Seán Ó. Ríordáin (translated from the Irish by Greg Delanty)
One icy morning I went out. A handkerchief hung from a bush. I reached to put it in my pocket. Frozen, it slid from my grip.
from the book Apathy Is Out / Bloodaxe Books

What Sparks Poetry is a serialized feature in which we invite poets to explore experiences and ideas that spark new poems.

In the series The Poems of Others, we’ve invited poets to pay homage to a poem that first sparked poetry in them—a poem they read that gave them permission to write poetry or the idea that they might write it—a poem that led them down the path to becoming a poet.

Each essay is accompanied by a writing prompt based on an observation about the poem.

Teri Ellen Cross Davis on Lucille Clifton's "study the masters"
Photo: Teri Ellen Cross Davis
Roger Reeves
         Who isn't dying to leave this house, To go masked only in the shadow of one's animal- Breathing, lonesome, unprotected, knowing Nothing lives as foreignness or death, That the black dog with the sword in his mouth Passing from house to house will not bring its itch . . .
Luisa Muradyan
I hold him close and walk away from other mothers singing their own version of don't be afraid
Vénus Khoury-Ghata (translated from the French by Marilyn Hacker)
it should have been beautiful and it was merely sad gardens departed this life more slowly than men
David Kirby
            I'm actually looking for another street when I turn into the Via Tornabuoni, named for the Tornabuoni family                     and specifically its patriarch, Giovanni, banker and patron of the arts in Florence . . .

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Each member of our diverse board selects poems for our daily poem feature and works with us to identify new outstanding, interesting publications for our thousands of daily readers.