This Week’s Top Ten Poetic Picks

The best in poetry this week

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

Artful Girl by Claire Burge

1 Art

This past Tuesday, an expertly executed art heist occurred at a museum in the Netherlands city of Rotterdam. Works by Picasso, Matisse, Monet, Gauguin, and others have all gone missing. The value of the missing collection? $130 million. Authorities fear the thieves may have exploited inside information. And though I’m no expert in the area of art crimes, might I suggest that law enforcement officials begin their questioning with these masters of the inside job?


Just a modest suggestion.

News by Claire Burge

2 News

Do you live in the Washington D.C. area? If so, I’m jealous. And not because you’re in the center of the partisan bickering that has comprised this year’s electoral process. No, I’m jealous because this week the “Poetic Likeness: Modern American Poets” exhibit opens at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. Boasting a collection of more than 75 works, these portraits are sure to inspire. After all, what fella wouldn’t want a beard like Walt Whitman’s?

And, if you’re lucky enough to live in the great Northeast, consider catching a train from the National Portrait Gallery to the 2012 Dodge Poetry Festival, located in Newark, New Jersey. The festival locations are all accessible by train or public transit, so if you live anywhere along the Hudson River corridor, consider making the trip. And if you do, make sure to come back here and tell us all about it!

Publishing by Claire Burge

3 Publishing

Do you remember the first book you read cover to cover? (For me it was The Old Man and the Sea.) That expression–cover to cover–is quickly losing meaning in this world of digital publishing. In fact, I sometimes wonder whether the definition of the word “book” isn’t being constantly rewritten. But as much as I like my Kindle, my iPad, and other means of digital literary consumption, the truth is, there’s nothing like a good, tangible book.

Reviews by Claire Burge

4 Poetry at Work

Want to participate in the first annual  Poetry at Work™ Day? Well, mark your calendars because on January 15th, 2013, people will be reading Whitman around the water cooler. Okay, maybe that’s a stretch, but Tweetspeak has declared the holiday, and evidently that’s all it takes. Share with us your ideas for celebrating the holiday in the comments below. It’s never too early to start readying a celebration!


5 Creativity

From time to time, we extol the virtues of the creative mind, how it keeps one engaged, protects one from the corrosion associated with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other diseases of the mind. But did you know that writers are actually at higher risk of suffering from mental illnesses such as anxiety, bipolar disorders, schizophrenia, unipolar depression, and substance abuse?  Neither did I until my father sent me the following email:

“Hey buddy, I found this interesting. No, not implying anything, LOL… just thought you might want to get therapy.”

Sure, I’ve been writing a great deal about wine and beer lately. Sure, I am prone to technicolor dreams of the world melting into the sea of space, about it piling up on the floor of the universe before rising in lava lamp-like bubbles. But dad, couldn’t you have been a bit more subtle?

(In full and fair disclosure to my father, he didn’t specifically write “therapy.” Perhaps I’m just paranoid. No I’m not. Yes I am. Wait… who’s that peeking in my window and where’s my foil hat?)


Write It by Claire Burge

6 Write-It

Ever wonder why the lost art of handwriting matters? This article by Philip Hensher explains why handwriting has a value that is unmatched by texting, skyping, and other new-fangled modes of communication. Hensher explains how handwriting has historically refined us, changed us in little ways. He explains its value as a ritual, as an expression of individual identity. And after reading his article, I thought I might leave you with

Seth handwriting
And in case you’re wondering… yes, that’s my handwriting.

Poems by Claire Burge

7 Poems

Do you subscribe to Every Day Poems? You should. For only $2.99, you’ll receive one year’s worth of poems, every day, delivered straight to your inbox. Need convincing? Check out this excerpt from Mary Ruefle, transmitted in this week’s Every Day Poems:

They say there are no known facts about Shakespeare, because if it were his pen name, as many believe, then whom that bed was willed to is a moot point. Yet there is one hard cold clear fact about him, a fact that freezes the mind that dares to contemplate it: in the beginning William Shakespeare was a baby, and knew absolutely nothing. He couldn’t even speak.

Sign up today for Every Day Poems. I did, and I’ll tell you this–I don’t regret it a bit!

People by Claire Burge

8 People

October marks Poetry magazine’s 100th birthday, the magazine started by Chicago native Harriet Monroe. Monroe started the magazine with the vision of creating a community celebrating the nation’s best poetry. And my what a community she created! T.S. Elliot, Carl Sandburg, Ezra Pound, they all wrote for Poetry. Good company, right?

Read more about the remarkable Harriet Monroe here, and listen to this podcast celebrating the birthday of the “American institution,” that is Poetry magazine.


9 Education

During the past year, students and teachers have visited TeachersFirst: The Interactive Raven more than 2.1 million times. What is it? The Interactive Raven is a fresh look at Edgar Allan Poe’s classic poem, which allows the viewer to learn literary devices and poetic concepts with the click of a mouse. And it’s not just a website for teachers and students either. Parents are using the website to help teach poetry at home.

This Halloween season, consider balancing all of that candy hoarding with a little bit of eery educational nuance. But be careful. That interactive raven may just fly through your screen and eat your mouse.

Motion by Claire Burge

10 Sound n Motion

Speaking of the earth melting, ravens, and the like, I leave you with an apocalyptic piece of sung poetry. The song is great and video is pretty thought-provoking, too. Enjoy this work by the Decemberists.

Cover photo by Brian U, Creative Commons, via Flickr. Article photos by Claire Burge. Used with permission. Post by Seth Haines.


Buy a year of Every Day Poems, just $2.99— Read a poem a day, become a better writer. In October we’re exploring the theme Wine and Beer.

Every Day Poems Driftwood


  1. says

    Just a note to say how WOWED I am by the top photos in all the articles. I saw this one in my Google Reader and my heart immediately jumped.

    And now, I’ll actually read this… :)

  2. says

    As always, excellent compilation of links.

    I am looking forward to seeing the National Portrait Gallery exhibition.

    The Dodge Festival was last weekend (11th-14th). It was a great reason to go to Jersey; some poets I know went.


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