Poetry Daily

What Sparks Poetry

Object Lessons

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

In our current series, Object Lessons, we’re thinking about the relationship between the experienced and imagined world. We have asked our editors and invited poets to present one of their own poems in combination with the object that inspired it, and to meditate on the magical journey from object to poem.

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Mysteriously, the speaker and the friend, and you and I, might become one mind in the poem; we could intuit something illegible but true, together. The energy of our consciousness is trying to make itself known by and against the energy of everything incomprehensible outside it.

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Is there a moment—in its fresh-cast-ness or in its emptying—when the Buddha is more wholly Buddha? My poem attempts, I hope, to confront these questions, not answer them.

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Poets turn to objects not only because there is a pen in my hand and a jar of almonds on my desk but also because objects give form to the abstractions—feelings, thoughts, questions—that brought us to write in the first place. 

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I thought about the future—and the shores my daughter would stand on—every time we played in water. Play with a young child is always about the objects themselves, but at the same time always seems somehow allegorical. A story unfolds.

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