Maria's Virtual Poetry Corner

04/8/10 | The Women's Conference | 8 Comments

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The Women's Conference Celebrates National Poetry Month Year-Round

We at The Women's Conference want to honor the importance of art, creativity and poetry in our lives. Because poetry should be appreciated 365 days of the year, we will continue -- beyond April -- to share some of our favorite poems with you. We invite you to share yours as well in our first ever Virtual Poetry Reading.

 

Maria Shriver Reads Her Favorite Poem for National Poetry Month

Post a reading of your favorite poem here!

 

Poetry fans (including actress Tia Carrere) respond to Maria's request to share their favorite poems. Check out some of the recent readings sent in and click here for a look at more of them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Carol Muske-Dukes, California's Poet Laureate, has published 13 books -- seven of which are volumes of poetry. Carol writes for The New York Times and Los Angeles Times and blogs for The Huffington Post. Here, Carol shares with us two of her poems; they touch on women, relationships and perception.



Twin Cities

By Carol Muske-Dukes
As it appeared in The New Yorker, July 6, 2009

It was the river that made them two—
The mills on one side,
The cathedral on the other.

We watched its swift currents:
If we stared long enough, maybe
It would stop cold and let us

Skate across to the other side.
It never froze in place—though
I once knew a kid, a wild funny

Girl who built a raft from branches
(Which promptly sank a few feet out
From the elbow bend off Dayton’s Bluff),
 
Who made it seem easy to believe.
We’d tried to break into Carver’s Cave,
Where bootleggers hid their hot stash

Years after the Dakota drew their snakes
And bears on the rock walls and canoed
Inside the caverns. We knew there were

Other openings in the cliffs, mirroring
Those same rock faces on the other shore—
And below them the caves, the subterranean

Pathways underlying the talk and commerce,
The big shot churches, undermining the false
Maidenliness of the convent school from which

My friend was eventually expelled for being
Too smart and standing up for her own smartness.
Too late, I salute you, Katy McNally. I think

That the river returned then to two-sidedness—
An overhung history of bottle-flash and hopelessness.
I see you still—laughing as the lashed sticks

Sank beneath you, laughing as you did
That morning when the river lifted
Its spring shoulders, shrugging off

The winter ice, that thin brittle mirage,
Making you believe
We were all in this together.


Boy

By Carol Muske-Dukes
As it appeared in The Atlantic, August 2009

They called me “boy” in Kashmiri,
Because they had no other word for what I
Appeared to them to be. Taller by a half foot,
Gawky in my rolled jeans and cap—they

Chose to look away from my small breasts and
Voice-lilt and rename me in the lexicon of sex.
The shikari—mysterious, wizened, in loose turbans—
Were our guides, up the mountain and through

The wall of white water. They linked arms with us
And waded us through to the high still pools above,
Where we’d cast for trout. They stepped in and out
Of Allah as we climbed, in sun and shade, singing

His name. We were miles above Srinagar and two
Hundred miles from China, and the finned bodies
Were swift under the surface. The shikari pointed:
“Budd gaard-e! Big fish! Then they murmured

Their one word for me, and it was not “sister” or
“Daughter.” I was Naked Face, twenty-seven, a rebel,
I thought. Therefore they made me their oversight.
Had they not looked away from me as they spoke,

Had it been otherwise, they would have heard it,
Above the peaks—the clear unwavering call, a
Command to rip my cap away, to pick up stones.
To separate my face from my face, stripping the

Veil from a hook of air, holding it over my breath till
I gasped like a fish, till I was a pair of eyes on a plate,
That body the world wishes to both savor and destroy.

 

Not only is Carol Muske-Dukes California's Poet Laureate, she is also the woman behind the "Magic Poetry Bus," a statewide poetry project (with its partner, GET LIT/Words Ignite!) aimed at getting youth involved with poetry.  Muske-Dukes is now creating a Magic Poetry Bus Guide -- a handbook to traveling with poetry -- learning poems by heart, “talking to” great poetry in poems of one’s own, and interacting with The Bus online. The goal of the Magic Poetry Bus is to distribute the Guide to all California public schools – first online as a “down-loadable” resource – and then in book form! 

