A couple of years ago, my friend Ellen and I decided to celebrate birthdays a little differently. Having visited Rwanda and made close friends there, and feeling very keenly the abundance of our lives and the scarcity of resources elsewhere, Ellen requested that friends and family who felt compelled to give her a gift simply make a donation to the African Great Lakes Initiative. Each year since then, I have done just that.

But we also have a tradition of giving small things, inexpensive or not involving money at all: a used book or a favorite recipe, for instance. Because Ellen is a fan of poetry anthologies, and because it’s been a long time since I added any links to the poetry page on this blog, I’m posting a mini-anthology in honor of Ellen’s birthday.

Passing Through” by Stanley Kunitz

Found Letter” by Joshua Weiner

won’t you celebrate with me” by Lucille Clifton