“Ithaca”, a poem by C. P. Cavafy. This was Jackie Kennedy’s favorite poem. It was read at her memorial service.

House-museum of Cavafy, Alexandria courtesy of Roland Unger under CC BY-SA 3.0

“In these dark rooms I pass
such listless days, I wander up and down
looking for the windows – when a window opens
there will be some relief.
But there are no windows, or at least
I cannot find them. And perhaps it’s just as well.
Perhaps the light would prove another torment.
Who knows what new things it would reveal?
C.P. Cavafy, Windows  



When you set out for Ithaka
ask that your way be long,
full of adventure, full of instruction.
The Laistrygonians and the Cyclops,
angry Poseidon – do not fear them:
such as these you will never find
as long as your thought is lofty, as long as a rare
emotion touch your spirit and your body.
The Laistrygonians and the Cyclops,
angry Poseidon – you will not meet them
unless you carry them in your soul,
unless your soul raise them up before you.

Ask that your way be long.
At many a Summer dawn to enter
with what gratitude, what joy –
ports seen for the first time;
to stop at Phoenician trading centres,
and to buy good merchandise,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
and sensuous perfumes of every kind,
sensuous perfumes as lavishly as you can;
to visit many Egyptian cities,
to gather stores of knowledge from the learned.

Have Ithaka always in your mind.
Your arrival there is what you are destined for.
But don’t in the least hurry the journey.
Better it last for years,
so that when you reach the island you are old,
rich with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to give you wealth.
Ithaka gave you a splendid journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She hasn’t anything else to give you.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka hasn’t deceived you.
So wise you have become, of such experience,
that already you’ll have understood what these Ithakas mean.

– Constantine P. Cavafy

Poems courtesy of Poem Hunter.

If you are reading this post from an email subscription, you’ll likely have to link through to the site to view this video of Sean Connery reading “Ithaca.”

Constantine Peter Cavafy (Konstantinos Petrou Kavafis) (1863 – 1933) was an Egyptian-Greek poet, journalist and civil servant. His singular style earned him a place among important figures in both Greek and Western poetry. Cavafy wrote 154 poems, most after he turned forty. His poems were officially published posthumously. You’ll find many of Cavafy’s poems online and there are several collections of complete poems and selected poems, unfinished poems, and an Oxford Word Classics edition with Greek and English side-by-side. The Onassis Foundation hosts a comprehensive site, The Poet, His Oeuvre and His Era, which is quite interesting. In 2014 Pen America hosted a celebration to honor Cavafy that includes readings by André Aciman, Michael Cunningham, Mark Doty, Olympia Dukakis, Craig Dykers (of Snøhetta), Edmund Keeley, Daniel Mendelsohn, Orhan Pamuk, Dimitris Papaioannou, and Kathleen Turner. Find it HERE.



ABOUT 

Jamie Dedes. I’m a Lebanese-American freelance writer, poet, content editor, blogger and the mother of a world-class actor and mother-in-law of a stellar writer/photographer. No grandchildren, but my grandkitty, Dahlia, rocks big time. I am hopelessly in love with nature and all her creatures. In another lifetime, I was a columnist, a publicist, and an associate editor to a regional employment publication. I’ve had to reinvent myself to accommodate scarred lungs, pulmonary hypertension, right-sided heart failure, connective tissue disease, and a rare managed but incurable blood cancer. The gift in this is time for my primary love: literature. I study/read/write from a comfy bed where I’ve carved out a busy life writing feature articles, short stories, and poetry and managing The BeZine and its associated activities and The Poet by Day jamiededes.com, an info hub for writers meant to encourage good but lesser-known poets, women and minority poets, outsider artists, and artists just finding their voices in maturity. The Poet by Day is dedicated to supporting freedom of artistic expression and human rights.  Email thepoetbyday@gmail.com for permissions, commissions, or assignments.

Testimonials / Disclosure / Facebook

Recent and Upcoming in Digital Publications * The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice, August 11, 2019 / This short story is dedicated to all refugees. That would be one in every 113 people. * Five poems, Spirit of Nature, Opa Anthology of Poetry, 2019 * From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems), July 2019 * Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review, July 2019 * Three poems, Our Poetry Archive, September 2019


“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

Ours Poetica, a new tri-weekly video series from The Poetry Foundation and Complexly

Poetry Foundation Library Building in Chicago courtesy of Alanscottwalker under CC BY-SA 3.0 license.

