Tag Archives: Poetry

Supposedly fun things to do with prepositions

So it’s Dryden’s fault! [John]Dryden loved the classics; he was easily the most prominent translator and critic of Ovid, Horace, and Virgil, although his translations (like a lot of his own writing) were sort of bombastic and larger-than-life. He was … Continue reading

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‘Vain are the thousand creeds/That move men’s hearts…’

I was the nerd who read Wuthering Heights in the summer of eighth grade, developing a serious crush on the palsied Linton Heathcliff. Although only a handful of her poems ranks beside that novel, Emily Brontë would insist, I’m sure, … Continue reading

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‘Delicious odor! music sweet’

Although May doesn’t excite me to the degree it did Wordsworth, I like the month for its mild heat (just enough to enjoy the pool) and milder teaching schedule. Here’s “To May.” Make it a good one. THOUGH many suns … Continue reading

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‘The barge she sat in, like a burnish’d throne…’

Happy Shakespeare Sunday! The barge she sat in, like a burnish’d throne, Burned on the water: the poop was beaten gold; Purple the sails, and so perfumed that The winds were lovesick with them; the oars were silver, Which to … Continue reading

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‘Bow hither out of heaven and see and save’

A quiet little man whose passion was for Manilius and loving men from a safe distance, A.E. Housman was a mystery when he was live. In the years during and after the Great War, A Shropshire Lad became dear to … Continue reading

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‘Mary, mother of us, where is your relief?’

The ritual abandoned but the romance still exerting a pull, Good Friday has a stillness that attracts me years after I abandoned faith. Gerard Manley Hopkins, never one to take things easy, let alone still-y, has a sonnet for the … Continue reading

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‘Some lovely, perilous thing…’

A colleague and lover of Ezra Pound before realizing her bisexuality, Hilda Doolittle (known as H.D.) emerged from his shadow shortly after her death. Thanks to women’s and queer studies, she’s rightly acclaimed as one of the twentieth century’s strongest … Continue reading

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‘Your cries and hunger document/Our bodily decay’

The poet has a marvelous face fit for ravaged old age. Study that photo. Coming of age during the Age of Eliot, Donald Hall maneuvered through the reaction and counter-reaction, surviving for decades writing taut verse whose technical facility made … Continue reading

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‘Not yesterday I learned to know/The love of bare November days…’

One of Robert Frost’s earliest poems, detectable because the language has a faint Edwardian stiffness. Happy November. My Sorrow, when she’s here with me, Thinks these dark days of autumn rain Are beautiful as days can be; She loves the … Continue reading

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‘These modest gods touch us…’

Best known for the fictions that read like notes on how to write fictions, Jorge Luis Borges wrote poetry too, most of which has the gnomic wisdom of his prose without the surprise. “Shinto” is one of the exceptions; it … Continue reading

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‘We who follow you invented forgiveness/And forgive nothing’

Because it feels like end times and his publishers have assembled a handsome paperback edition of former poet laureate W.S. Merwin, here is “For a Coming Extinction.” Happy October. Gray whale Now that we are sending you to The End … Continue reading

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The uses of poetry

Ink runs from the corners of my mouth. There is no happiness like mine. I have been eating poetry. – Mark Strand True ease in writing comes from art, not chance, As those move easiest who have learned to dance. … Continue reading

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