The Writer’s Almanac is back. But while it was on hiatus, my poetry habit necessitated I find other ways of getting poems to my inbox each day. It turned out to be a fruitful endeavor. My inbox now overflows daily with diverse and excellent verse. Below are 6 of my new mainstays:
Rattle – Easily my favorite contemporary literary journal devoted exclusively to poetry. Rattle also publishes interviews with poets, and each quarterly print issue includes a bonus chapbook. To sign up for their poem a day (and bonus poems!) go to https://www.rattle.com/purchase/, select Subscribe and enter your email in the “subscribe by email box.”
Matthew Ogle’s Pome – (that’s no typo, Matthew Ogle’s email list is called “pome”) – it includes short daily poems or excerpts from poems. You will always find the time to read these. Sign up from https://tinyletter.com/pome
Garrison Keillor – Garrison Keillor has rebooted the Writer’s Almanac. No longer distributed via Public Radio airwaves, it’s now distributed exclusively from Garrison Keillor’s own website. The online-only audio version is the same as before, complete with that unforgettable theme music and inspiring biographical birthday notes. You can subscribe by email and iTunes
Knopf Poetry (sent every year during National Poetry Month only) – Knopf has been publishing great poetry since 1915. For more than twenty years, they have sent out a free poem every day in April. Sign up here any time of year.
I’d love to hear of your favorite “poetry by email” newsletters. Please leave them in the comments.
It was a joy to record this book, to have the chance to finally read out loud all the poems in this collection, several of the older ones I had never read out loud before to myself or anyone else. It was a pleasurable discovery how well many of them fit my voice at 53 even if some were written in my 20s, 30s, and 40s.
I’m also grateful to a friend in Finland (who declined to accept credit) who helped me to master the collection and made the audio sound as good as possible for a project that was recorded in my own home.
Remember, that if you sign up for a 30-day Audible membership, you can get this title for free! Please check it out here or at the link below. You can sample the introduction to the book via Audible. You can also hear a few of the poems here on my blog. Please note, however, that the audio versions on this blog were published before mastering or may even be alternative takes not the same as those is in the official Audible release.
Our grandparents knew
Guy Lombardo and champagne
are the keys to New Year’s Eve.
Hours before midnight, in the shoe store,
I could not keep my big mouth shut about the boots you found
which you were terribly excited about.
I just had to say I had bought that same brand last year,
and the heel came off
within weeks. Don’t you remember?
Your excitement faded. Your smile dimmed.
You no longer wanted the boots.
From that moment on, nothing I could say would convince you to buy them.
So what if they might fall apart in 3 months?
What right had I to take away the pleasure you might have found
from your first new pair of boots in 3 years!
my foolishness almost forgotten
I asked you to dance to “Auld Lang Syne”
when it came on the music player. And then
“Enjoy Yourself (It’s Later Than You Think).”
It was intimate, exciting,
just the two of us,
dancing in the candlelight
to Guy Lombardo.
Who knows what the new year holds in store,
for us, or our shoes.
Because that summer we met the sea air
was warm and the wine flowed
freely in the ship’s cafeteria;
because, like you, I was on holiday and not
worried about mundane responsibilities and
such details as country of residence;
because as we talked deep into the night, I could not
find a reason to stop; because I wanted
to live in Europe and because you had never been
to America; because I did not know
how to say goodbye; because when
I asked you to meet me in Barcelona,
you said you’d meet me in Florence; because
when I asked you to meet me in Iceland
you said you’d meet me in New York;
because after months of phone calls, me
on my back porch in Minnesota, you
on your bed in Finland, and because of
things I can’t even remember now
I proposed aloud why don’t we just . . .
and you said quietly well, okay.