Skip Navigation
Falvey Memorial Library
Advanced
You are exploring: Home > Blogs

Monday Mood: Falvey Library Staff Share Their Favorite Poems

Celebrating National Poetry Month, Falvey Memorial Library staff shared some of their favorite poems.


“Hope” is the thing with feathersEmily Dickinson
Submitted by Regina Duffy, Communication and Marketing Program Manager

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all -And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.


BalaenopteraJoshua Bennett
Submitted by Kallie Stahl, Communication and Marketing Specialist 


TodayBilly Collins
Submitted by Luisa Cywinski, Director of Access Services

If ever there were a spring day so perfect,
so uplifted by a warm intermittent breeze
that it made you want to throw
open all the windows in the house
and unlatch the door to the canary’s cage,
indeed, rip the little door from its jamb,
a day when the cool brick paths
and the garden bursting with peonies
seemed so etched in sunlight
that you felt like taking
a hammer to the glass paperweight
on the living room end table,
releasing the inhabitants
from their snow-covered cottage
so they could walk out,
holding hands and squinting
into this larger dome of blue and white,
well, today is just that kind of day.


Lighthouse Keeping—Kay Ryan 
Submitted by Deborah Bishov, Librarian for Communication, Education and Counseling, Russian Studies. Bishov learned about the poem from Shauna MacDonald, PhD, Associate Professor, Communication; Co-Director, Gender and Women’s Studies. 

Seas pleat
winds keen
fogs deepen
ships lean no
doubt, and
the lighthouse
keeper keeps
a light for
those left out.
It is intimate
and remote both
for the keeper
and those afloat.


The Same CityTerrance Hayes
Submitted by Erica Hayes, Digital Scholarship Librarian

The rain falling on a night
in mid-December,
I pull to my father’s engine
wondering how long I’ll remember
this. His car is dead. He connects
jumper cables to his battery,
then to mine without looking in
at me and the child. Water beads
on the windshields, the road sign,
his thin blue coat. I’d get out now,
prove I can stand with him
in the cold, but he told me to stay
with the infant. I wrap her
in the blanket, staring
for what seems like a long time
into her open, toothless mouth,
and wish she was mine. I feed her
an orange softened first in my mouth,
chewed gently until the juice runs
down my fingers as I squeeze it
into hers. What could any of this matter
to another man passing on his way
to his family, his radio deafening
the sound of water and breathing
along all the roads bound to his?
But to rescue a soul is as close
as anyone comes to God.
Think of Noah lifting a small black bird
from its nest. Think of Joseph,
raising a son that wasn’t his.

Let me begin again.
I want to be holy. In rain
I pull to my father’s car
with my girlfriend’s infant.
She was eight weeks pregnant when we met.
But we’d make love. We’d make
love below stars and shingles
while her baby kicked between us.
Perhaps a man whose young child
bears his face, whose wife waits
as he drives home through rain
and darkness, perhaps that man
would call me a fool. So what.
There is one thing I will remember
all my life. It is as small
and holy as the mouth
of an infant. It is speechless.
When his car would not stir,
my father climbed in beside us,
took the orange from my hand,
took the baby in his arms.
In 1974, this man met my mother
for the first time as I cried or slept
in the same city that holds us
tonight. If you ever tell my story,
say that’s the year I was born.


When This IsLaura Kelly Fanucci
Submitted by Daniella Snyder, Graduate Assistant

When this is over,
may we never again take for granted;
A handshake with a stranger, Full shelves at the store,
Conversations with neighbors,
A crowded theater, Friday night out,
The taste of communion, A routine checkup,
The school rush each morning, Coffee with a friend,
The stadium roaring, Each deep breath!  A boring Tuesday.  Life itself.
When this ends, may we find that we have become more like the people we wanted to be,
we were called to be,
we hope to be,
and may we stay that way — better for each other because of the worst.


