The Poetry Oracle

The Poetry Oracle

by Amber Guetebier, Brenda Knight

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Combining poetry with divination, this collection resurrects the ancient Greek art of Rhapsodomancy, or divining one's fortune or destiny through the use of poetry or verse. Harkening back to antiquity, when Polyhymnia—the muse of sacred poetry—and Calliope—the muse of epic poetry—were invoked for guidance, each page of this anthology contains three poetic excerpts, chosen for their oracular wisdom. Readers are asked to contemplate a question and then randomly select an excerpt, which will offer revelations and inspiration for further contemplation. Excerpts are drawn from poets throughout the ages, including Sappho, Li Po, Rumi, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Dylan Thomas, William Blake, and J.R.R. Tolkien. Though designed as a prophetic tool, it can also be used as an introduction to some of the world's greatest poets.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781888729399
Publisher: Ccc Publishing
Publication date: 10/31/2008
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 288
File size: 14 MB
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About the Author

Amber Guetebier is a poet and a short story writer. Brenda Knight is a poet and the author of several books, including Women of the Beat Generation, which won an American Book Award in 1997. They both live in San Francisco.

Read an Excerpt

The Poetry Oracle

By Amber Guetebier, Brenda Knight

Consortium of Collective Consciousness

Copyright © 2008 Amber Guetebier Brenda Knight
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-888729-39-9



    Love is the fire, and sighs the smoke,
    The ashes, shame and scornes
    Robert Southwell, "The Burning Babe"

    the life we begin with a scream we end with a whisper
    Bucky Sinister, "The House that Punk Built"

    In the meantime, if you demand on the one hand,
    the raw material of poetry in
    all its rawness and
    that which is on the other hand
    genuine, you are interested in poetry.
    Marianne Moore, "Poetry"

    The Lady is a humble thing
    Made of death and water
    The fashion is to dress it plain
    And use the mind for border.
    Elise Cowen, "The Lady..."

    So sat I between the word truth
    And the word fable
    Took out my empty bowl
    And spoon.
    Charles Simic, "Pastoral"

    I must go to the mountains
    to hear
    the sound and the sound.
    Kijo Song, "Sound"

    To drift with every passion till my soul
    Is a stringed lute on which all winds can play,
    Is it for this that I have given away
    Mine ancient wisdom, and austere control?
    Oscar Wilde, "Helas"

    And graven with diamonds in letters plain
    There is written, her fair neck round about,
    "Noli me Tangere, for Caesar's I am,
    And wild for to hold, though I seem tame."
    Sir Thomas Wyatt The Elder, "Whoso List to Hunt"

    There is neither heaven nor
    Only snow
    Falling incessantly.
    Hashin, "The First Snow Of The Year"

    I cannot abide these malapert males,
    Pirates of love who know no duty
    Sir William Davenant, from "Plays and Masques"

    That if gold ruste, what shal iren do?
    Geoffrey Chaucer, from "The General Prolouge, Canterbury Tales"

    And cannot pleasures, while they last,
    Be actual unless, when past,
    They leave us shuddering and aghast,
    With anguish smarting?
    Lewis Carroll, "A Valentine"

    Know you faire on what you look;
    Divinest love lyes in this booke
    Richard Cranshaw, "On Mr. George Herberts booke intitued the Temple of Sacred Poems, sent to a Gentle-woman"

    O get thee wings!
    Henry Vaughan,
    "The Brittish Church"

    Doing, a filthy pleasure is, and short;
    And done, we straight repent us of the sport
    Petronius Arbiter, "Doing, a filthy pleasure is, and short"

    Come in the evening, or come in the morning;
    Come when you're look'd for, or come without warning.
    Thomas Osbourne Davis, "The Welcome"

    Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
    A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
    Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
    Mother of Exiles.
    Emma Lazarus, "The New Colossus"

    There are no people
    To gape at them now,
    For people are loth to
    Peer in the dimness
    Padraic Colum, "Monkeys"

    The least flower with a brimming cup may stand,
    And share its dew-drop with another near.
    Elizabeth Barrett Browning, "Work"

    This cynic smile
    Is but a wile
    Of guile !
    This costume chaste
    Is but good taste
    W. S. Gilbert, "If You're Anxious for to Shine in the High Aesthetic Line"

    The pulp so bitter, how shall taste the rind?
    Francis Thompson, "The Hound of Heaven"

    O drinke to thirst, and thirst to drinke that treasuer,
    where the onely danger is to keepe a measuer.
    William Alabaster, "Sonnet 32"

    You did not come,
    And marching Time drew on, and wore me numb.
    Thomas Hardy, "A Broken Appointment"

    And in his mistress' flame, playing like a fly,
    Turned to cinders by her eye:
    Yes; and in death, as life, unblessed,
    To have it expressed,
    Even ashes of lovers find no rest.
    Ben Jonson, "The Hourglass"