“With me poetry has not been a purpose, but a passion.”  Edgar Allan Poe



The Poetry Foundation and Complexly announce Ours Poetica, a new tri-weekly video series that will capture the intimacy and physicality of holding a book while engaging with a poem read by a distinctive voice. Poet Paige Lewis, author of Space Struck, curates the series, and author, YouTube pioneer, and Complexly co-founder John Green, and creator, curator, and host of The Art Assignment, Sarah Urist Green, produce the new poetry-centric series. The series will launch with a live screening and discussion at the Poetry Foundation on September 12.

If you are reading this post from an email subscription, you’ll likely have to link through to the site to view this video trailer about Ours Poetica.

Ours Poetica, publishing at YouTube.com/OursPoetica every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, will provide an approachable entry point to poetry through a familiar format. The series will feature poets, writers, artists—and sometimes unexpected guests—who have an interest in poetry. Guests including Ashley C. Ford, Shailene Woodley, Erika L. Sanchez, Jacqueline Woodson, and Ilya Kaminsky will make poetry personal by reading a poem that is meaningful to them, and discussing their connection to it, or inspiration for it. Poems come first in Ours Poetica, as the videos will focus on the readers’ hands and the book or notepad from which they’re reading. This emphasis on the words and their placement on the page create an intimate space for viewers. The videos offer the opportunity to experience the poem through the reader’s point of view.

“There are many poetry videos online that focus on the reader’s expression, movement or performance. We saw an opportunity to present a complementary and fresh visual way to discover poetry by focusing on the words, the language, and the readers’ cadences,” said Paige Lewis, Ours Poetica curator. “It’s as if the viewer is holding the book in their own hands while hearing a poem read aloud.”

Lewis curates the featured guests and poem selections, aiming to engage new poetry readers, and poetry lovers, alike. The concept sparked from conversations with Complexly, an online video production company that makes popular educational series, including the channels Crash Course and SciShow, which tout more than 15 million subscribers and over a billion video views.

“Poetry is vital and relevant, however as a non-poet myself I understand how it can be viewed as intimidating or academic,” said John Green, co-founder of Complexly. “We wanted to break down this potential barrier, and create a show for people who love poetry, and even more so, for people who love poetry but don’t know it yet.”

Green, author of several novels including The Fault in Our Stars, and Turtles All the Way Down and star of Vlogbrothers, co-produces Ours Poetica with Sarah Urist Green creator and host of The Art Assignment. The duo’s expertise in reaching YouTube viewers and developing vibrant online communities will lend itself to bringing attention to poetry.

“We were drawn to partnering with Paige Lewis and Complexly on this project because we know a curious audience already exists on YouTube, and Ours Poetica can serve as a new discovery point to poetry,” said Sarah Whitcher, marketing and media director at the Poetry Foundation. “It’s a simple yet elegant execution of poem videos, and its approachability reinforces the Poetry Foundation’s belief that poetry is for everyone.”

The series kicks off with the Ours Poetica launch event on Thursday, September 12 at 7:00 PM at the Poetry Foundation at 61 W. Superior Street in Chicago with a reading, screening, and discussion with Lewis, Green, and special guest Kaveh Akbar.

Tri-weekly posting begins on Monday, September 16. For updates, subscribe and follow along on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

This feature is brought to us courtesy of The Poetry Foundation, Complexity, and Wikipedia, and Amazon.

Cover of the current issue of Poetry

About the Poetry Foundation
The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in American culture. It exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience. The Poetry Foundation seeks to be a leader in shaping a receptive climate for poetry by developing new audiences, creating new avenues for delivery, and encouraging new kinds of poetry through innovative literary prizes and programs.

Follow the Poetry Foundation and Poetry on Facebook at facebook.com/poetryfoundation,  facebook.com/poetryfoundationchildren, Twitter @PoetryFound and @Poetrymagazine, and Instagram @PoetryFoundation.

About Complexly
Founded in 2012 by Hank and John Green, Complexly is the production company for Crash Course, SciShow, The Art Assignment, and a dozen other education video channels and podcasts. With a worldwide audience of 20 million subscribers and 2.4 billion views on YouTube, Complexly is one of the largest global online educational companies. We make content that reflects our own enthusiasm for understanding and imagining the world complexly.


ABOUT

Recent in digital publications: 
* Five by Jamie Dedes, Spirit of Nature, Opa Anthology of Poetry, 2019
* From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems)(July 2019)
* The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice (August 11, 2019) / This short story is dedicated to the world’s refugees, one in every 113 people.

