The Prestigious Barbie School of Poetry: Can Amber Join?


Jorie, Marie, and Lucie have ROCKED Po-Biz for years, in what is known in more sophisticated circles as the Barbie Doll School of Poetry.  Don’t let their looks fool you.  Emily Dickinson is their Muse, and they have more poetry prestige between them than a thousand male professors.  Jorie married into the Graham (Washington Post) family and was going to be a filmmaker until she overheard a T.S. Eliot poem being read.   Speaking of film, Amber Tamblyn (you can read her blogs on Harriet right now!) is dating the actor who played Allen Ginsberg in the recent Bob Dylan film I’m Not There which also included the actor who just played Keats in Bright Star.  She’s also on a reading tour for her second book of poems.  The question is, does Amber have what it takes to belong to this prestigious school of poetry?



  1. thomasbrady said,

    October 5, 2009 at 1:25 am

    To help us answer that question, I’ve assembled 4 samples from the four poets listed above: Jorie Graham, Marie Howe, Lucie Brock-Broido, and Amber Tamblyn.

    To me, all four samples have the same intensity.


    In a lung-shaped suburb of Virginia, my sister will be childless
    Inside the ice storm, forcing the narcissus. We will send
    Each other valentines. The radio blowing out
    Vaughan Williams on the highway’s purple moor.
    At nine o’clock, we will put away our sewing to speak
    Of lofty things while, in the pantry, little plants will nudge
    Their frail tips toward the light we made last century.


    No way back then, you remember, we decided,
    but forward, deep into a wood

    so darkly green, so deafening with birdsong
    I stopped my ears.

    And that high chime at night,
    was it really the stars, or some music

    running inside our heads like a dream?
    I think we must have been very tired.

    I think it must have been a bad broken off
    piece at the start that left us so hungry

    we turned back to a path that was gone,
    and lost each other, looking.

    I called your name over and over again,
    and still you did not come.


    As they repetitively curtsy in the whirlpool of warm July waters,
    I repetitively watch,
    A gazer stealing a glance at what the image of God may be like.
    I’ve seen a painting like this,
    Capturing what paint can capture,
    But forgetting about the distinct elegance in which these ships are riding.
    Planting ten toes amongst the billions of grains of sand,
    I imagine the journey to be somewhat spectacular
    I would be the girl,
    A pirate of the unknown fogs that wash out the morning sunrises,
    A sailor of imperative winds that shift my ships from here to there.
    I would be the girl,
    Watching the shore like a distant thread of a smile,
    Waiting for the cold-blooded vertebrates to direct me
    In whatever way the sea has directed them.
    Envious of the closeness between salt and water,
    I’m sure I could disappear into the crevice between the sky and sea.


    Nobody gets
    what they want. Never again are you the same. The longing
    is to be pure. What you get is to be changed. More and more by
    each glistening minute, through which infinity threads itself,
    also oblivion, of course, the aftershocks of something
    at sea. Here, hands full of sand, letting it sift through
    in the wind, I look in and say take this, this is
    what I have saved, take this, hurry. And if I listen
    now? Listen, I was not saying anything. It was only
    something I did. I could not choose words. I am free to go.
    I cannot of course come back. Not to this. Never.
    It is a ghost posed on my lips. Here: never.

  2. poetryandporse said,

    October 5, 2009 at 2:23 am

    Is there anybody going to listen to my story
    all about the boy with a crap job

    s/he’s the kind of mind who thinks he’s God
    Vart is unhappy
    cuz he now looks like an idiot


    he regrets treating us like we’re thick

    art is?

    When I think of all the times we tried so hard to reach him
    S/he will turn to me and then we fly;

    And she promises the $words to me
    And i believe Her
    After all this time I don’t know why


    Vart’s the kind of guy with a crap job
    his Reader’s here, he feels a tool.
    but if he’ll say he’s been a flop
    And beg us all to forgive him
    all will be cool, cool, cool,

    Art is

    Was you taught when you were young that fame
    would lead to pleasure
    do you understand it, when shee said
    You must break our code to earn
    your day of leisure
    i$ it now lodged in your silly head


    Lennon and McCartney

    Girl – metrical exercise.

    Desmond Swords – Kilmainham

  3. poetryandporse said,

    October 5, 2009 at 6:09 am

    Petitioning sinners on a lonely highway
    i ask if they are aware there is a God


    And they tell me no we haven’t heard
    the song all carry, we within our head


    and when a contrite soul asked if i could
    please forgive Him, could we just forget

    O harriet,


    whoever’s foereate
    reverse the lurve it’s only Harriet


    Vartis foetry on Harriet
    moderating blogs, how did i get

    to be no bowls: because i’m thick?

    foereate of no intelligence
    is it true we have no intellect

    only unintelliegence


    Vartis it trav, you have a low IQ

    lOVE uR?

    kj HG


    Do you ever see a storm brewing when you are boring
    with all the ecstatic ones who care?

    When you never know a thing about an art you claimed
    to, was it then your interest pulled to Foetry,

    what is claimed by US that this is what you be,





    the one you claim to be

    gaa God
    GAA. gaah?