    Who call me
    as I go farther into emptiness
    Seuk Ho, "Something Greater Than Heaven"

    There is a channel between voice and presence,
    a way where information flows.
    In disciplined silence the channel opens.
    With wandering talk, it closes.
    Rumi, "Afghanistan"

    How happy he, who free from care
    The rage of courts, and noise of towns;
    Contented breathes his native air,
    In his own grounds.
    Alexander Pope, "Ode on Solitude"

    Busie old foole, unruly Sunne,
    Why dost thou thus,
    Through windowes, and
    through curtaines call on us?
    John Donne, "The Sun Rising"

    And if I should live to be
    The last leaf upon the tree
    In the spring,
    Let them smile, as I do now,
    At the old forsaken bough
    Where I cling.
    Oliver Wendell Holmes, "The Last Leaf"

    Not good for the land, not good for the sea
    There's nothing biodegradable about it
    But it does make one hell of an outfit.
    Jessyka Stinston, "Tinsel Me Pretty"

    That now are wild, and do not remember
    That sometime they put themselves in danger
    To take bread at my hand; and now they range,
    Busily seeking with a continual change.
    Sir Thomas Wyatt The Elder, "They flee from Me"

    Can there be any day but this,
    Though many sunnes to shine endeavour?
    We count three hundred, but we misse:
    There is but one, and that one ever.
    George Herbert, "Easter"

    Look what happens
    to the scale
    when love holds it.
    It stops working.

    A pattern, there she lay!
    And so I stole her, read her,
    Sleazily cajoled her
    and was happy she was there.
    Chris DeMento, "Letter from Georges Budd to men of Beer Drinking Club"

    But cease thy tears, bid ev'ry sigh depart,
    And cast the load of anguish from thine heart:
    From the cold shell of his great soul arise,
    And look beyond, thou native of the skies
    Phillis Wheatley, "To a Lady on the Death of Her Husband"

    Who says that fictions only and false hair
    Become a verse? Is there in truth no beauty?
    George Herbert, "Jordan (1)"

    Was for the abodes of cloudless day designed.
    Judith Sargent Murray, "On the Equality of Sexes, Part I"

    All we can touch, swallow, or say
    aids in our crossing to God
    and helps unveil the soul.
    Saint Theresa of Avila, "Spain"

    Man is a shop of ruses, a well truss'd pack,
    Whose every parcell under-writes a law.
    George Herbert, "The Church-porch"

    The church is put in fault;
    The prelates been so haut,
    They say, and look so high
    As though they woulde fly
    Above the starry sky.
    John Skelton, "From Colin Clout"

    But now, with New and Open Eyes,
    I see beneath, as if I were above the Skies
    Thomas Traherene, "The Third Century"

    Without sound we live in. Where
    we are, really, climbing
    the sides of buildings to peer in
    like spiderman, at windows
    not our own.
    Diane di Prima, "My Lover's Eyes Are Nothing Like The Sun"

    And coward love, then, to the heart apace
    Taketh his flight, where he doth lurk and plain,
    His purpose lost, and dare not show his face.
    Henry Howard, Earl Of Surrey, "Love, That Dough Reign and Live Within My Thought"

    I find something greater emptied
    Something greater than heaven emptied
    Seuk Ho, "Something Greater Than Heaven"

    Rash is the man, when the black banners blow,
    Wha weds wi' the Queen o' the Castle o' Crow.
    Helen Adam, "The Queen O' Crow Castle"

    Green Buddhas
    On the fruit stand.
    We eat the smile
    and spit out the teeth.
    Charles Simic, "Watermelons"

    When reading all those thick books on the life of god, It should be noted that they were all written by men.
    Bob Kaufman, "Heavy Water Blues"

    She cries loudly for us to come! We hear,
    for the night's many tongues
    carry her cry across the sea.
    Sappho, "To Atthis"

    We who bear your creation seek re-creation.
    Plant in your people a love and respect for your land.
    Plant in your people a love and respect for your land.
    Martin Palmer, "Listen To The Voices Of Creation"

    Life smoothes us, rounds, perfects,
    as does the river the stone,
    and there is no place our Beloved is not flowing
    though the current's force you
    may not always
    Saint Theresa of Avila, "Spain"

    What? Not done complaining yet?
    Anne Waldman, "A Phonecall From Frank O' Hara"

    All the false notions of myself that once caused
    fear, pain, have turned to ash as I neared God.
    Hafiz, "Persia"

    To goe to heaven, we maek heaven come to us.
    We spur, we reine the starres, and in their race
    They're diversely content t'obey our pace.
    John Donne, "The First Anniversary. An Anatomy of the World"

