Your Poem of the Evening (Do Not Fear!)

There are a thousand books of poems around that take the “Poem of the Day” theme. The problem is that, without exception, at least 75% of the poems in these books are garbage.

So! Hey! You know who knows what great poems look like? Me!

And a new tradition of SFLS begins…

We are going to start with a poet from the Bay Area, Robert Hass. Some because he is quite honored as a poet, and also I got to meet him once, briefly, since I am friends with Brenda Hillman. Mostly because his work is both hilarious and moving and, you know, there’s so many levels. Bob is awesome.



“Tender little Buddha,” she said
Of my least Buddha-like member.
She was probably quoting Allen Ginsberg,
Who was probably paraphrasing Walt Whitman.
After the Civil War, after the death of Lincoln,
That was a good time to own railroad stocks,
But Whitman was in the Library of Congress,
Researching alternative Americas,
Reading up on the curiousities of Hindoo philosophy,
Studying the etchings of stone carvings
Of strange couplings in a book.

She was taking off a blouse,
Almost transparent, the color of silky tangerine.
From Capitol Hill Walt Whitman must have been able to see
Willows gathering the river haze
In the cooling and still-humid twilight.
He was in love with a trolley conductor
In the summer of–what was it?–1867? 1868?

from Time and Materials


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