Top 10 Poetic Picks

The best in poetry (and poetic things), this week with Seth Haines.

Artful Girl by Claire Burge

1 Art

Brian Hirschy is a good friend and a grand photographer. Last weekend we were discussing the state of photography and how the iPhone has become a useful tool in the photographer’s gear bag. With its high resolution capabilities and the development of several photo editing apps, it’s really no surprise. How useful has it become? Photographer Nadine Hutton knows. This Johannesburg photographer has embraced the iPhone and used it to capture the images of her new exhibit I, Joburg. She says, “Like any tool, if you know how to use it you can do it well…” And use it well she does. You can see some of her images in Cellphone rings in change in photojournalism, at Mail & Guardian.

Need more proof that the iPhone can be useful for the serious photographer? Check out Brian’s instagram feed, where you’ll find his collection of images capturing everything from the American family to the Tibetan plateau.

News by Claire Burge

2 News

Cleveland, Mississippi—the home of Airport Grocery’s fried pickles, the Delta State University fighting Okra, the Grape Nehi plant, and my college roommate (how you doing out there, Billy Neal?). In Cleveland, what you see is what you get. And you can see from one end of this delta town to the other.

On Tuesday night, the United States Poet Laureate and Mississippi native Natasha Trethewey returned to her home state and held a reading of her works at Delta State University. In this interview by the Boliver Commercial, Trethewey discusses the role that poetry plays in the lives of Americans. She states, “[i]t’s important to tell those untold stories, those forgotten narratives in American history in order for us, as Americans, to share a fuller version of our shared history….”

Read more about Trethewey’s roots in Renowned poet welcomed home by Delta State.

Publishing by Claire Burge

3 Publishing

My bookshelf rises from floor to ceiling, holds some of my dearest friends—Thoreau, Hemingway, Barkat. But these days, the bookshelf is becoming a bit of an endangered species. With the advent of the Kindle, iPad, and other e-readers, book lovers can carry bookshelves upon bookshelves of literature on one handy device.

In Are books doomed? The Rise of E-Reading, Sam Laird explores the reading habits of e-reader owners and the proliferation of the electronic devices. He notes that e-reader owners report reading a startling eight books more per year than readers of traditionally published books. Further, from December 2011 to January 2012, the number of e-reader owners nearly doubled, rising from 10 to 19 percent. Want more proof that the e-reader is ousting the traditionally published book as the medium for modern literature? Check out his piece and the companion infographic.

Reviews by Claire Burge

4 Business

Jessica Priego, owner of JPriego Communications, is the director for advertising and multicultural marketing for the Chicago White Sox. By all accounts Priego is a hard-charger. But this tough businesswoman isn’t all spreadsheets and Pro Formas. “I think my calling is writing and communicating. I write a lot of poetry…I feed my soul through the arts,” she says. For more about Priego’s spoken word background, check out Six Figures: From poetry to advertising for the Chicago White Sox, at NBCLatino.

Whether you are a small business owner or Fortune 500 executive, there is no doubt that a daily dose of poetry can feed the soul. Consider signing up for Every Day Poems, where we deliver a poem to your inbox daily. And if you’re really serious about promoting arts in the workplace, contact us to find out how your entire office can receive their own Every Day Poems.


5 Creativity

I don’t know about you, but sometimes my brightest sparks of creativity come in the darkest, most complex seasons of life. And it seems I’m not alone. Steven Pressfield, author of The War of Art, speaks of how some of his best works come when his life is in “personal chaos.” In his piece entitled Personal Anguish, he writes, “[w]eird as it seems, internal catastrophe never hurt an artist or an entrepreneur. The Muse, it seems, is a hardcore kinda gal.”

Have you noted this trend in your own creative journey? Let us know in the comments. We’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic (and Pressfield’s article).

Write It by Claire Burge

6 Write-It

A long road trip and my wife by my side, these were all I needed for the good life. Amber has always been the best of co-travelers, the proper kind of highway disc jockey, the most prolific storyteller. In these last days, I look over the whole of my life and I see it—we were freest when we were on the road.

This short paragraph is brought to you courtesy of Luke Neff’s writing prompt tumblr. In it, he provides sort of fill in the blanks prompt, and asks you to explain your choice. What did you need for the good life? Note the tense suggested by Neff. I takes you to another time and place.

And speaking of my wife, Amber has been proposing her own writing prompts these days. This week, she prompts you to explore the spirit world through a concrete object—the necklace. Visit Concrete: An Abstraction on the Necklace, and give her prompt a try.
Poems by Claire Burge

7 Poems

From time to time, we like to give you hearty poetry, poetry you have to chew on a bit. This week, we offer you something meaty, something that sticks to your ribs, something about…BACON! Thanks, Flavorwire, for this hilarious piece.

People by Claire Burge

8 People

Louis Simpson, the 1964 Pulitzer Prize winning poet, died this week at the age of 89. Honestly, I hadn’t read Simpson’s poetry before this week. But this piece at the Atlantic introduced me to his work and made me hungry for more. Read Remembering Louis Simpson, Pulitzer Prize Winning Poet, for more on his life and poetry. Then jump over to the Poetry Foundation and read his poems A Story About Chicken Soup, After Midnight, and American Poetry.


9 Education

My two eldest sons are polar opposites. Isaac is the budding scientist, the analytical examiner. Jude is the aspiring film-maker, the cartoonist. You can imagine the difficulty this creates when it comes to choosing their bedtime stories. But thanks to Brain Pickings, I’ve finally found a book on which they both can agree! In Wonderful Life With the Elements, artist Bumpei Yorifuji personifies the periodic table. Jump over to Brain Pickings to get a sneak peek at this slightly irreverent cartoon book.

And, as a bit of a Yorifuji bonus, check out this series of posters he created for the Tokyo subway system, in which he reminds commuters of proper subway etiquette. Apparently, the transit authority in Tokyo would prefer that you not crimp your eyelashes on the subway. Who knew?
Motion by Claire Burge

10 Sound n Motion

Lately, I’ve been having conversations about the intersection of poetry a music, how some of the best poems are actually songs. For instance, did you know Bob Dylan once called Smokey Robinson America’s greatest living poet…? Aside from musical lyrics, Robinson has penned some of his own long format spoken word poetry. After watching Robinson deliver passionate piece, I think you’ll be inclined to agree with Mr. Dylan.

What great poetic picks have you found this week? Be sure to share them with us in the comments.

Photos by Claire Burge. Used with permission. Post by Seth Haines.


Purchase The Novelist, by L.L. Barkat now!


  1. L. L. Barkat says

    Okay, this totally made me laugh…

    “Cleveland, Mississippi—the home of Airport Grocery’s fried pickles, the Delta State University fighting Okra, the Grape Nehi plant, and my college roommate”

    I love your style, Seth :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *