On the Future of “Words for the Year” (a note from Christy and poem from Dorianne Laux)

It’s hard to believe that at the end of this month, Words for the Year will have published a poem or quote every day for two years.

What started as a small independent project–my diary captured in poetry–has grown into an intimate community of poetry and word lovers all via word of mouth and social media sharing. And I am grateful that the poems and words I’ve shared have helped so many of you, as they have helped me, especially in times of grief, depression and darkness.

The simple truth is I had planned to end this project at the end of this year. The more complicated truth is that I cannot. Poetry will always be a part of my life; it’s my lighthouse in times of darkness, and it’s an icon of beauty and gratitude to help me better appreciate the world around me and the moments (and people) I so often take for granted. Poetry is often my voice when I am without words. Poetry in general, and certain poems and poets, save my life, often.

And what I have learned is that I am not alone in this.

I have heard from many of you over the past two years. You have shared with me the very personal ways the poems you read here have helped you and healed you. YOU represent the reason I love doing Words for the Year.

And YOU are the reason I will KEEP doing Words for the Year.

At least for one more year anyway. 😉

I do plan to take a short break at the beginning of the new year. I’ll be back no later than April 1 (in time for National Poetry Month), but probably sooner than that.

Here’s where I need your help:

While I am on break, I may occasionally (re)post some of your favorite poems. Will you please leave a comment with a favorite poem you’ve read here on Words for the Year? Or if you have a favorite that we have not posted, let me know the name of the poem and the poet (and a link if available). Or you can leave me a private message via our contact page, here. If you have feedback or ideas for the new year, please feel free to share that also. If you read only by email, you are welcome to email me: wordsfortheweekend@gmail.com .

To the poets, writers, artists, publishers and copyright holders who have allowed me (or who haven’t disallowed me) to share your work, my deep gratitude and thanks. Your work matters. You matter.

To my readers and friends, thank you for all of your support. To each of you, I dedicate a Dorianne Laux poem (one of the poems–and favorite poets–that saves my life). I originally shared it on Words on March 19, 2014.

“For the Sake of Strangers” by Dorianne Laux

No matter what the grief, its weight,
we are obliged to carry it.
We rise and gather momentum, the dull strength
that pushes us through crowds.
And then the young boy gives me directions
so avidly. A woman holds the glass door open,
waits patiently for my empty body to pass through.
All day it continues, each kindness
reaching toward another – a stranger
singing to no one as I pass on the path, trees
offering their blossoms, a retarded child
who lifts his almond eyes and smiles.
Somehow they always find me, seem even
to be waiting, determined to keep me
from myself, from the thing that calls to me
as it must have once called to them –
this temptation to step off the edge
and fall weightless, away from the world.

 “For the Sake of Strangers” by Dorianne Laux, from What We Carry, 1994. 


Your turn . . . What’s one (or more) of your favorite poems?  No need to answer right away. I’ll keep comments open until April.  ~ Christy

P.S. – For readers who follow our Apocalypse Love Story featuring Sam & Dave (it began on our sister site, Words for the Weekend), we have exciting news! Sam, Dave and friends will soon have their own home at The Lovely Fire. It’s under construction, but you are more than welcome to visit and sign up for future posts.


16 thoughts on “On the Future of “Words for the Year” (a note from Christy and poem from Dorianne Laux)

  1. mishedup

    my day has been made.
    you have introduced me to so many poets and reaffirmed my love of those beloved ones we share in common.
    Thank you1
    what a joy thee past 2 years have been…take off the time you need, regroup and i am so grateful you’ll be back

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And thank you, Brian. Your comments are always so thoughtful and inspire me to look at the day’s selection with different eyes. I remember we discussed Bukowski’s form last month or so, and I mentioned an upcoming poem in which he sheds some light on his style … It’s publishing tomorrow. I think you’ll like it! -c

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Ruby! Oh, it’s not much work at all. That’s the thing with doing something you love though, isn’t it? It doesn’t feel like work, it feels like sheer joy.
      Often I’ll carve out a good chunk of time and set up several weeks of posts at at time. Then I feel just like a surprised reader, each poem/selection an unexpected surprise in my email each day. Taking a couple months off will allow me to block out some time.

      Thanks for the poem! Michelle Terry and I were recently talking about Sun Magazine. They ran a Cheryl Strayed essay “My Mother Was the Love of My Life” (or titled close to that). One of my favorite reads ever.


  2. I love your collection here, Christy. If we lived in the same town, we would have had our book club, poetry club; but even on web, I love many poems that you love and publish on Words for the year. I also agree with the tagline: “you are not alone,” the poem said, in the dark tunnel.”
    It’s truer than any truth in a word lover’s life.

    I had many good moments here on words for the year. Sometimes, at 11 pm on a happy day, I typed “wordsfortheyear.com” on my browser just to read what you published. Sometimes on a not so happy day, words here became my companion. Sometimes I read, and then logged in to click on “like” button to let you know how much I liked reading that piece.

    You are doing a fabulous job here, Christy.

    I have my favorites here. Some I read before. Some I re-read, and they made more sense this year, maybe because I grew up a little.
    Here are some of favorites, not in any order:
    1.Three Times My Life Has Opened by Jane Hirshfield ( It was the one I read at 12:15 am once again on January 1st this year and even shared on my blog that day!)
    2. Snow, Aldo by Kate DiCamillo
    3. In the Library by Charles Simic
    4. To Waiting by W.S. Merwin,
    5. ON READING A POEM BY PHILLIS LEVIN by Marilyn Robertson,
    6. Things I Didn’t Know I Loved: After Nazim Hikmet by Linda Pastan
    7. Harmony by Stuart Kestenbaum
    8. The next suitable person you’re in light conversation with… from The Pale King

    Be back soon! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I could hug you right now, Archita.

      I go back and read poems at random too here. Try to see through the same eyes I had when I selected the piece…but that rarely works. Time changes us for better and for worse, and sometimes I’ll look at a piece and wonder what in the world sort of mood was I in then?! Usually though I smile and see the poem deeper, truer, than I had at first. Something to letting a poem sit in your psyche for a while…it composts and grows organically from the pile of experiences we accumulate with age. It becomes an entwined hybrid of the poet’s words and our experiences.

      I will certainly be reposting your favorites. Maybe you can host a week sometime this year like Myriam did. Think on it. 🙂

      Thank you my friend!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. How true! Time changes everything, even our perceptions.
        I definitely would like to host a week here. If your December is planned already, I can do it next year whenever you like. Thank you for the offer, Christy. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Wonderful, yay! December is all set, but you may choose any week you’d like between Jan 1 and March 31. No need to worry over it, just at your leisure. 🙂 You have an open invitation, let me know whenever you’re ready.
        PS– I posted a poem by our Jennie today “Shopping on a Saturday…” it’s so good!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Alvira Khan-Gordon

    I am so pleased that you are to continue this project. I discovered it only recently so I have felt a growing anxiety as the year has continued to draw to an end. I have come to depend on the daily posts,  the way so many of them draw me back to some fundamental truth so easily misplaced in my daily routines of distracted living.

    I find it difficult to choose a poem as being a favourite – they each bring a gift. But you have asked for a favourite to be named so Danae Smith’s Dinosaurs in the ‘hood is my choice. Its political comprehension and fury are palpable and yet its touch is light,  loving and sure. It is a poem that speaks to every disenfranchised and demonised community about its characterisation and its truth and I love it for that scope. 

    Thanks for your blog.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Alvira, thank you so much. I’m so glad you mentioned Smith’s poem. Oh it just knocks the breath out of me, especially the repetition at the end:

      No bullets in the heroes. & no one kills the black boy. & no one kills
      the black boy. & no one kills the black boy.

      Did you listen to his spoken performance? One second I was laughing, one second I was crying, and one second I was just sitting there speechless.

      It means a lot to me that you have found some joy and peace here. I too was experiencing some anxiety as the project was coming to an end, until I realized that I don’t need (or want) to end the project, I just need to pause.

      Grateful for your comment and for your support,


  4. Pingback: “The Journey” by Mary Oliver | Words for the Year

  5. HT

    I found you recently through a search for Mary Oliver’s Pretty Song. I can’t wait to spend some more time enjoying your archives–I see so many poets whose work I love! Looking forward to when you resume posting!

    Liked by 1 person

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