Natasha Bowman

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Favorite poems

What's your favorite poem?
Sat, 13 Oct 2018 04:09 am
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Right now I probably have 2 of them. One, a poem my mom wrote for my grandma years ago, and two, 'heosphoros' by elPintor here on Write Out Loud.
Sat, 13 Oct 2018 05:45 pm
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Natasha Bowman

Thanks for the response! Do you mind me asking what your moms poem to your grandmother was about?
Sat, 13 Oct 2018 11:38 pm
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No, I don't mind at all.

The poem I am referring to is in a storage unit as we speak, but if I remember correctly it was a poem about wolves in the winter, and my mother addressed some of the key lines in it to her own mother (my grandma). For years my grandma had the poem framed in her room. One copy, never saved anywhere else. I need to be sure to save it someday before it gets lost forever. If I ever do post it, I will be sure to back it up as well.

What about you? What is your favorite poem?
Sun, 14 Oct 2018 04:19 am
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Natasha Bowman

It sounds like it was great poem. It also makes me reflect on why I never wrote a poem about my own mother. Yeah if you ever find it or go looking I definitely would like to read it. One of the reasons I created this discussion is because outside of this blog I don really read poetry. I was curious about everyone else’s favorites hoping to stumble upon my own. Its like food I guess of course I eat and like other food but Mac&chesse is my favorite. I want to find that kind of favorite poem. If that makes sense. It probably doesn’t...
Sun, 14 Oct 2018 07:03 am
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No, it makes sense. My favorite type to write though, is free verse, as it does not restrict imagination in any sense. It is 10x harder to rhyme for a strict rhyme scheme in a rigid poem of rules than it is to rhyme for a free verse poem (for some anyways).

Of course, rhyme is not everyone's cup of tea. I prefer to rhyme because when I was younger I noticed how every poet I read as a kid - not one of them rhymed more than 2 words at the end of their lines. I always thought to myself, "Hey I could do that, but I could do more."

I never really read poetry either (minus maybe some Pablo Neruda) before coming on Write Out Loud. Now that I've been here, 2 of my 3 favorite poets are on this site. That's how little poetry I've read. Honestly, I always used to think it was boring. That's another reason I rhyme in my work, otherwise I'm just putting pretty words together in unison and feel like I could always do more with them. If you got it, use it right?

Then again, I'm a perfectionist when I write, so please take what I say with a huge grain of salt and a shot of rye.

Also, everyone always has their own suggestions on what to read up on, but you can never go wrong with some classics. Think Harlem Renaissance, war poets of pretty much any engagement, and even some of the Beat Generation.
Sun, 14 Oct 2018 01:52 pm
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Hi everybody! May I jump in with some suggestions?

For starters Rudyard Kipling's "If" is an incredible piece. It contains some of the most moving words I have ever read and it's in impeccable rhyme! Check it out, you absolutely must!

Also Edna St. Vincent Millay is awesome! Everything she wrote was beautiful but if I have to give you one in specific I'd say, most of all: "First Fig". Short, strong and it summarises the human condition in four bright lines! But do take the time to explore more of her work, like "Dirge Without Music" and "Blue Flag in the Bog" and many many more!

Also you might enjoy reading Whalt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass! From the entire anthology the one I love the most is "Oh Me, Oh Life". If you have watched the movie "Dead Poet's Society" you probably know it. But it's worth reading it on your own time and pondering. Beautiful!

Great writers have passed from this Earth! It is impossible to know them all! Great poems have been written and are being written as we speak! It is impossible to read them all! I think if one wants to read good poetry they should begin with the great ones and the classics! At least that's what I do and so far I'm happy! Then with time one starts to discover those less known. People that are much like you and me. So my advice to you, Oh bright young one!, is marvel at the rich heritage our fellow humans left us, read as much as you can, explore the work of people as different from you and from each other as possible, read in whatever language you know! Read your fellow poets here in WOL and read the great ones too! They're all important!