    Games of god, we have
    to trust, always has been there


    for me not You

    ha ha ho, dee dums.

  4. poetryandporse said,

    October 5, 2009 at 7:37 am


    Underneath it all
    we talk; over and above

    what is

    So why not stay a while
    and let me dream of life
    with you.

    I will not make a hollow pledge
    of empty words which promise
    something I can’t give –

    the wind
    the moon
    or starlight’s shimmer on your hair.

    The bond i undertake to seek
    exchanges comforts found
    in undertsanding

    and being understood,
    although, when i gaze upon your form
    i see emotion as a mirror

    you, the one love
    who will never truly stand before me.

    Your flesh can be only touched
    in dreams

    when reality comes alive
    in epic tales, played out nightly

    or in some half snooze state
    i sometimes get to fool around in

    a world where my desire for you can be indulged.


    Take no notice angel, with eyes that stare
    along a pathway into the sky of make believe.

    Under a milk birch tree, I saw you rise, host
    sent from the sky – angel of this dream, fantasy

    folk: there is no time for interruptions, flirting
    in your net, reality a path to air abroad, stirring

    goddess of puppetry, your will the call, victorious
    lone shimmering breath, flood who makes

    a well, steadily tu-wit tu-woo – belief in the swell
    hurling here, spout of cheer from a ticking head,

    itself the eye of poetry o’er mined nets.

    Larkin Abuto

    What if you the one dream of love’s rose
    together, is you who’ll go beyond the end

    of life with us together: can listen to a line
    said today

    ..I’m gonna speak my mind

    one fine day, what you say USA,
    we’re gonna know our crime

    one fine day, the gestalt configured

    whitman, lanier, longfellow: Paul
    Dunbar, in apple pie order, Ez

    Ra, Thoth, Gaia Appollo and Ogmios
    Amiri Baraka, LBJ, JFK, RFK, feck

    gonna leave you all behind

    Us, we wanna beat the climb
    $u Vartis the angel of Aghamore plain

    on Knocknacree moor, we are there


    de$ mon D’s words y’all

    Kilmainham’s where you’ll find u$


    desmond $word$

  5. thomasbrady said,

    October 5, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    The Ballad of J. Graham

    I love poetry, but it depends
    If the manuscripts are my lovers’ and friends’.
    If they are my friends’ my heart sings
    With the joy sweet poetry brings.
    How easy it is to decide to love
    What poetry and friendship thinks is enough.
    I am lonely without friends.
    Poetry? It all depends
    On the joy and the happiness of my friends.
    My friends write poetry and poetry depends
    On something beyond itself.
    Do not talk to me of abstract things.
    Why do you think poetry sings?
    Why do you think it is?
    Why do you think I write things new?
    Do you think it is for him? Or you?
    You may read what I write.
    But he is my day and my night.
    If you could be one of my friends
    You would understand how even genius depends
    On love. If you were holding my hand
    Now, hypocrite reader! you would understand.

  6. cowpattyhammer said,

    October 5, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    “Mon semblable, mon frère!”

    What I find so often about your send-ups, Tom, is how much I wish I had written them as a poem. How proud I would be!

    If you could be one of my friends
    You would understand how even genius depends
    On love. If you were holding my hand
    Now, hypocrite reader! you would understand.

    I’d just change that word to “critic!” — then I’d await your reply which would blow my socks off, like Calvin!

    Thanks, Christopher

  7. thomasbrady said,

    October 5, 2009 at 3:42 pm


    I think maybe you’re right…’critic’ would be better…


    No Poem With A Name Is The Same

    No poem with a name is the same
    For every vanity is a sign
    Of the good you, your history, your mind,
    Which seeks comfort in recognition of the best of you
    In others’ eyes, and though I am buried
    And lost in my anonymity, I applaud your recognition too;
    I respect your work and your luck and your prize
    Which made your father proud the last time you looked in his eyes,
    And your publisher, and your mother,
    And foetry–which loves you like no other.

  8. thomasbrady said,

    October 5, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    Come All Ye Fair And Tender Judges

    Come all ye fair and tender judges,
    Beware of how you choose the prize,
    Now justice has the cliques’ dissolving
    And poets see with open eyes.

    If I had known before I entered,
    I would have entered contest none.
    I would have loved obscurity only
    And let the cliques play in the sun.

    I wish I were Joshua Clover*
    And I had wings and I could fly,
    I’d fly away to my former teacher
    And see what else that I could buy.

    But I am not Joshua Clover,
    I have no degree and cannot fly,
    I will enter one more contest
    And when I win, they’ll wonder why.

    If I had know before I entered,
    That my poems could not win,
    I’d have put my poems in a box of golden
    And fastened them up with a silver pin.

    *student of Jorie Graham

  9. noochinator said,

    January 14, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    Speaking of ice storms:

    An ice storm’s not violent,
    It never rages—
    Gently it falls,
    Like onion-skin pages—

    Let it fall on your heart,
    On your past like a winter—
    So the Domina Holy Ghost may
    Burn in you unhindered.

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