Visit the Magic Poetry Bus website at magicpoetrybus.org to find out more about the project and to watch the Get Lit Players recite a poem called “The Shirt” (by Robert Pinsky) by heart and “respond” to the poem in their own words!   The Bus is waiting for you – come take a ride!

Learn more about Carol Muske-Dukes' work on her official website.

Read more poetry and find out about poetry readings in your area at Poets.org.

 

 

 

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Comments

  • Such inspiration on this page....I feel the soul.
    Here is a piece that inspired me.
    Enjoy.



    Prison


    Awhile ago I got infested and arrested,
    The warriors of love caught me red handed in your blood
    I was in the midst of your veins, my soul covered in stains
    There was no denying
    Although I was trying
    To renounce your love, and denounce it in vain
    The warriors could make it out plain,
    Because it was written all over my face in uppercase…
    L -O -V -E
    That’s when they hand cuffed me
    So now I’m cuffed to your love, or is it that I’m tied to your mind
    Whatever the case may be, I know I'll be incarcerated in your soul for a long time
    Incapable of being mentally free, incapable of being physically me
    I am so attached, that I cannot leave…
    Nevertheless, just when I think I am stuck
    Reality hits and slaps me around like a truck
    I am not really handcuffed to your soul
    Rather, I'm in a cell hold
    I’ll be released in the mourn
    Just to be back torn
    Bitter because illusion never really changed
    Into something real within my range
    I will never be sentenced to life in your mind
    Because I guess, I have yet to do a hard enough crime
    Although I thought getting arrested in your thoughts and found in your lost,
    Cuffed to your heart unable to part
    Caught with your blood on my hands and playing in your beaches sand,
    I thought that was enough…




    Posted by Falon Monet, 17 May 2010.

  • The first book I co-authored -- after two years' work -- sold 900 copies. I decided then that writing a book wouldn't change my life and if I ever wrote another one, it would be because I had a passion to say what I wanted to write. Soon after that I discovered myself married to an alcoholic. Also, instead of working with addicts at the treatment center where I worked, they assigned me to work with the spouses. Ugh! An unrewarding, confusing task. Although certain Life had made two large errors (at work and in my marriage), I stepped up to the plate and took on the challenge. When I found something that helped me deal with my pain, I helped the women in group at work. But then my real Minerva Moment came when I was touring Florida. The only time my speeches and workshops "worked" -- the only time what I did had meaning -- wasn't when I spouted profoundities and looked my best. My Minerva Moments came only when I did my work from a place of love for the people I wrote and talked to. Love is the ingredient that heals others and makes us Minerva women, no matter how smart, educated, non-educated, or passionate we may be. May Love always be the force that guides me for the rest of my days on this earth.

    Posted by Melody, 6 May 2010.

  • Maria how inspiring that you are celebrating poetry. A poem I would like to share

    Mirrored Windows

    The soaring bird crashes
    drops to the ground
    the visions was a deceit
    no branches to grasp and perch
    no fruit to peck and savor
    only an illusion producing
    the end of all flight

    Another dimension
    you lost the wind and
    came to me to seek
    refuge in my arms
    you became a victim, a casualty
    of your dreams reflected on
    the mirrored window of my heart

    Posted by Jane Block, 5 May 2010.

  • Technical Difficulties "Soul Mate" should have only posted one time.

    Posted by Shelly Conley, 30 April 2010.

