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P means Plath means poems about bees because she’s brooding and stung. P also means National Alphapoetic Month. This is the last stanza of a poem called “Stings” and you can find it in Ariel, which is probably Plath’s greatest collection. Pick one up here:

Guys, I totally skipped N in our National Poetry Month-oriented alphapoetic romp down the shelf. It’s Spring, love is in the air. Here’s some Neruda to read in the daisies. Pick a copy up here:

O is for…

O’Hara of course, as in the master Frank O’Hara! If you can’t read the above text, it’s “…and the many short voyages. They’ll/ never fence the silver range./ Stars are out and there is sea/ enough beneath the glistening earth/ to bear me toward the future/ which is not so dark. I see.” That’s a last stanza boys and girls! Happy National Poetry Month!

(Source: skylightbooks, via politicsprose)




It’s the peep apocalypse, and these young love birds have a little chickadee on the way.
Sound interesting (minus the peeps)? Then check out California by italicsmine

My editor Allie Sommer made this. She’s basically the best editor ever.

No no, THIS is our favorite.




It’s the peep apocalypse, and these young love birds have a little chickadee on the way.

Sound interesting (minus the peeps)? Then check out California by italicsmine

My editor Allie Sommer made this. She’s basically the best editor ever.

No no, THIS is our favorite.

is for…

Stéphane Mallarmé

It’s National Poetry Month and we’ve arrived at the letter M! We’re celebrating the alphabet song and the often tragic, final stanzas that poets from all around the world have pained themselves to compose. Today’s stanza comes from page 99 of Mallarmé’s A Tomb For Anatole, where Mallarme mourns the loss of his eight-year-old son in stunning fragments carved out of countless, untitled, and stark pages. Grab a copy here:


Today we celebrate the legacy of a remarkable author - Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Although he left us too soon, his words remain. So visit your local library today and check out your favorite book - whether it’s 100 Years of Solitude, Love in the Time of Cholera or The Autumn of the Patriarch - and love the words of the exceptional Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

L is for…

Levertov, because after Keats, comes L, as in Black Mountain College-bound, Denise Levertov. Above is the last stanza to her poem, “Her Sadness.”

K is for…

Keats! Happy National Poetry Month, day 16! We’re hunting down the great last stanzas of poets hanging out on our poetry shelf and proceeding forward in alphabetic order! Below are the closing words to Keat’s “Ode to a Nightingale.”

Forlorn! the very word is like a bell
         To toll me back from thee to my sole self!
Adieu! the fancy cannot cheat so well
         As she is fam’d to do, deceiving elf.
Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades
         Past the near meadows, over the still stream,
                Up the hill-side; and now ‘tis buried deep
                        In the next valley-glades:
         Was it a vision, or a waking dream?
                Fled is that music:—Do I wake or sleep?

J is for…


We’re leaving behind I & heading for J on our quest towards Z, down the long path that is poets-alphabetized. J beckons he who is called James Joyce, a man who also happened to wax poem & poetical. Last stanzas are difficult, woeful things. Let’s here how another one of the masters handled it. This one is from, “A Prayer.”

Together, folded by the night, they lay on earth. I hear
From far her low word breathe on my breaking brain.
Come! I yield. Bend deeper upon me! I am here.
Subduer, do not leave me! Only joy, only anguish,
Take me, save me, soothe me, O spare me!

Alphabetic Poetics

Our National Poetry Month waltz down poetry shelves everywhere has moved from Facebook to here! Let’s re-cap where we’ve been so far in our tour de lettres. Watch as the masters close out poems with the infamous last stanza. Its the most difficult thing; really, its harder than building rockets. 



Last stanza of “The Tennis Court Oath” by John Ashbery:

to one in yon house
The doctor and Philip had come over the road
Turning in toward the corner of the wall his hat on
reading it carelessly as if to tell you your fears were justified
the blood shifted you know those walls
wind off the earth had made him shrink
undeniably an oboe now the young
were there there was candy
to decide the sharp edge of the garment
like a particular cry not intervening called the dog “he’s coming! he’s coming” with an emotion felt it sink into peace
there was no turning back but the end was in sight
he chose this moment to ask her in detail about her family and the others
The person. pleaded—“have more of these
not stripes on the tunic—or the porch chairs
will teach you about men—what it means”
to be one in a million pink stripe
and now could go away the three approached the doghouse
the reef. Your daughter’s
dream of my son understand prejudice
darkness in the hole
the patient finished
They could all go home now the hole was dark
lilacs blowing across his face glad he brought you



The last stanza of “The Man-Moth” by Elizabeth Bishop:

If you catch him,
hold up a flashlight to his eye. It’s all dark pupil,
an entire night itself, whose haired horizon tightens
as he stares back, and closes up the eye. Then from the lids
one tear, his only possession, like the bee’s sting, slips.
Slyly he palms it, and if you’re not paying attention
he’ll swallow it. However, if you watch, he’ll hand it over,
cool as from underground springs and pure enough to drink.



Last stanza of “it was a dream” by Lucille Clifton:

i pleaded with her, could i do,
oh what could i have done?
and she twisted her wild hair
and sparked her wild eyes
and screamed as long as
i could hear her
This. This. This.



Last stanza of “Dark Ceiling” by Edward Dorn:

drifts in from the morning fertilizer factory
and men there return lamely
to work, their disputes not settled.



Last stanza of “City of Glass” by Martin Espada:

In Chile, a river of glass bubbled, cooled,
hardened, and rose in sheets, only to crash and rise again.
One day, years later, the soldiers wheeled around
to find themselves in a city of glass.
Their rifles turned to carnival glass;
bullets dissolved, glittering, in their hands.
From the poet’s zoo they heard monkeys cry;
from the poet’s observatory they heard
poem after poem like a call to prayer.
The general’s tongue burned with slivers
invisible to the eye. The general’s tongue
was the color of cranberry glass.



Last stanza of “To the Oracle at Delphi” by Lawrence Ferlinghetti:

Far-seeing Sybil, forever hidden,
Come out of your cave at last
And speak to us in the poet’s voice
the voice of the fourth person singular
the voice of the inscrutable future
the voice of the people mixed
with a wild soft laughter—
And give us new dreams to dream,
Give us new myths to live by!



Last stanza of “Sula / Be Soft Under Rock” by Rachel Eliza Griffiths:

Stiff robins beyond
that boarded window
in the bedroom. Twilight singed
a bowl of oranges
in her grandmother’s mind.
Softer tongues of
acid licking her. Love can kill
the flesh it craves.



Last stanza of “By Halves” by Fanny Howe

Then the angel informs me, always,
with a pleasure I can’t imitate
and eyes ringed with pain
that we are only halfway
on our way to such a communion


And we’ve arrived at I, as in the Lyric I and the Whitmanian-ly multitudinous and Dickinsonian-ly micro I! There are two poets on our poetry shelf who have a last name that begins with I. Both are close friends of the store. Let’s read a poem from each. Here is the first, from Tony Iantosca.



Last stanza (or last 4 lines) of “bent locks” by Tony Iantosca

my door is through
that door and I won’t
hear the snow breaking in
to sleep on the steps
The second I is Ingram, as in Tonya Ingram!

Last stanza (last six lines) of “The Country” by Tonya Ingram:

head heavy as an anchor
that was spared into an ocean
by a God
who set apart
sleep as redemption
for a sinner


Jack Hirschman!


Jack Hirschman!