Sunday, May 06, 2007



Here are the poems to vote for in week six of my Daily Poem Project (the poems on Poetry Daily from Monday, April 30, to Sunday, May 6):

36. Susan Stewart, "The Lost Colony"
37. Kevin McFadden, "The Ides of Amer-I-Can"
38. Robin Ekiss, "Vanitas Mundi"
39. John Skoyles, "The Wish Mind"
40. Dan Gerber, "Bodhisattva"
41. Gabriel Fried, "Traveling Fair"
42. James Longenbach, "A Different Route"

The Rules:

You can send your vote to me by email or as a comment on the blog. If you want to vote by commenting but do not want your vote to appear on the blog, you just have to say so in your comment (I moderate all comments). In any case, I will not post the comments until after the final vote is in (secret ballot). Please vote by the number of the poem in the list above! Please make a final decision and vote for only one poem! Please VOTE BY THURSDAY, MAY 10!

Abstaining: If you read the poems but decide that there is no poem that you want to vote for, I'd like to know that you have decided to abstain.

Results of previous weeks:
Week One
Week Two
Week Three
Week Four
Week Five


Talia Reed said...

I vote for number 36

Unknown said...

DEar Andrew While I Think Fried And Longenbach seem to be aware of the decadence of all native-language traditions, only Skoyles transcends it with his compassionte disillusion.So he as my vote. Best wishes Duncan

Jonathan said...

Susan Stewart.

Donald Brown said...

I suppose it's heartening that the poems this week all involve some kind of soul-searching about the current malaise of America, but... I'm not very convinced by any of them.

More interesting to me is what difference an opening makes. The first two stanzas of #38, Ekiss' "Vanitas Mundi" are so good, then it gets tedious with examples not really cohering -- and the "war on terror" reference is just clumsy (Borat already made the point more effectively, "We are supporting your war of terror"). Longenbach's "A Different Route" begins badly (parts 1 and 2), gets better (parts 3 and 4), then ends in some middling place between the two.

McFadden's "The Ides of Amer-I-Can" is so dismal I don't want to talk about it, and Gerber's "Bodhisattva" does nothing for me; Skoyles' "The Wish Mind" seems to me in search of a dominant idea, but any poem that tries to "define" Eternity isn't likely to capture my imagination. The librarian verse was the only one I really liked, but I don't see what "eternity" has to do with it.

So, that leaves me with Stewart's "The Lost Colony" (#36) and Fried's "Traveling Fair" (#41). Stewart's is interesting, deft, but it starts to lose grace with "had ranks / and staff and lecterns, / machines that moved them / from place to place," and the young/old lines seem kind of beside the point. Really like the ending line though.

That could win, but I'm going to surprise myself by voting for #41. It's not the kind of thing I usually go for (so slice of life), but I think, in its attempt to explore clichés of American midwest life, it gets at something more relevant to all this red/blue stuff. And the second stanza (this is important) begins with some of the best writing: "These are moments of slack, of wander, / of full reversion to the old calm: / the feel of dough and pleasure of ascension." And the ending feels truly worried to me, not like that grandiose opening of Longenbach's or the cheap shot at "war on terror" in Ekiss (who are both probably better poets, in a sense, than Fried).

My vote: #41, runner-up: #36.

Anonymous said...

Well, without TOO much difficulty,
I narrowed it down to TWO, #40 and #42. Then I hemmed and hawed awhile longer,
and finally chose just ONE, #40 ... for its brevity, sharp focus, and real-world-truth-liness (even though #42 has greater appeal
to me in several other ways).

-- dhsh

Bruce Loebrich said...

Here's my ranked list (my favorite is at the top):

38. Robin Ekiss, "Vanitas Mundi"
36. Susan Stewart, "The Lost Colony"
42. James Longenbach, "A Different Route"
37. Kevin McFadden, "The Ides of Amer-I-Can"
39. John Skoyles, "The Wish Mind"
41. Gabriel Fried, "Traveling Fair"
40. Dan Gerber, "Bodhisattva"