Recommended: The Brave and The Beautiful of Hera Lindsay Bird and Mary Ruefle

…the dream of all poetry, to cut a hole in time.

“I Remember, I Remember,” Mary Ruefle

In many ways as a writer, I am a coward.

And in all ways, I worship and am deeply jealous of rock stars, actors, and professional writers—for the freedoms they live as a consequence of their gifts turned into professions.

I am idealizing, of course, but that is how we dream, right?

And then one day not too long ago, I came across ‘s poetry. My first experience was Keats is Dead so Fuck me From Behind. I was immediately enamored and could only think “brave.”

I read it over and over and then began my usual online stalking, finding other poems and realizing she is on Twitter.

And so when I read poetry that triggers in me my Kafka rule* for literature, I am also gifted in my own writing—so from Bird’s bravery, I wrote chrysalis (i hold my words in awe), tiptoeing myself into the shallow waters of bravery.

But Bird has proven today to be the gift that keeps on giving—Tweeting out a poem by Mary Ruefle, Snow, which added to “bravery” what I also see in Bird, “beautiful”:

…I would like to be in the classroom — for I am
a teacher — and closing my book stand up, saying
“It is snowing and I must go have sex, good-bye,”
and walk out of the room….

For the umpteenth time a few nights ago, I was watching Notting Hill and crying on the couch alone because there are moments of poetry in that, I think.

All sorts of art, when brave and beautiful, help us appreciate this delicate thing called living, nurtured as it is by this impossible thing called loving.

So this is my way of paying it forward—from Bird and Ruefle to you, dear readers.

Please explore Bird and Ruefle:

The fearless poetry of Hera Lindsay Bird, Felicity Monk

Interview: Hera Lindsay Bird

Hera Lindsay Bird (website)

Hera Lindsay Bird online poetry

Mary Ruefle (website)

Mary Ruefle (

Mary Ruefle (Poetry Foundation)

Mary Ruefle (Wave Books)

I Remember, I Remember, Mary Ruefle

* See here:

I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us. If the book we’re reading doesn’t wake us up with a blow on the head, what are we reading it for? So that it will make us happy, as you write? Good Lord, we would be happy precisely if we had no books, and the kind of books that make us happy are the kind we could write ourselves if we had to. But we need the books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us. That is my belief.

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