I am posting a few epistolary poems I found at Poets Online:
I am sitting in a square filled with yellow wrought iron chairs.
I am a young man trying to grow a beard
and drinking a too-early glass of wine.
I am twirling the ribbon bookmarker in a volume of your poems
and trying to pull the book closer to me.
I bought the book as a birthday present to myself,
but the poems, even translated into my English,
are in some language I cannot understand.
This I recalled
when I took down the book this morning.
I looked at the still crisp binding,
the pages yellowing at the edges, and still
La blanche Ophélia flotte comme un grand lys,
waiting for me to catch her, hold her,
understand her in some new way.
To K.M. -a Young Poet
I give you all the voices of the past
so that you might find your own.
I take your desire to be published
and give you one to be heard.
I ask that you tune your ear to music
and ignore those who never hear it.
I give you the rights to write badly
and still love your words,
to not want to revise at all,
and to love the poems that are rejected.
I give you the courage to share your work,
the sense to know where criticism comes from,
and I take your wish to be famous.
I ask you to buy books of poetry, even out of charity.
Go to readings and listen when no one else does.
Turn your favorite poet’s books cover forward on the shelf.
Ask the store to order copies of something that’s missing.
Get someone else to read poetry with you.
Get someone else to listen to you read your poetry.
Read poems aloud, even if you are alone.
Write something every day, even if it is one good line.
Tell any poet you can what you like about their words.
Throw nothing away, write late into the night,
fall asleep reading, awaken with a new line running through you
like an electric current wanting to be tapped.
Dr. Grande — Thanks for the Lift
My heart made a fist
when you read the others’ poems.
Blood squeezed out
choking my breath
with chippy coughs.
I felt my insides flush
and vowed to quit the class.
I could never write like that.
You led me through
a labyrinth of words
where I banged against stone walls
stumbled over metaphor and rhyme
stalled in dark corners
crying out for light —
light you freely gave.
My heart made a fist
when you read my poem.
You read it once again,
looked at the class and said,
“Don’t you wish that you
could write like that?”