Mortal City—Dar Williams
Submitted by Shawn Proctor, Marketing and Communication Program Manager

I think I have a special kind of hearing tonight
I hear the neighbors upstairs
I hear my heart beating
I hear one thousand hearts beating at the hospital
And one thousand hearts by their bedsides waiting
Saying that’s my love in the white gown,
We are not lost in the Mortal City
We are not lost in the Mortal City

Nothing Gold Can Stay—Robert Frost
Submitted by Joanne Quinn, Director of Communication and Marketing 

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Poetry Unbound podcast—by Pádraig Ó Tuama 
Submitted by Laura Bang, Distinctive Collections Librarian, “Ó Tuama reads a poem and discusses some of the meanings he finds in it. The podcast provides a short and lovely way to be introduced to new poems and new ways of seeing the world.”

Poetry Unbound


Kallie Stahl ’17 MA is Communication and Marketing Specialist at Falvey Memorial Library. 


 


Like

Celebrate: Read a poem!

By Daniella Snyder

I’m Daniella Snyder, a graduate student at Villanova University, and your ‘Cat in Falvey Library’s (remote) Stacks. I’ll be posting about academics–from research to study habits and everything in between–and how the Falvey Library can play a large role in your success at Villanova!

Hey, Wildcats! Did you know that April is National Poetry Month? NPM was first launched in 1966 by the Academy of American Poets. It began as a way to remind us that poets and poetry matters and that they play a vital role in society. Since 1966, NPM has attracted tens of millions of readers, students, librarians, publishers, and poets.

Now, in the midst of COVID-19, we face unprecedented circumstances. This particular NPM has taken on new meaning and importance, as more and more of us are turning to poetry to find solace and strength.

National Poetry Month poster 2020

While I certainly recommend that everyone pick up the work of their favorite poet this month, I hope you’ll find some new poems that give you comfort during this uncertain time. If you’re looking for even more ways to participate in NPM during COVID-19, the Academy of American Poets has come up with some ways you can celebrate, both online and at home:

  • Sign up for “Poem a Day” and get free daily poems delivered to your inbox each morning.
  • Read last year’s most-read poem, “Kindness” by Naomi Shihab Nye.
  • Listen to the “Poem a Day” podcast.
  • Buy a poetry book from a local, independent bookstore.
  • Host a virtual poetry reading on Zoom.

As NPM progresses, tell Falvey if you’ve found a poem that has been a source of comfort, solace, or strength for you. Share that poem with us: DM us on Instagram (@villanovalibrary), tweet us (@FalveyLibrary), or message us on Facebook.


Daniella Snyder HeadshotDaniella Snyder is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the English department. Since she’s back in her childhood home, she’s picking up her favorite poem from when she was a kid: The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.

 

 


 


Like
1 People Like This Post

‘Cat in the Stack: Brenda Shaughnessy

By Daniella Snyder

Cat in the Stacks logo or header

I’m Daniella Snyder, a graduate student at Villanova University, and your ‘Cat in Falvey Library’s Stacks. I’ll be posting about academics–from research to study habits and everything in between–and how the Falvey Memorial Library can play a large role in your success here on campus!

Brenda Shaughnessy Headshot

Source: PoetryFoundation.org

This week, Falvey would have hosted poet Brenda Shaughnessy for a public reading in Speakers’ Corner as part of the English Department’s annual Literary Festival. While we cannot be there in person to hear Shaughnessy read, we can still appreciate her work and learn more about her. This week, my stack is filled with her poetry.

Brenda Shaughnessy is the author of five poetry collections, including The Octopus Museum (2019, Knopf); So Much Synth (2016, Copper Canyon Press); Our Andromeda (2012), which was a finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Award, The International Griffin Prize, and the PEN Open Book Award. 

Her work has appeared in Best American Poetry, Harpers, The New York Times, The New Yorker, O Magazine, Paris Review, Poetry Magazine, and elsewhere.

Recent collaborative projects include writing a libretto for a Mass commissioned by Trinity Church Wall Street for composer Paola Prestini and a poem-essay for the exhibition catalog for Toba Khedoori’s solo retrospective show at LACMA. 

A 2013 Guggenheim Foundation Fellow, Shaughnessy is an Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing at Rutgers University-Newark. She lives in Verona, New Jersey, with her family, according to her website.

Shaughnessy’s work is known for its ability to twin opposites: her poems are both playful and erotic, lyrical and funny, formal and strange. Reviewing Human Dark with Sugar, poet Cate Peebles noted that “Shaughnessy draws attention to the contradiction of being made up of so many parts while appearing to be one single body.”

