Poetry Catastrophe Poetry

In the article “The Poetry of Catastrophe” in The New York Times, Sam Tanenhaus notes the rich lineage of disasters set forth in literature. He observes that poetry, particularly non-narrative poetry, defies logic, order and sense, and thus is well-suited for depicting catastrophe, which defies these same things. He offers a sampler of poems about catastrophe.

Read his article. Read the excerpts he has selected. Track down the whole poems. Then write your own poem on catastrophe, on earthquake and tsunami, on Libyan and Yemeni repression, on everyday trauma. Eschew logic for prophecy, just for a while. Bring our fears into the light, that we may confront them. That which denotes the breaking apart can become a tool for bringing together.

About poetsguide

A former altar boy and a former U.S. Army interrogator, respectively, John F. Buckley and Martin Ott were born and raised in Michigan, meeting each other at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor before separately migrating to California in the early 1990s to attend graduate schools, their friendship evolving into a writing collaboration – what they refer to as poetic volleyball. They both currently live in Southern California, John with his wife, Martin with his wife and two children. John teaches English composition at several local colleges, while Martin works as a marketing strategist for a global company. John still affects a strange piety; Martin still finds himself asking a lot of questions. Individually and together, their writing has appeared in over 150 periodicals and anthologies, garnering three Pushcart Prize nominations for Martin’s poems “India Ivy” and “When Bridges Fall” (available in his collection Children of Interrogation, which has been a finalist or semi-finalist in eighteen poetry prizes) and John’s “Poem for Christy’s Daughter” (available in his collection Kinks in the Hose). Martin has also optioned three screenplays. His chapbook Misery Loves was published on Red Dancefloor Press. John’s chapbook Breach Birth was published on Propaganda Press.
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