Poetry Friday–Ars Poetica & Monarchs


Happy Poetry Friday! I went to a poetry workshop last week on Ars Poetica at the Poetry Foundation. I think this is the first of many Ars Poetica poems that I may write.



Words crawl out from nowhere or somewhere
images begin to form or not–

Voice vacillates seeking its venue,
                                   takes a

                                     place …                     

                        Structure might



Voice returns self-assured or questioning,
as if a mountain could speak–what if it can?

What would it say …
“Follow your passion–” Listen to that mountain speak–

              Listen to Nature–Mother Nature,
                           and Poetry, ask them questions

then listen with your mouth
              speak with your ears

                             paint words whatever way you can
               on whatever you can find

                                           music moves cultures
                paper-thin-poetry can move cultural barriers

Come–Now–Voice, no Boomeranging
                                  no Balderdashing

Sing–sweet as a child’s piercing cry
            Move–sure as tsunami’s destructive path

Carry–silent as a thunderstorm
            Resound–willful as a fighter’s last breath

                              ensure monarch’s next flight
                                            a small wing of humanity  

                                                           moves forward
                                                                        forever, forward
                                                                                     Wings of

© 2018 Michelle Kogan

You can  read more about Ars Poetica here. I also found a few other Ars Poetica poems to share.

By James Galvin

Let us begin with a simple line,
Drawn as a child would draw it,
To indicate the horizon,

More real than the real horizon,
Which is less than line,
Which is visible abstraction, a ratio.

The line ravishes the page with implications
Of white earth, white sky!

The horizon moves as we move,
Making us feel central.
But the horizon is an empty shell—

Read the rest of the poem here.

By Heather McHugh

For Fabbio Doplicher

We were supposed to do a job in Italy
and, full of our feeling for
ourselves (our sense of being
Poets from America) we went
from Rome to Fano, met
the Mayor, mulled a couple
matters over. The Italian literati seemed
bewildered by the language of America: they asked us
what does “flat drink” mean? and the mysterious
“cheap date” (no explanation lessened
this one’s mystery). Among Italian writers we

could recognize our counterparts: the academic,
the apologist, the arrogant, the amorous,
the brazen and the glib. And there was one
administrator (The Conservative), in suit
of regulation gray, who like a good tour guide
with measured pace and uninflected tone
narrated sights and histories
the hired van hauled us past.
Of all he was most politic–
and least poetic– so
it seemed. Our last
few days in Rome
I found a book of poems this
unprepossessing one had written: it was there
in the pensione room (a room he’d recommended)
where it must have been abandoned by
the German visitor (was there a bus of them?) to whom
he had inscribed and dated it a month before. I couldn’t
read Italian either, so I put the book
back in the wardrobe’s dark. We last Americans

were due to leave
tomorrow. For our parting evening then
our host chose something in a family restaurant,
and there we sat and chatted, sat and chewed, till,
sensible it was our last big chance to be Poetic, make
our mark, one of us asked

“What’s poetry?
Is it the fruits and vegetables
and marketplace at Campo dei Fiori

Read the rest of her poem here.

by Rita Dove

Thirty miles to the only decent restaurant
was nothing, a blink
in the long dull stare of Wyoming.
Halfway there the unknown but terribly
important essayist yelled Stop!
I wanna be in this;
and walked fifteen yards onto the land
before sky bore down and he came running,
crying Jesus–there’s nothing out there!

Read the rest of her poem here.


Rebecca Herzog at her blog Sloth Reads is hosting this weeks Poetry Friday Roundup, thanks Rebecca! Be sure to stop by her blog for more poetry!











About Michelle Kogan Art, Illustration, & Writing

Michelle Kogan is an artist, illustrator, instructor, and writer, creating colorful allegorical figure, flora and fauna paintings and children's illustrations, which have a sensitivity to endangered species, and the environment. She is an art instructor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Evanston Art Center and offers Plein Air Painting Workshops at nature venues in the Chicago area including the Lincoln Park Conservatory, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, and Lurie Gardens at Millennium Park. Visit her online Etsy Shop at: http://www.MichelleKoganFineArt.etsy.com and her website: http://www.michellekogan.com
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27 Responses to Poetry Friday–Ars Poetica & Monarchs

  1. srebeccan says:

    Ars Poetica is a new form for me! Thanks for sharing yours. I am raising some monarch caterpillars right now and I loved your comparison.

  2. I hadn’t heard of Arts Poetica. Thank you for sharing this info and the lovely poetry.

  3. lindabaie says:

    Each one is a gem, Michelle, and I love “paint words whatever way you can
    on whatever you can find” (I leave the wonderful spaces). Your painting, too, is so filled with “painted words”, it IS spring! Love the ars poetica form, those unique approaches from many. Thanks!

  4. This reminds me of my Poetry Is… A Revelation series, where everyone kicked in a phrase. None as deep as Heather McHugh’s poem, wow. That poor man in his iron mask. The church has to bear the guilt for so many acts of hideous cruelty.

    If Rebecca Herzog sees this– I cannot comment on your site. Blogger hates me. But thanks for posting and love your posts!!

  5. Ooo! Michelle. This poem deserves to be in an anthology.
    I feel chills about your new ways of seeing things such as:

    “paper-thin poetry”

    “listen with your mouth”

    “speak with your ears”

    Will return to follow links.
    Looks as if you have stumbled upon a magnificient muse in Arts Poetica.

  6. Kay Mcgriff says:

    I like these! Thank you for teaching me about a new poetic form.

  7. jama says:

    Thanks for all the ars poetica goodness today — and what a gorgeous watercolor!

  8. Alice Nine says:

    Oh, oh! This is good, Michelle! So many lines to like! But if I note them all, I’d be re-posting your poem here in comments. 🙂 I do love how you begin with “Words crawl out…” and end with “flight” and “moves forward / forever …” and the final image of “… forward / Wings of / Words.”

  9. Ars Poetica is new to me! That’s one of the things I love so much about this community – I am always learning and growing and developing as a poet through all the knowledge shared here!

  10. Linda Mitchell says:

    Thank you to the introduction to this form. I’m intrigued and impressed. Your poem is stunning…especially paired with the painting. The paper thin poetry that can change cultures….such a perfect line. And, Rita Dove’s line…”the dull stare of Wyoming” just so vivid. Great post. Thank you!

  11. haitiruth says:

    I’m not sure what the plural of ars poetica is, but thanks for sharing these! Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

  12. I’ve never heard of “ars poetica” as a specific form of poetry until reading your post. Now I must learn more. I think “Art Class” might be a good poem to share w/ students. The image of words crawling and forming in the first line of your poem is wonderful and captures what happens w/ words in poems.

  13. Come–Now–Voice, no Boomeranging
    no Balderdashing

    I love these lines, and yet that’s what I do want poetry to do–sail forth and fling itself back at me like a boomerang, to brashly claim the impossible is true and then punch me in the arm and say “Just kidding.” In fact this may be precisely my next poem! Thanks, Michelle!

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