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Personal anthology: W. S. Merwin

I have a scintillating weekend ahead of me. Taxes. Statistics homework. That’s pretty much the shape of it, though there may be some Blackadder as a reward for getting the taxes done, if I have time. So, until I return, have a poem: Rain Travel I wake in the dark and rememberit is the morning […]

Personal anthology: W. B. Yeats

I’m short of post ideas today. So, an old favorite: Brown Penny I whispered, "I am too young,"And then, "I am old enough";Wherefore I threw a pennyTo find out if I might love."Go and love, go and love, young man,If the lady be young and fair."Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny,I am looped in the […]

Personal anthology: Frank O’Hara

Because I’ve got a bit of writer’s block today, here’s another poem from the commonplace book. Some years ago, a friend who shared my fondness for Frank O’Hara’s poems pointed this one out to me. "It’s really kind of a perfect poem, don’t you think?" she said, and I read it and had to agree. […]

Personal anthology: Robert Graves

Because I haven’t posted a random favorite poem for a while: Love Without Hope Love without hope, as when the young bird-catcherSwept off his tall hat to the Squire’s own daughter,So let the imprisoned larks escape and flySinging about her head, as she rode by. — Robert Graves What I love about this poem: its […]

Personal anthology: Frank Bidart

I’m listening to Zinka Milanov and Jussi Björling singing their hearts out as Aïda and Radames on the Sunday Opera Matinee this afternoon, and this poem popped into my head as suddenly apropos. For the Twentieth Century Bound,  hungry to pluck again from the thousandtechnologies of ecstasy boundlessness,  the world that at a drop of […]

Personal anthology: The Pearl-poet

This passage on the turning of the seasons and the progress of time from Sir Gawain and the Green Knight has been on my mind of late. (Someone in my corner of the blogosphere posted it a while back, but I can’t remember who.) It’s quite long, so I’m ellipsizing a bit: A year soon […]

Personal anthology: Russell Edson

My springtime cold lingered for a week, and I’m still clearing my throat at intervals. So I’ve been cheering myself up by reading some of Russell Edson‘s prose poems. Here are two: The Fall There was a man who found two leaves and came indoors holding them out saying to his parents that he was […]

Personal anthology: William Carlos Williams

I’m unplugging for the next few days. I’ll be back when life settles down a bit. In the meantime, here’s a favorite semi-obscure William Carlos Williams poem: The Attic Which Is Desire the unused tentof bare beamsbeyond which directly waitthe night and day—Here from the streetby *  *  * *  S  * *  O  * […]

Short bits

I’m going to hear Magdalena Kozená sing tomorrow night! Gluck, Rameau, Rebel, and some as-yet-unannounced Mozart. Huzzah for other people’s last-minute ticket cancellations! I think I’m going to be pretty close to the stage, too. Cole Swensen’s poems are hard to describe: you never know where she’s going subjectwise, but the way she breaks up […]

Personal anthology: Ted Hughes

I half-remembered this poem several weeks ago, during a wind-storm so loud that at first I couldn’t even identify the sound when I stepped out of my front door. I looked it up, and it’s been rattling around my head ever since. I had forgotten the startling lines "Blade-light, luminous black and emerald, / Flexing […]