ABCs of Poetry

Susan Yount, Marianne Moore as JudgementApril is National Poetry Month. Please enjoy these poems on poetry by poets who have had poetry features here at Escape Into Life. Click on each poet’s name to find more of her work.

Be sure to notice the ABCs in Carol Berg’s abecedarian!

See how Susanna Lang honors the countless poems of Anonymous!

April showers bring les fleurs du mal for Jennifer Finstrom! Speaking of les fleurs du mal, see also the Fleurs de Mai and some May Flowers of past springs! 

Mia Avramut creates a heat wave in her poem about writing poetry.

And marvel at the poetry tarot cards by Susan Yount, here and in a past poems-on-poetry feature, Joy in Transgression

To see more of Susan Yount’s Poetry Tarot, or to learn how to be on a poetry tarot card, click here!  



Susanna Lang


He wrote a thousand poems,
some praising the morning light
            as it warmed the thick clay walls
of his city, others
the purple robes that swirled
            around the feet of a certain lady,
or the Spirit that animated her step
and amplified the muezzin’s voice
            calling the city to prayer.
A thousand poems, written
in his own hand with ink
            distilled from gallnuts, black
when he held the pen, now faded.
The script itself a pleasure to the eye.

Of all these poems, one found its way
into the library at Timbuktu:
            the desert wind
            with the touch
            of her wrist….
Yesterday the library was torched.

Men pick through the ash, a few
            bindings, a few blackened words.
Who will now praise her beauty?

Susan Yount, Anne Sexton as The Star

Jennifer Finstrom    

I Confide in Charles Baudelaire about my Divorce

“Be always drunken,” he tells me, though he says it
in French. I can understand enough to remember
my favorite translation of the prose poem that
I first read in Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey
into Night
. “With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you

will,” he continues, and I tell him that I try, I always try.
I tell him about the one-credit class I took on Les Fleurs
du Mal
all those years ago now, how O’Neill led me

to him that semester when everything was falling apart.
He understands what that’s like but suffers from ennui
more than anything. I wish that I could join him there,
if only to make him feel better. “Conceive me as
a dream of stone,” he says—or I say—and I do.

Susan Yount, Henry David Thoreau as The Hermit

Mia Avramut   

On writing as late canicule

You scorch, poetry, and the ale tastes like a body. The grandee male cat clad with priestly robes now hunts again and warns me: ’tis known the sins of carnal knowledge and self-harm peak in heat waves.

Deep in the summer’s belly, acrid blackberry canes poke wafts of lost creations, underside plague harbingers congealed in flight above the roots of every line. Not to beget, lest I drum out all cuttings of past heralds, must flee the stench steam trench. Embrace the dwindling stanzas, with their core of death:

Sixteen befuddled pages grafted on rose offshoots
still squirt mudsand sap.
Sweat nostrum trickles between peaks, dark as pure driven ink.
Taut popping nipples held in prison with limbs arch out to suckle
legions of aging mouths, wide whistling song braids.
Set me free!
Now pollinated, stop shaking, stop flickering.

Sibilant maverick cane spears decamp to sloping skies fulfilled
with harvest scents of old, secrets impure forever gestant.
Would torch them all as green Gauloises between grazed crimson lips.
Under the black morula shield my journey drinks all that renews,
carbon-based ooze through ciné-verité orchestra blackout.

Feel the beginning, frothing rose hip spreads.
Watch as our fusing parchments issue thorns
until the chosen tempered hissing fruit
unexpurgated, bursts with fear.
Flesh salt rasps so much louder this way.

Dare not forsake me even as my piercings heal,
and I live in excess, soothsayer,
through this most sanguine summer
when every poem is posthumous
and every blight of metaphor trespasses underworlds
where I can burn at last — and not look back.

Susan Yount, Emily Dickinson as Death

Carol Berg   

The Temptress Writes Once More About the Dream of Him
and Still Poetry Won’t Make Sense of It For Her

Always, it begins with my fingers gently
breaking the neck of the hyacinth. 
Cinderella-white and erotic

drape of each stem holding a sweetness of
eyes, eyes unblinking, eyes of pale angels.
Forgive me, I say to the hyacinth, but I am tired of your

girlishness and the expectant fragrance of your
hooved loneliness. This is not a dream of death
in spite of the little killing, is it? I ask myself in the dream, in spite of the

joy of the pinprick of  juice, this one tiny jerk this un-
kiss, this opposite kiss, this instead of pulling hyacinth inside of me, I
lure it outside of itself. And then the heaviness of the

man intrudes. How can I speak of this waking inside a dream?
Never before this no-and-yes dream of waking and not waking, him
over me, his dream-soaked body and the silky openness of him, and me

promising my lips even before I call out to him who are you? and he
quietly, too quickly, even as I am quaking under him, leaves, he does,
releasing me and re-leaving me. Dawn

shatters inside my bedroom. 
This aloneness. This aloneness in this bed now a 
universal ache. Vanished his lips having travelled to me,
vanished his lips having dreamed in me, vanished his everywhere touching me.

Waking, I see the hyacinths in the vase wilt and winter themselves.
X- dreamed, x-intercepted, x-kissed now into this wakefulness.
You. You refuse to come back into my dreams. I lie upon my
z-coordinate, lay out all my coordinates for you. Soon there will be no more map.

(first published in Redheaded Stepchild)

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