Find a New Year’s Resolution at Berfrois!

Poem WalkingNew Year’s resolutions sounding redundant? Bored with the idea of giving up potato chips and dip for another year? Discouraged just looking at the stationary bike you got for Christmas?

Read the Toads post “Why Read Poetry?” at Berfrois, and make poetry a New Year’s resolution!


  1. Thanks for the reminder. At times I catch a word among homeless white clouds or falling autumn leaves, but mostly I must look down and stir up the mould in my dreams.

    1. Joe Linker says:

      Thx for reading and commenting, Ashen. For everything there is a word, or could be, if we could just catch it at the right moment:

      1. Thx for the link, Joe. Great to come upon this strong essay after what seems a lifetime, though reading it now I observe the socially and linguistically conditioned custom of discourse that omits that a poet could be a ‘she.’.

        1. Joe Linker says:

          I like they, as one solution, even if following singular. But I thought the “naming things” section you’d find interesting, following up on your comment. But pronouns name things too, of course.

          1. :) I love the way Emerson puts this … the poet … stands one step nearer to things, and sees the flowing or metamorphosis; perceives that thought is multiform; that within the form of every creature is a force impelling it to ascend into a higher form; and, following with his eyes the life, uses the forms which express that life, and so his speech flows with the flowing of nature …

            1. Joe Linker says:

              Yes, and Robert Bly I think is in that tradition: Bly said, “The fundamental world of poetry is an inward world. We approach it through solitude”: And, on a different note, John Lennon once said that a poet’s job was to wander around all day taking the time to observe what others had not time for, and then to present or give what was seen in poems to those too busy to wander or note or see. But Bly’s business about solitude – Thoreau said he was lonely only once and that for a short time, and though he lived in solitude (so to speak), was never lonely again. So apparently a certain kind of solitude leads toward a communion of some kind.

              1. For me, solitude is like the inner garden to my world, where I can return to between each breath so as not get overwhelmed by billions of other worlds, a virtual place where I can choose to tune into the dissonance or resonance required to expand my consciousness and find greater coherence and communion within and without. At times I hide in that garden and am pleased if someone comes by reminding me there is work to do – like you :)

                1. Joe Linker says:

                  Remember Rilke’s angel? … That business about being overwhelmed. … Reminded of Aldous Huxley, Doors of Perception, I think, where he argues the five senses are for filtering the world out, not letting it in, for if it all came in at once, we’d be overwhelmed.

  2. Good essay. When you start looking for poetry in the self-consciously beautiful, it takes a long time to dig down to the real poetry, the stuff that makes things grow in your mind. As to “craft,” I disagree.There’s a poetic craft just as there’s a plumbers’ craft – the knowledge and skill to make something happen. I think the word is misused, often by people with very little craft, to suggest non-existent qualities or claim kinship with the common man.

    1. Joe Linker says:

      Yes, I believe in craft, in the guild, in apprenticeships. Philip Roth wrote a book, The Great American Novel, narrator named Word Smith, a sports writer. First few pages a torrent of word-smithing. Reminded of Ring Lardner, a craftsman, and E. B. White, who wrote for deadlines at so many cents per word, piece work, we called it, when I was an apprentice installing cabinets. And there’s that Dylan Thomas poem, the “sullen craft.” I think I may have been influenced in that post having seen the word craft maybe one too many times lately, a workshop designed to craft a letter, for example. Well, maybe we do craft letters, and this is just sour attitude. But when we were making cabinets, we never said we were crafting cabinets. We just built them. My father, a plumber, “by trade,” as he used to say, who used to go down to “the union hall” when he was out of work, never used the word craft. But enough. I think you hit on the problem in your last sentence, poets working their craft then claiming some sort of solidarity: first this:
      then this:

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