  • Sands of Time
    What happened I don’t understand…It’s like an hourglass that holds quicksand. As confusing as this might be, I lost a branch off of my family tree.
    I’m trying to keep my head above water, Alanis Morisette and where’s my son and daughter.
    I thought I was a good mom, sacrificed while others became strong, it all seems so very wrong.
    I try to keep busy and occupied but I often feel I’ve already died.
    As confusing as this might be I lost a branch off of my family tree.
    I don’t expect you to understand; were you there to lend me a hand? Don’t worry I don’t hold you accountable, Constinoble and Ten Buck Two.
    All I ask is for empathy, you see I lost a branch off of my family tree. The only one to blame is me, you see I wasn’t strong enough, I lost my balance and life got rough.
    Forgive me if this sounds to grim, I’m trying my best, confessed my sin. Where was God when I was down? He is in heaven with Jesus and His holy crown.
    You see God may seem a mystery but all along He’s given us the key. All we have to do is look inside and hold on to hope and faith He will arrive. Until the day of His return we do the best we can and be strong and firm.
    Forgive me if this sounds confusing, I’m not entertaining don’t want to be amusing. You see I lost a branch off my family tree, all I want is for my children to be loved and happy.
    By Shelly Conley March 12, 1997

    Posted by Shelly Conley, 30 April 2010.


  • Sands of Time
    What happened I don’t understand…It’s like an hourglass that holds quicksand. As confusing as this might be, I lost a branch off of my family tree.
    I’m trying to keep my head above water, Alanis Morisette and where’s my son and daughter.
    I thought I was a good mom, sacrificed while others became strong, it all seems so very wrong.
    I try to keep busy and occupied but I often feel I’ve already died.
    As confusing as this might be I lost a branch off of my family tree.
    I don’t expect you to understand; were you there to lend me a hand? Don’t worry I don’t hold you accountable, Constinoble and Ten Buck Two.
    All I ask is for empathy, you see I lost a branch off of my family tree. The only one to blame is me, you see I wasn’t strong enough, I lost my balance and life got rough.
    Forgive me if this sounds to grim, I’m trying my best, confessed my sin. Where was God when I was down? He is in heaven with Jesus and His holy crown.
    You see God may seem a mystery but all along He’s given us the key. All we have to do is look inside and hold on to hope and faith He will arrive. Until the day of His return we do the best we can and be strong and firm.
    Forgive me if this sounds confusing, I’m not entertaining don’t want to be amusing. You see I lost a branch off my family tree, all I want is for my children to be loved and happy.
    By Shelly Conley March 12, 1997

    Posted by Shelly Conley, 30 April 2010.

  • Soul Mate

    How do you feel a oneness in spirit with somebody you have never been intimate with?
    Perhaps, like the full moon that casts its shadow on the ocean’s tide; kissing the salt water without actually touching, as the moons shadow flows across the sea, the chemistry of mother nature is free.
    The oneness in spirit the comforting vibrations, the signals I pick up from a distance, telling me to hold on.
    Holding on like the ship passing through the fog, to the lighthouse’s beacon, the ray of light leading them to safety.
    Caressing your body in spirit, shrouding a cocoon around us, like a safety net. Healing our body’s physically and spiritually.
    The oneness in spirit the comforting vibrations, the signals I pick up from a distance, telling me to hold on.
    A life preserver thrown out for us to grab hold of and never let go; it feels like the reincarnation of lost loves who have found each other.
    A strong overwhelming feeling so compellingly strong its spooky.
    All the while embracing the oneness in spirit the comforting vibrations, signals I pick up from a distance telling me to hold on.
    Having faith that if this is the time in mother nature’s design that our souls will become one and nothing will separate us.
    Waking up from my dream, my conversation with God, I take a deep cleansing breath, imagining the smell of the salt water on the sand, reminding me that mother nature has just made love; having faith that God in his timing will give me my hearts desire.
    The oneness in spirit the comforting vibration, the signals I pick up from a distance telling me to hold on.
    By Shelly Conley

    Posted by Shelly Conley, 30 April 2010.

  • On my first read, "Boy" was a good read. I seemed to have lost my Poetry Mojo over the years. I do Love children's poems. Umm yes, it's my kind of level, sorry to say! :)

    Posted by frenz4frenz, 9 April 2010.