A busy though bed-bound poet, writer, former columnist and the former associate editor of a regional employment newspaper, my work has been featured widely in print and digital publications including: Levure littéraireRamingo’s Porch, Vita Brevis Literature, HerStry, Connotation Press, The Bar None Group, Salamander CoveI Am Not a Silent Poet, Meta/ Phor(e) /Play, Woven Tale PressThe Compass Rose and California Woman. I run The Poet by Day, a curated info hub for poets and writers. I founded The Bardo Group / Beguines, pushers of The BeZine of which I am managing editor. Email me at thepoetbyday@gmail.com for permissions or commissions.

Celebrating Poetry Around the World

“[Poetry] is the liquid voice that can wear through stone.”  Adrienne Rich, What is Found There: Notebooks on Poetry and Politics



Apartment repairs, world affairs, and a plethora of other things distracted me from a day (yesterday) that is important to all of us, World Poetry Day . . . but then again for us every day is world poetry day.

“Poetry reaffirms our common humanity by revealing to us that individuals, everywhere in the world, share the same questions and feelings. Poetry is the mainstay of oral tradition and, over centuries, can communicate the innermost values of diverse cultures.

“In celebrating World Poetry Day, March 21, UNESCO recognizes the unique ability of poetry to capture the creative spirit of the human mind.

“A decision to proclaim 21 March as World Poetry Day was adopted during UNESCO’s 30th session held in Paris in 1999.

“One of the main objectives of the Day is to support linguistic diversity through poetic expression and to offer endangered languages the opportunity to be heard within their communities.

“The observance of World Poetry Day is also meant to encourage a return to the oral tradition of poetry recitals, to promote the teaching of poetry, to restore a dialogue between poetry and the other arts such as theatre, dance, music and painting, and to support small publishers and create an attractive image of poetry in the media, so that the art of poetry will no longer be considered an outdated form of art, but one which enables society as a whole to regain and assert its identity.” UNESCO

If you are reading this post from an email subscription, you’ll likely need to link to the site to view “100 Poets. One Poem – Kommune World Poetry Day Special 2019.”  Really, quite a wonderful video. 


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Dame Helen Mirren reads from Tennyson’s “Ulysses”

“I am a part of all that I have met.” Alfred Tennyson, The Complete Poetical Works of Tennyson




It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Match’d with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.

I cannot rest from travel: I will drink
Life to the lees: All times I have enjoy’d
Greatly, have suffer’d greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone, on shore, and when
Thro’ scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vext the dim sea: I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known; cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honour’d of them all;
And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro’
Gleams that untravell’d world whose margin fades
For ever and forever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnish’d, not to shine in use!
As tho’ to breathe were life! Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains: but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.

This is my son, mine own Telemachus,
To whom I leave the sceptre and the isle,—
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfil
This labour, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and thro’ soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.
Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere
Of common duties, decent not to fail
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.

There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail:
There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toil’d, and wrought, and thought with me—
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads—you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honour and his toil;
Death closes all: but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
’Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

– Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Text courtesy of Sparknotes

Illustration:  Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) englischer Schriftsteller. CDV-Foto 6,0 x 8,4 cm nach einem Gemälde von P.Krämer herausgegeben von Friedrich Bruckmann Verlag München Berlin. (public domain)

 


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Poet and writer, I was once columnist and associate editor of a regional employment publication. I currently run this site, The Poet by Day, an information hub for poets and writers. I am the managing editor of The BeZine published by The Bardo Group Beguines (originally The Bardo Group), a virtual arts collective I founded.  I am a weekly contributor to Beguine Again, a site showcasing spiritual writers. My work is featured in a variety of publications and on sites, including: Levure littéraure, Ramingo’s PorchVita Brevis Literature,Compass Rose, Connotation PressThe Bar None GroupSalamander CoveSecond LightI Am Not a Silent PoetMeta / Phor(e) /Play, and California Woman. My poetry was recently read by Northern California actor Richard Lingua for Poetry Woodshed, Belfast Community Radio. I was featured in a lengthy interview on the Creative Nexus Radio Show where I was dubbed “Poetry Champion.”


The BeZine: Waging the Peace, An Interfaith Exploration featuring Fr. Daniel Sormani, Rev. Benjamin Meyers, and the Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi among others

“What if our religion was each other. If our practice was our life. If prayer, our words. What if the temple was the Earth. If forests were our church. If holy water–the rivers, lakes, and ocean. What if meditation was our relationships. If the teacher was life. If wisdom was self-knowledge. If love was the center of our being.” Ganga White, teacher and exponent of Yoga and founder of White Lotus, a Yoga center and retreat house in Santa Barbara, CA

“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.” Lucille Clifton