There is Robert Frost, and Emily Dickinson and E.E. Cummings ("I carry your heart with me")!
Charles Baudelaire ("The Flowers of Evil") and Lord Byron and William Ernest Henley ("Invictus" which was Nelson Mandela's favorite poem!)
and Isaak Asimov and Percy Bryce Shelley and Jane Austen and Maya Angelou and Hugh Langston and oh so many more!

Words that really stick with you:

Robert Frost: aside from "The Road not Taken" which is his most popular, I like "Fire and Ice".

Emily Dickinson: EVERYTHING! But my personal favorite is: "Because I could not stop for Death",

John Donne "No man is an island."

Dylan Thomas!: "Do not go gentle into that good night"!

Turns out there is no such thing as -a favorite poem-!

"One Art" by Elizabeth Bishop!

And last but not least "The Howl! By Allen Ginsberg!"

(You can find everything online of cource!)

You probably already know all those poets I mentionned and perhaps their work is old news and cliche. But for a person who wasn't raised in an anglophone environment, like myself, they are sheer enlightenment!

And now I will shut up because I can go on like this forever!

Oh and one last and that's it, I'm shutting it: "The night has a thousand eyes!" by some guy named Francis William Bourdillion. I know nothing about him (yet) only that one piece and it's wonderful.

Oh, It never ends!!!! There is no time in this lifetime!!!

Also, Big Sal, I checked out elPintor's "Heosphoros"! It is very good indeed!

Thank you!

Mae
Sun, 14 Oct 2018 07:14 pm
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Glad you enjoyed it Mae. elP is an underrated legend I think. If you also haven't perused it yet, check out my friend John E. Marks blogs here on Write Out Loud as well, he is also one of my favorite poets overall. Beautiful words and I myself have learned much by being on this site, and especially by reading poets I enjoy here.

Check out John's poem 'Metempsychosis', it's one of the ones I check back on frequently.

I like Robert Frost's poetry, no matter how cliched it may be.

John Donne was excellent. William Carlos Williams was great but pretentious toward rhyming poetry. Jimmy Santiago Baca used to be a favorite for a while until I found Pablo Neruda. Lots of old poetry is great. Maya Angelou's work was one of my high school respites.

To me, there are only a handful of poets I have ever read that are truly mind blowing in how talented they are, and I don't say that lightly. So, personally (for me) I prefer to read a small amount of exponentially excellent art than to indulge in a lot of it diluted at once. No offense to those that do, but shit, I don't think I can remember that many words. I can't even memorize my own poems. Power to those that do though, eclectic reading habits beget some truly great things.

Again, great talking with you Mae, nice of you to jump in with some worthy suggestions. I can talk all day and never say a damn thing.😁

Sun, 14 Oct 2018 11:18 pm
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Thank you for yor suggestions! And for reading mine!
Mon, 15 Oct 2018 12:11 am
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Anytime Mae. You're one of the good ones.😁
Mon, 15 Oct 2018 12:14 am
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Aww 😁 Thanks!
Mon, 15 Oct 2018 12:23 am
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Natasha Bowman

Where have I been all day😂! You guys are awesome. I think I'm gonna do like Mae said and work from the classics onward. I can tell I'm gonna be busy for awhile with all the suggestions. And I haven't heard of any of the poems or poets you guys mentioned. Thanks for giving me something new to play with. Maybe I'll never find my favorite poem.
Ill be greedy and have more than one😆.
Mon, 15 Oct 2018 01:48 am
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Glad to be of service. Keep hunting those gems!💪
Mon, 15 Oct 2018 02:31 am
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I'm glad you're satisfied with our suggestions! Yes, be greedy! 💓
Mon, 15 Oct 2018 10:31 am
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Natasha Bowman

I really enjoyed “IF” by Rudyard Kipling. Your right Mae it’s one of the most moving poems I have ever read. I like the simplicity of his words and to me the underlying message is humility. My favorite lines are-
“If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss”

