A Poem for #TheSealeyChallenge
Charles Bukowski + Mary Oliver

August, Versified


For everyone participating in the Sealey Challenge, how's it going? I am behind! But I am reading poetry every day, which has been grand. Use the hashtag #TheSealeyChallenge to find recommendations on Twitter and Instagram.

I had really looked forward to catching up with the work of Kamilah Aisha Moon, and I was not disappointed at all! Her book Starshine & Clay was poignant, heartbreaking, beautifully crafted. Knowing that Moon had passed away in 2021 made finishing this library copy hard because I wanted to stay in the poet's company. I'll buy my own Starshine & Clay (Four Way Books, 2017), as well as an earlier work, She Has a Name (Four Way, 2013). One of Moon's "literary North Stars," as she wrote in Mentor and Muse, was Lucille Clifton, so I want to go back to her work as well. Here's a good place to shout out Clifton's Generations, a spare & lyrical memoir recently reissued by New York Review Books; I read it earlier this year.

Other highlights so far were Claude McKay's Harlem Shadows (Modern Library, Centenary Edition, 2022) and Harryette Mullen's Sleeping with the Dictionary (University of California Press, 2002).

My current book is Jane Hirshfield's Ledger (Knopf, 2020). The Poetry Foundation says, "In recent decades, Hirshfield has become increasingly known as a poet working at the intersection of poetry, the sciences, and the crisis of the biosphere," and I know that Ledger will appeal to many of my Poetry Friday peeps. So far my favorite poem is "Today, Another Universe," which you can read on Maria Popova's site, The Marginalian.


The Poetry Friday roundup takes place at the blog Leap of Dave on August 19th.

Photo by ST: Kimchi the cat with a new stack of books for #TheSealeyChallenge


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Oh, how I love how covered in stars your post is. Thanks for name dropping poets and titles. I have swept them all up for later. Yum!

You're so welcome, Linda! Doing the Sealey Challenge has led me to so many poets whose work I didn't know before, like Kamilah Aisha Moon and Jane Hirshfield.

What a beautiful post by Maria Popova! And her perspective print is stunning, as are Hirshfield's poems. Thank you for sharing these wonderful resources (and for pointing out my link that had gone awry). xo

Thanks for the great recommendations. Maria Popova brings much special content to us in her posts. Happy reading!

Tabatha and Linda, thanks so much for stopping by! Maria Popova has all kinds of richness at her site.

I'm just learned about the Sealey Challenge a few days ago. I'm working on my own poetry-reading challenge right now, but do appreciate all these lovely recommendations for future reference. And thanks for the links to Popova's site.

Thank you so much for the resources and kudos to you for taking on The Sealy Challenge. It's a win just to be introduced to new poets.

Carmela and Rose, thanks for visiting! As Rose says, it really is a win just to meet these new (to me) poets.

Thanks for sharing about Hirschfield and for the links. I've been enjoying exploring.

I'm very behind too, but I'm reading more poetry this month than I have for many months before. Perhaps you'll read Bridge the Distance in PDF that I wrote about on my Poetry Friday post.

Looks like an intriguing stack of books that the cat is standing guard by… Thanks for sharing Jane Hirshfield's poem. We are losing too many species too quickly. I can't imagine not having monarch butterflies, they were just listed as endangered… Good luck with your challenge and thanks! PS I just read Hirshfield's poem MANIFEST in the New Yorker.

I love hearing about what you're reading and filing away names and titles for my own TBR pile. I so appreciate the link to Jane Hirshfield's stunning poem. I love Maria Popova's site but seldom find the time to read her rich (and lengthy) posts. You're reminding me of how much I miss when I don't take that time. Happy reading!

Susan, thank you for sharing Maria Popova's site and Hirshfield's poems. I returned to your site and reread your post with wonderful links. It was a treat to find the audio of Hirschfield reading her poem. There is so much content in her poem and depth of thought that I just lingered there.

Denise, yes, I do plan to read Bridge the Distance! It's so generous that the press offers a free PDF.

Michelle, thanks for the news that a new Hirshfield is in the New Yorker! I did not know that. Yay.

I agree with you about The Marginalian, Molly. It does take a bit of a time commitment, and is so worth it. I need to stop by there more often, too.

Carol, you're welcome! I just love that poem, even though it makes me sad. I often sit out on the patio here at home and read, and poems like this make me appreciate the simple pleasures of the backyard trees and other plants.

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