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  • November 2011
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POW: Poems for Occasions

Bartlett's Poems for Occasions, edited by Geoffrey O'Brien

We are officially in the thick of Holiday Season.  Who knows, you may need just the right words for a card you’re writing to a relative, or a toast you have to give at a party or at the dinner table.  Why not look in Bartlett’s Poems for Occasions? It has selections ranging through the centuries that address the cycles of nature, New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, celebrating family, the 4th of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Birth, Childhood, Youth, Adulthood, Marriage, Midlife, Retirement, Aging, Death, Mourning, Friendship, Contentment, Working, Love, Disappointments, Farewells, Solitude, Sorrow, Comfort, Endurance, Spirituality, Fates of Nations, War, America, God, and the Unknown.

So… almost anything you’d want, unless you celebrate Hannukah, Kwanzaa, etc.  But we’ve got you covered there, too.

And it’s not all Hallmark-style verse.  If I would suggest one for you to read alone on a Sunday, it would be Robert Hayden‘s Those Winter Sundays, which starts out with this stanza, filled with short, Anglo-Saxon words and manages to be evocative and rough at the same time:

Sunday too my father got up early

and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,

then with cracked hands that ached

from labor in the weekday weather made

banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.


Check out a copy to read more of that poem, and explore other occasional poetry!

-Tessa, CLP – East Liberty

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