Join us on Tuesday, January 25 at 6pm PST, via Zoom – no prerequisites, no homework!

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.

Poets Celebrate the Animal Kingdom

Poets often use the animal kingdom as source material for their poems. Whether as symbols, icons or allusions, this menagerie of animals creates a richness and connection in their verses that the reader quickly recognizes. A magnificent buck, a mythological beast, a pair of ponies, a sacred bird, and a fantastical man-moth – all these images in the hands of the following poets highlight and embolden our understanding of humanity.

Stillness is broken by the dramatic appearance of a buck in Robert Frost’s The Most of It; in The Phoenix, Hafez immures his bird “in the body’s cage”; the gracious kindness of two ponies are A Blessing to poet James Wright; in Reflection, Mark Turcotte finds deep connection from a long, black bird; from a newspaper misprint of “mammoth” Elizabeth Bishop was inspired to craft The Man-Moth – a beckoning interplay between the real and imaginary.

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.

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Mindful Poetry – Menagerie