Reminds me to take chances in life and if they don’t work out or if I come back empty handed. Try and try again. And not complain about the outcome of my choices.
Tue, 16 Oct 2018 01:35 am
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I'm glad you read it, these are my favorite lines too, maybe the strongest words in the entire piece. And your insight is spot-on! And that' not all! In my opinion if you read between the lines you'll find that there 's another notion suggested. He doesn't just encourage one to take chances, he also implies that there's a time for everything. A time to risk and a time to hold back. And that you should always dream but not fixate on your dreams irreversibly, invest but remain cautiously optimistic and keep your feet on the ground becaise life is complicated and sometimes dreams don't come true, sad as it may be. I think it's a very brave move to tell something like that to a person . It's s easy to mindlessly motivate people and say things like "Never stop dreaming" and "if you really want something to happen it will" but nobody wants to admit the sax possibility of failure that comes with the harshness of life. You may fail. Nevertheless you must continue! And that you must't just dream you must also take action!: "If you can dream and not make dreams your master." Beautiful line. Also one of the wisest words I've ever encountered: "If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster and treat those two impostors just the same!" . No disaster is absolute and no triumph is everlasting. There can be light even in the darkest of times and at the same time you should remember that happiness and victory are feeting and fickle. Hence Triumph and Disaster are both Impostors; an illusion if you will; and should be handled as such; Indulge yet show a subtle reservation. One should be cautious and never let neither calamity nor success get too deep inside one's head. Natasha thank you for getting back to me after reading! Fell free to do it again, I love discussing poetry! And since you loved "If" allow me to suggest: "The angel of Patience" by Max Jacob.
Tue, 16 Oct 2018 10:59 am
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"If" is imperialist bullshittery of the first water. I like all the other choices.

My favourite poen is "A Step Away from Them" by Frank O'Hara.

Tue, 16 Oct 2018 03:03 pm
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I'm sorry Steven...I'm not British so I don't know the historical and political facts that follow Rudyard Kipling, I have no idea about his belief system. I just like the poem because It's written beautifully. Other than that, I vaguely know that Kipling was a debatable figure but I know nothing further.
Color me intrigued, though! Before I go on and finally read (long overduue) a certain huge book about Kipling that happens to be sitting and gathering dust on my book shelf for quite a long time now and see what you mean, the only thing I can think of that may justify the fact that I like this poem, even though the man who wrote it might have had some sort of questionable political/geopolitical agenda or bias, is these words that Oscar Wilde said:
“There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book.
Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.” And I think I agree, and not just as far as books are concerned but regarding any piece of art in any form of art."
Of course there's always the possibility that I'll learn something new that will change my mind but, so far, I like the few pieces of Kipling I've read.
Also, I looked up "A step away from them" and I like it! Completely different style, rather unique. More down to earth.
Tue, 16 Oct 2018 06:06 pm
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Natasha Bowman

Sometimes its good to know about the lives of the writers who's work we admire. Sometimes not so much.I mean we all post our poetry on WOL. But if you think about it we're complete and total strangers. I could be writing this from the inside of a prison cell and no one would know. But I understand where Steven is coming from too I wouldn't read anything Hitler wrote because I know who he is. Still some people love his book "Mein Kampft". Nevertheless like Mae I still find "If" an outstanding poem. And maybe that's because I'm ignorant as to who Rudyard Kipling was but you know what they say. Ignorance is bliss.
Tue, 16 Oct 2018 07:22 pm
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You know, Natasha, I've been thinking about it and I can't decide...I always thought it's better to know, although it might as you said result in having your idols shattered. On one hand you have to know something in order to be able reject or accept it, because either one should be the result of an educated decision. But on the other hand it's tricky; especially when it comes to art. Because an artist as a person can be rotten and descpicable but his art can be marvelous. Just think about Dali. I won't mention his eccentricity and dysfunctionality on every aspect of his life because that may have been the result of some sort of mental condition and you can't blame one for that; but other than that the man was a self-centered megalomaniac, the absolute attention junky who would do anything for publicity and while we touched the political issue; he didn't exactly rush to stand against the Franko regime. He lived a perfectly lavish, extravagant, flamboyant life! Yet his artitsic contribution was resonant and his art itself was magnificent and will always remain legendary! I don't know. Maybe ignorance is bliss but the thing is ignorance can be dangerous sometimes...
Tue, 16 Oct 2018 08:08 pm
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Pablo Neruda often praised Stalinism in his political posts of Chile, and was a staunch Communist. This fact did nothing to diminish his role as one of the greatest poets ever. No one even cares what he did or what he believed. They look at the man for the culture and the art he produced during his turbulent lifetime.