In the New Yorker, Hilton Als said of her book, Our Andromeda: “it further establishes Shaughnessy’s particular genius, which is utterly poetic, but essayistic in scope, encompassing ideas about astronomy, illness, bodies, the family, ‘normalcy,’ home.”

Hilton Als’ description of Our Andromeda, and the mention of illness, bodies, the family, normalcy, and home, sounds like Shaughnessy’s poetry may help us work through our current moment.

Want to read Our Andromeda, but cannot access the collection online? Watch this 2013 video from the Chicago Humanities Festival, in which Shaughnessy reads a fair amount of her poetry from the collection.

If you want to stay connected with Brenda Shaughnessy, I recommend following her on Twitter (@brendashaughnes). Like many other authors, artists, and musicians, she shared that she will be posting about the books getting her through these uncertain times:

A Tweet by Brenda Shaughnessy, described in paragraph above. "I'm going to post about the books getting me through. #1: How is Jenny Offill such a genius? First page of Weather and I can barely turn to the second because it is so perfect and luminous and luscious I don't want it to be over, ever."

Here’s the page she’s referencing:

The first page of Weather by Jenny Offill.

While it is certainly disappointing that we will not be able to see Shaughnessy in person, I hope this brief overview offers a chance to get to know one of our Lit Fest authors a little better.

 


Daniella Snyder Headshot

Daniella Snyder is a graduate assistant in the Communication & Marketing department at Falvey Memorial Library, and a graduate student in the English department. This week, she’s reading Call Me By Your Name, a book that was recommended to her by the VU Book Club (@vubookclub).

 


 


Like
1 People Like This Post

Dig Deeper: Remembering Maya Angelou

image

Whenever a public figure passes away, I can expect that for the next few days my social media will be abuzz with articles, remembrances and general mentions of said person. So it has come as no surprise that since Maya Angelou’s death on Thursday May 28 my Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr feeds, as well as many other websites and blogs that I frequent, have been brimming with content on the life, works and death of Angelou. However, as I have scrolled through the many posts and tweets in response to Angelou’s life and death over the past few days I have been struck by the genuine outpouring of emotions people are expressing. It felt somehow unique, somehow more personal than the usual “rest in peace” and “they will be missed” messages I usually see.

I was particularly moved by a Facebook post by a good friend of mine who teaches high school English who posted late in the day on the 28th long after all of the initial posts of surprise and sadness had flooded my news feed, she said:

“I spent some time today thinking about what I love so much about Maya Angelou, and I’ve decided it’s the fact that she made me feel powerful, in all the positive connotations of that word.”

Go to Angelou’s Wikipedia page or any site detailing her biography and you can learn that “she published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, and several books of poetry, and was credited with a list of plays, movies and television shows spanning more than 50 years” (Wikipedia). And Angelou’s resume was as varied and interesting as her writing. In her lifetime she was a poet, civil rights activist, dancer, film producer, television producer, playwright, film director, author, actress and professor, just to name a few of the occupations she held in her 86 years of life.

But put all of that aside; remove the titles, labels, accomplishments and honors, and consider a simple sentence: “She made others feel powerful.”

It’s hard to think of a better epitaph for a woman who once said “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Dig Deeper: Maya Angelou

If you’re interested in learning more about Maya Angelou, we have some resources to recommend:

Books in our catalog written by Maya Angelou

Books about Maya Angelou and critical companions to her works:

 

Maya Angelou’s official website (pretty bogged down right now, may not open due to heavy traffic)

 

Dictionary of Literary Biography (Available through Databases A-Z) has the following entry on Maya Angelou:

Maya Angelou (4 April 1928-). Lynn Z. Bloom

Afro-American Writers After 1955: Dramatists and Prose Writers. Ed. Thadious M. Davis and Trudier Harris-Lopez. Dictionary of Literary Biography Vol. 38. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. p3-12.

 

JStor:

Remembering Maya Angelou: a 1977 interview in The Black Scholar.

 

YouTube:


SarahArticle by Sarah Wingo, team leader- Humanities II, subject librarian for English, literature and theatre.


Like

 


Last Modified: May 30, 2014