The title of Elizabeth Alexander’s now-famous Inaugural poem, the one read in January’s cold and hopeful, gray light, suggests, among other things, that all writing grounds itself in the “now.” This point-of-view is documented by thousands of years of poetry and prose on the subject; “There is only Now. Followed by Now.” We will explore this irrefutable and self-contradictory statement as we read poems, essays, fiction, and examine visual texts which report on the “Being-ness” of the world around and within us. We’ll write and share our own praise songs for mid-August for Menucha, for the arts, for the day.

daily prompts:

“The Soul, Like the Moon” Lalla (c.1320-1392)

“Poem” Thomas McGrath

“Ars Poetica” Dana Levin

“Cathedral” Joseph Stroud

“A Great Need” Hafiz, trans. Coleman Barks


Sunday night: “A Desperate Clarity” Bill McKibben

Monday night: “Winter Creek” Kathleen Dean Moore

Tuesday night: “The world is blue…” Rebecca Solnit

Wednesday night: “What Matters” Brian Doyle

“Woe Is Me” Ian Frazier, “City Employment” Lydia Davis

“How to Cook Rice” Kathleen Tyau, “Food Diary” M. Cassandra Cossitt


“Dailiness” Robin Chapman

“What the Living Do” Marie Howe

“Talk About Walking” Philip Booth

“The Mad Farmer’s Liberation Manifesto” Wendell Berry

“Manifesto” Joe Wilkins

“Partial Acts” Jessica Lamb

“Fletcher Oak” Mary Oliver

“All This Night Needs” Nancy Walker

“Feel the sharp bite…”

“Deep Bay Swallows” Gary Hawk

“According to the Big Bopper” More stores being built…”Hoarding Your Joys and Dispairs” Gregory Orr

for Thursday’s “art talk”

“This Moment” Eavan Boland

about writing:

“Nine Beginnings” Margaret Atwood

“The Way I Write” William Stafford

“Prayer” Marie Howe

“Discover What You Know” Ann Beattie

“Pen and Paper and a Breath of Air” Mary Oliver

sending home:

“Ordinary Excellence” Wendell Berry

“Patriotism” Ellie Schoenfeld

“Blessing the Boats” Lucile Clifton

Ars                                                                               Poetica
It was all fading, 
the dream hitchhiked to Kansas.
Hot water, eyes closed -
everything too fast.
Six unknowns, the refrain.
Love fest in a sacred place.
But, of course,
the fragments in the desert - 
broken down truck &
3-legged table,
bicycle tires, mismatched.
What is abandoned,
reclaimed by attention,
and her cousin, purposeful work.

Ann Staley