Kardadzic is still read and revered by some for his poetry, even though he was a despicable war criminal. Then again, nothing Kardadzic ever did was even close to what Neruda could achieve with a fraction of the ink.

It goes hand in hand I think. People still love Kanye West even though he's a straight up mo-ron. People are attracted to eccentricity, even if that doesn't equate to true art or talent in any way.

Mae you are absolutely correct, ignorance is indeed dangerous. Especially when it's spouted by those that like to pretend they have an inkling of intelligence in a matter.

Good input as well, Natasha.
Tue, 16 Oct 2018 09:19 pm
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Natasha Bowman

I guess it all just boils down to a persons conscience on the matter. If they feel comfortable admiring the words of a person whom society and even we ourselves view unworthy of admiration.
Wed, 17 Oct 2018 12:35 am
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I couldn't have said it better myself. I recently had to come to the very same decision very recently. Great point made.👍
Wed, 17 Oct 2018 12:47 am
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Natasha Bowman

I really enjoyed the poem first fig by Edna st Vincent Millay
“My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—
It gives a lovely light!”

For more than one reason

1. It was short.
2. It rhymed
3. In my own interpretation of the poem is about a moment In her life or moments . The candle represents time but perhaps not time literally. Because she says it won’t last the night it gives the impression of a day. But the words foe and friends makes me feel it’s longer than a single day. It takes a while to make friends and foes those types of relationships are not built over night. I also like that she uses ad libs (are they called ad libs ) like ah and oh. Ah gives the feeling that she finds them distasteful and oh shows that her friends are endearing to her. So in a nutshell the events of her life both the good and bad are seen clearly by her friends and foes.
The feeling of the poem to me is that of exasperation. She feels as though she can’t bare through her struggles. And no ones exactly helping or hurting her. Just watching her burnout.
Wed, 17 Oct 2018 12:59 am
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Natasha Bowman

Thanks Sal. Also these kinds of decisions are not easy and shape our life. Even if it’s a small or big thing they matter. They shape who we are.
Wed, 17 Oct 2018 01:04 am
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That's a great excerpt you posted. Word choice is probably the biggest factor for me in a poem, and that little piece combined the words well. Thanks for sharing it.
Wed, 17 Oct 2018 08:47 pm
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Hi again! First of all let me say, good point Natasha, we must always to follow our conscience. It's not always easy, it takes courage.
As for First Fig, you couldn't have said it better! For me it's like this: Those four lines are summed up in one word: "lifetime". Now this word is comprised of two words:"life" and "time". The candle "burning at both ends" marks our time alive, from the moment we are born we race towards the grave. We cannot survive "the night", namely "death". And this is the end of our time. So the first two lines cover "time" . The last two lines go under "life". What is "life"? Ourselves, the people that surround us, our demons and our passions, namely friends and foes; but most important of all our life is how we spend our time! What we create, what we offer! The lovely light.
No matter how short our time may be, and it may be shorter than we think, the edifice of our civilization, the products of our creativity will live on after our passing. For me it also expresses her fear that maybe her days are numbered. Maybe it's a confession, a proclamation, her last words before the candle burns out completely: "I am not afraid! I did what I had to do, I stayed true to my conscience (😉) I offered what I had to offer, my heart and soul. I regret nothing. I am free! And now I am ready to part. I may have been nothing more than a grain of sand but, merged with myriads of others like me to build the most beautiful glass sculpture of my time! Or, even more simply: I am the eyes of old men and women, the lenses within the rims that give them sight and maybe thanks to me those lonely ones that won't die in the arms of a loved one will have a good book near their pillow, they'll die surrounded by beautiful words.
I help fashion the glass embrace that shields the precious kindle that gives us light with the click of a switch! Be it day or night. Little as my time was it was well spent. You'd be surprised what great power a humble grain of sand holds. My contribution to humanity will shine forever!
Or even more simply: I lived a happy life full of love and compassion and I made others happy through that love and compassion of mine and that was enough to brighten up the place for as long as it lasted and maybe after that too!

