Posted in poem of the week

Poem of the Week: “Orchestra” by Russell Brakefield


Center for Poetry intern Amy Potchen selected this week’s poem, and said this:

This poem is by Russell Brakefield.
I chose this poem while looking into Brakefield’s poetry, since he will be coming to RCAH next month to do a reading. This poem reminds me to see the beauty in Summer’s nature before the season comes to a close. The end of the poem emphasizes that we can learn from bees and the connections they seem to have to each other. I am also intrigued by how frequent the line breaks are, as well as relating the sound of bees to an orchestra.


by Russell Brakefield

Bees sleep
because they need to
like us. Together
a bundle
of bees asleep
at night
is a concertina
wheezing closed.
In the hive
they dance
a democratic dance,
a waltz
to prioritize.
Abdomen wobbles
a whole note.
I read today
some bees feel
the thrum
of electric current
as they encounter
a flower’s field,
which is true
but also
what I need to be— 
social spark,
singing field.
Posted in news

“Fall”ing in love with poetry

“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”

– F. Scott Fitzgerald

Welcome back readers, writers, lovers of poetry and all those in between. The Center for Poetry is back with a fully loaded calendar this fall semester. Check out our “Calendar of Events” page for more information on dates, places and times.

Our Fall Writing Series of visiting writers kicks off Wednesday, October 24 with Russell Brakefield. He will be giving an afternoon talk in the LookOut! Gallery in Snyder Hall at 3 p.m., entitled “Poetry from the Archives,” and a reading in the RCAH Theater at 7 p.m.

Our Annual Used Book Sale will be held on campus at the corner of Farm Lane and North Shaw on Thursday, September 27. We will be open from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and encourage all to stop by and browse our extensive selection of books.

Through the end of this week, we will be accepting donations of books for the sale. Email to arrange for drop off.


Posted in poem of the week

Poem of the Week: “Try to Praise the Mutilated World,” by Adam Zagajewski

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Center for Poetry intern Estee Schlenner selected this week’s poem, and said this:

I chose this poem because I really appreciate the message that Adam Zagajewski is sending. In this poem he is expressing that the world is “mutilated”, damaged in some way, but that we should still appreciate the beautiful memories that it gives us too. Even if there are bad events happening in the world, this poem reminds us to remember the good that it brings too. The beauty of strawberries, acorns in autumn, or gentle light, these redeeming qualities that encourage optimism in a sometimes pessimistic world.


Try to Praise the Mutilated World


by Adam Zagajewski


Try to praise the mutilated world.

Remember June’s long days,

and wild strawberries, drops of wine, the dew.

The nettles that methodically overgrow

the abandoned homesteads of exiles.

You must praise the mutilated world.

You watched the stylish yachts and ships;

One of them had a long trip ahead of it,

while salty oblivion awaited others.

You’ve seen the refugees heading nowhere,

you’ve heard the executioners sing joyfully.

You should praise the mutilated world.

Remember the moments when we were together

in a white room and the curtain fluttered.

Return in thought to the concert where music flared.

You gathered acorns in the park in autumn

and leaves eddied over the earth’s scars.

Praise the mutilated world

and the grey feather a thrush lost,

and the gentle light that strays and vanishes

and returns.