    Light came from the east, bright signal of God, the sea became still so
    that I might see the headlands, the windy walls of the sea. Fate often
    saves an undoomed man when his courage is good.
    Beowulf, "The Feast at Herot"

    But Oh! What Human Fortitude can be
    Sufficient to Resist a Deity?
    Aphra Behn, "A Congratulatory Poem"

    Shall you have all or nothing
    take half or pass by untouched?
    Marge Piercy, "My Mother's Body"

    Our passions help to lift us.
    I loved what I could love until I held Him,
    for then-all things-every world
    Saint Theresa of Avila, "Spain"

    The shell must break before the bird can fly.
    Alfred Lord Tennyson, "The Ancient Sage"

    O kill kill kill kill kill
    Who advertise you
    Charles Olson, "I, Maximus of Gloucester, To You"

    And with a beck ye shall me call,
    And if of one that burneth always
    Ye have any pity at all,
    Answer him fair with yea or nay.
    Sir Thomas Wyatt The Elder, "Without Many Words"

    They seem anxious to know
    What holds up heaven nowadays.
    James Merrill,
    "After Greece"

    God Damn you
    God damn me my
    misunderstanding of you.
    Charles Olson,
    "Moonset, Gloucester, December 1, 1957,
    1:58 a.m."

    Alas! It is a fearful thing
    To feel another's guilt !
    Oscar Wilde,
    "The Ballad of Reading Gaol"

    Next, sip this weak wine From the green glass flask, with its stopper.
    Robert Browning,
    "The Englishman in Italy"

    A coin, a dot, the end of a sentence, the end of
    the long improbable
    utterance of the holy and human.
    C.K. Williams, "The Modern"

    We are resident inside the machinery,
    a glimmering spread throughout the apparatus.
    Jack Gilbert, "Kunstkammer"

    Twilight and evening bell,
    And after that the dark!
    And may there be no sadness of farewell,
    When I embark.
    Alfred Lord Tennyson, "Crossing the Bar"

    You sing in my mind like wine. What you did not dare in your life you dare in mine.
    Marge Piercy, "My Mother's Body"

    Crossed your bridge
    with your big word
    and your huge silence.
    ruth weiss, "For Bobby Kaufman"

    The teeming gulf — the sleepers and the shadows!
    The past — the infinite greatness of the past!
    For what is the present after all but a growth out of the past?
    Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"

    This piece of food cannot be eaten, nor this bit of wisdom found by looking. There is a secret core in everyone not even Gabriel can know by trying to know.

    The worldy wisdome of the foolish man
    Is like a Sive, that does, alone, retaine
    The grosser substance of the worthless brain.
    Francis Quables, "Book 2, Emblem VII"

    Thy lust and liking is from thee gone.
    Thou blinkard blowboll, thou wakest too late.
    John Skelton, "Lullay, Lullay, Like a Child"

    These are the tranquillized Fifties
    And I am Forty. Ought I to regret my seedtime?
    Robert Lowell. "Memories of West Street and Lepke"

    you can be a good girl
    and stop
    telling everyone what you're doing
    when you are abusing
    and men
    and bodies
    that look something
    like your own
    perine parker, "denial"

    Man is all symmetrie
    Full of proportions, one limbe to another,
    And all to all the world besides:
    Each part may call the farthest, brother
    George Herbert, "Man"

    None thither mounts by the degree
    Of Knowledge, but Humility.
    Andrew Marvell, "A Dialogue, between the Resolved Soul, and Created Pleasure"

    To rack old Elements,
    Or Dust;
    and say
    Sure here he must
    needs stay
    Is not the way,
    nor Just.
    Henry Vaughan, "The Search"

    This is
    always the case.
    Wherever I am
    I am what is missing.
    Mark Strand, "Keeping Things Whole"

    No darkness then did overshade,
    But all within was Pure and Bright,
    No Guilt did Crush, nor fear invade
    But all my Soul was full of Light.
    Thomas Traherne, "Innocence"

    Diane di Prima, "Rant"

    Suffering is what was born
    Ignorance made me forlorn
    Tearful truths I cannot scorn
    Allen Ginsberg, "Don't Grow Old"

    Dear philosophers, I get sad when I think.
    Is it the same with you?
    Charles Simic, "A Letter"

    This Planet will survive only if All recognize a Common Mission
    Norbert Korte, "There's No Such Thing As An Ex-Catholic"

    She cries loudly for us to come! We hear,
    for the night's many tongues
    carry her cry across the sea.
    Sappho, "To Atthis"

    tonight I am the only one who knows me
    I and I hallucinate
    eli coppola, "Who Am I To Say"

    Isis is the original recycler.
    She recycled her man, Osiris
    And added a gold phallus
    Rethink what you want to do.
    ArtAmiss, "Isis"