Thanks!
Mae
Thu, 18 Oct 2018 04:52 pm
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I'm an old man. Most people don't and won't live as long as I have. I've been very lucky so far. I read many poems on WOL and so many of them are about 'love', many about unhappiness, many are funny - with a point, some will last and most will be forgotten (including mine). The 'best' are the words that grip the reader by the heart, that one cannot bear to read. Kafka said "... stories that please us we could write ourselves ...". Look up Jon Silkin's "Death of a Son". if you can find it, it's intensely personal and very sad but has a kind of almost ethereal beauty. Too painful to call it a favourite perhaps, like Wilfrid Owen's "Dulce et Decorum Est". I find myself thinking of too many examples. Perhaps favourite is the wrong word for me, maybe I just use it to express the idea that poetry should be less about ourselves and more about trying to reach basic truths, or just communicate with people who think as we do - or even don't. I may find out someday.
Sun, 6 Jan 2019 03:52 pm
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Only time can tell which ones will remain and which ones will be forgotten.

Very good points you have raised, Alan.

I can only hope my words survive longer than I do, I guess that's the only thing a writer can hope for at this point. There are no magical rainbows of riches unless you've got the connections to do so. Talent and true poetic diction has nothing to do with success in the poetry's world anymore (If it ever did).

Now it seems all that it takes to be remembered is writing a four line ballad and having an Instagram account. The Internet remembers, remember?
Sun, 6 Jan 2019 05:37 pm
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Reaching basic truths, I agree, that should be the purpose of poetry, but because should and poetry can't really be in the same sentence I'd like to bring in the notion of cause to the table too.
I read "Death of a Son" as well as "Dulce at Decorum Est" and I have to say I got chills. As far as the former is concerned I liked the structure. It had rhythm but it was free and the picture it painted was a bit vague, I think because it was allegorical, IF I'm not mistaken and I like that kind of writing a lot. If only I could write like this... As for the latter, I still have chills running up and down my spine; the gory images are so vivid, it's like I'm there in the field with them... Free structure again... I loved both of them. Thank you Alan, sir.

Mae
13 days ago
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Hi Mae. I'm glad you liked those poems, it's nice to get a sympathetic response. In fact, Silkin wrote down what he felt directly after the death of his son (aged 1) - he said he was reluctant because he felt that it was in some way a desecration of the child. The full quotation is in the 'Penguin Book of Contemporary Verse', which was published in 1950 (!!) but reprinted many times - a volume that became my 'bible' when I started to take writing seriously. I dare say that it will seem out of date nowadays, but there is a lot of good writing in it, from Yeats to Plath, as well as interesting commentary by the anthologiser, Kenneth Allott..
12 days ago
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Hi Steven Waling (Posted way back then); I looked up the O'Hara and you are absolutely right it is good - a piece of life, brilliantly described. I don't know if it will be a favourite for me but I'll tell people about it.
But don't be too hard on Kipling, he was a product of his age and some of his writing was very good of its time. 'If' is just the sort of thing that fathers say (or used to say) to their sons when they've had a drop too much port and are feeling pontifical.
12 days ago
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I have to admit, with a bit if shame, there are a few names there in your response, yours too Bog Sal, that I've never heard of. I have a little homework to do!
"Felling pontifical." I hadn't thought of it that way. Sort of funny well put pun too! I think this is the best insight on the issue of Kipling so far in this conversation!
12 days ago
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You're always a good one in my book, Mae. Keep on keeping on, and I know you'll uncover the greatest poetry known to mankind.

No exaggeration.😁
12 days ago
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Wow! Thanks Big Sal! 🌷 Always good to hear a nice word from the wise ones!
11 days ago
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