I’ve forgotten what it was that was supposed to be “mammoth.” But the misprint seemed meant for me. An oracle spoke from the page of the New York Times, kindly explaining New York City to me, at least for a moment. One is offered such oracular statements all the time, but often misses them, gets lazy about writing them out in detail, or the meaning refuses to stay put. This poem seems to have stayed put fairly well – but as [Thomas] “Fats” Waller used to say, “One never knows, do one?”

Elizabeth Bishop, “On ‘The Man-Moth,’” in Poet’s Choice, ed. Paul Engle and Joseph Langland (New York: Dial, 1962), 101.

Menagerie – Poets Celebrate the Animal Kingdom

A menagerie of animals graced our Mindful Poetry session in January, courtesy of poets Robert Frost, James Wright, Hafez, Mark Turcotte, and Elizabeth Bishop. A majestic buck emerged from a river, a pair of dark-eyed ponies greeted us, a phoenix transformed before our eyes, a blackbird brought age-lost answers, and an incredible man-moth rode the subway. 

If you’re curious about other assorted beasts that occupy our poets’ minds, here are some suggested links to explore:

Elizabeth Bishop’s, The Fish; Robert Frost’s, The Oven Bird; Joy Harjo’s, Eagle Poem; James Wright’s, Beginning and Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota .

Video Recitation of The Man-Moth for Poetry Out Loud Finals

Mindful Poetry usually meets the fourth Tuesday of each month at 6pm PT, via Zoom.

Meeting ID: 975 0515 6720 One tap mobile +12532158782,,97505156720# US (Tacoma)

Our Curator and Guide:

Poetry has been a life-long passion and solace for Rebecca Echert-Lennstrom. The beauty and playfulness of verse captured her heart early and became a well-spring of reflection and inspiration. For the last 25 years, she’s been sharing that love with high school students as an English teacher and creative writing instructor, steeped in words and imagery. She’s coached students in the National Poetry Out Loud Competition for ten years, paired with professional poets in the classroom to inspire student writing, and published high school creative writing magazines. This is her second year curating the Mindful Poetry Series as a ministry of the Episcopal Church.

Questions? Please email Sylvia Sepulveda.

Learn more at our Mindful Poetry page.

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Mindful Poetry – Jan. Notes