    Of my desires, whereat I weep and sing,
    In joy and woe, as in a doubtful ease,
    For my sweet thoughts sometime do pleasure bring,
    Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, "Alas! So All Things Now Do Hold Their Peace"

    I touch my palm. I touch it again and again.
    I leave no fingerprint. I find no white scar.
    It must have been something else,
    Something enormous, something too big to see.
    Charles Wright, "Equation"

    "And know you not," says Love, "who bore the blame?"
    "My dear, then I will serve."
    "You must sit down," says Love, "and taste my meat."
    So I did sit and eat.
    George Herbert, "Love"

    She would rather have clean sheets,
    than my poem, but as long as I don't bother her, she's glad
    to know I care.
    Fleda Brown, "I Write My Mother a Poem"

    The rage of courts, and noise of towns;
    Contented breaths his native air,
    In his own grounds.
    Alexander Pope, "Ode on Solitude"

    I hear the bells in the sky crying,
    "Every being is blest."
    Helen Adam, "Margaretta's Rime"

    The leaves fall early this autumn, in wind.
    The paired butterflies are already yellow with August
    Over the grass in the West garden;
    They hurt me.
    Li Po, translated by Ezra Pound, "The River Merchant's Wife"

    And, better yet when the night is over she can curl right up in her
    dress and go to sleep.
    ArtAmiss, "What Does It Matter?"

    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.
    William Butler Yeats, "The Second Coming"

    For the river at Wheeling,
    West Virginia,
    Has only two shores:
    The one in hell, the other
    In Bridgeport, Ohio.
    James Wright, "In Response To A Rumor That The Oldest Whorehouse In Wheeling, West Virginia, Has Been Condemned"

    We are but farmers of our selves, yet may,
    If we can stocke our selves, and thrive, uplay
    Much, much deare treasure for the great rent day.
    John Donne, "To Mr Rowland Woodward"

    Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget
    What thou among the leaves hast never known
    The weariness, the fever, and the fret.
    John Keats, "Ode to a Nightingale"

    The people I love the best
    jump into work head first
    without dallying in the shallows
    and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
    Marge Piercy, To Be Of Use"

    If You wish me to leap joyfully, let me see You dance and sing -
    Then I will leap into Love - and from Love into Knowledge, and from Knowledge into the Harvest, that sweetest Fruit beyond human sense.
    There I will stay with You, whirling.
    Mechtild of Magdeburg

    The wind goes nattering on,
    Gossipy, ill at ease, in the damp room it will air.
    I count off the grace and stays
    My life as come to, and know I want less.
    Charles Wright, "April"

    What you do is how you get along
    What you did is all it ever means.
    Robert Creely, "Places to Be"

    And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
    So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
    The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
    But tell of days in goodness spent,
    A mind at peace with all below,
    A heart whose love is innocent!
    Lord Byron, "She Walks in Beauty"

    Just more waiting, with bells on,
    And that Truth, is it only the FACT of WAITING, the flash at the end.
    Elise Cowen, "Did I Go Mad?"

    I said to God, "I will always be unless you cease to Be," and my Beloved replied, "And I would cease to Be if you died."
    Saint Theresa of Avila

    And the more souls who resonate together, the greater the intensity of their love, and, mirror-like, each soul reflects the other.
    Dante, "Italy"

    Let them smile, as I do now,
    At the old forsaken bough
    Where I cling.
    Oliver Wendell Holmes, "The Last Leaf"

    The generations labor to possess
    And grave by grave we civilize the ground.
    Louis Simpson, "To The Western World"

    Now you feel how nothing clings to you; your vast shell reaches into endless space, and there the rich, thick fluids rise and flow.
    Rainer Maria Rilke
    Your job is to find out what the world is trying to be.
    William Stafford, "Vocation"

    I encourage blossoms to flourish with ripening fruits.
    Hildegard of Bingen

    There, in the windless night-time,
        The wanderer, marveling why,
    Halts on the bridge to hearken
        How soft the poplars sigh.
    A.E. Housman, "A Shropshire Lad"

    We play in its skeletal maze
    to find a warm rabbit
    moving in a deep hole.
    Louise Nayer, "Magic"

    Get up and walk out into the first light.
    Charles Simic, "Paradise"

    I think I am going to climb back down
    And open my eyes and shine.
    James Wright, "Lightning Bugs Asleep In The Afternoon"

    May wide and towering heaven collapse upon me in all its bronze and terror, catastrophe to the peoples of the earth, on that day when I no longer stand by my companions, on that day when I cease to harry my enemies.
    Theognis of Megara


Excerpted from The Poetry Oracle by Amber Guetebier, Brenda Knight. Copyright © 2008 Amber Guetebier Brenda Knight. Excerpted by permission of Consortium of Collective Consciousness.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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