Over the weekend, I assigned Tennyson and Eavan Boland.
Today, though, I am assigning one of my all time favorites, Yusef Komunyakaa.
His voice is unique and perfect, just like the man. I love the way that he captures place in his words. The poem, I think it is called Salt, about the son of a servant and the rich woman’s daughter playing together is gorgeous and haunting.
The first of his books that I read was Talking Dirty to the Gods. It is a wonderful collection. Each poem has the same form; each poem looks at a single subject in a neatly twisted and slanted way. I adore Lust and also the poem about Maggots from this collection. You should really get it.
By Sorbonne graduate and beatific father of the west coast poetry scene, Lawrence Ferlinghetti.
Awww, see those city lights.
Anyone who has ever taken a class or workshop has at least read the red wheelbarrow poem, take some time today to read other works by Williams.
He is a master of the concrete detail. His poems are stripped of all the crap and just have the meat and bones of good imagry. They trust and depend upon their reader. I love the one about the plums.
Over the weekend, I had friends (or friend, perhaps) read:
Saturday: Edna St. Vincent Millay (she suited my working saturday with her longing romantic ways)
Sunday: Anne Sexton
Monday: Jane Hirshfield.
I have been reading the collection The Lives of the Heart because I noticed that my poet friend Jessica was reading it. In it, I have found poems that I already knew, and wondered about, but had forgotten. She has this great feel for nature and how it interacts with us as humans. Nature strongly represents nature in her poetry, and visa versa. She is wonderful.
Today, read some John Berryman. Berryman’s best know work are his dream songs, a group of poems that include elegies of famous poets, ramblings about girls eating in diners, and threats to shoot himself on his father’s grave. Berryman was obsessed with sex and the idea that children whose fathers committed suicide were doomed to end the same way. He fulfilled this prophsey when he shot himself.
What do you think of the way that he openly exposes his life in deamons with his dual narrators (Henry and Mr. Bones)? Was this bravery, was it insanity, was it a mix of the two? Do you consider him a confessional poet? (I sort of do. I think that he is not popularly known as such because he is a man, but I think that he was quite confessional, in hie own twisted way.)
For those of you who don’t know, Berryman’s poetry is foreceful and sometimes graphic. Do you think that this is a mode that you would be comfortable with?
Those of you who actually know me, you may notice that I have been posting assignments on my facebook. Yesterday, everyone was to read Adrienne Rich (her poem “White Night” is my favorite. Go on, look it up.)
What did you think of her work? I heard her read a few years ago. It was wonderous.
Today’s assignment was to go old school with William Blake (London is my favorite of his poems). While reading his poetry, also take time to look at some of his etchings.
OK Discuss. What did each of these people give to poetry? What did they do for you? Do you like them? How are they different or the same?