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And so away to Stevenage, and staid till a showre was over, and so rode easily to Welling, where we supped well, and had two beds in the room and so lay single, and still remember it that of all the nights that ever I slept in my life I never did pass a night […]

Personal anthology: George Peele

Just caught the first cold of the season. Too congested and run-down to write about anything profound tonight. So I’m posting obscure sixteenth-century poetry instead. I like this one especially for its rhythms. Bethsabe’s Song Hot sun, cool fire, tempered with sweet air,Black shade, fair nurse, shadow my white hair;Shine sun; burn, fire; breathe, air, […]

Even the musky muscadines

Virginia is the furthest south I’ve ever lived — except for Santa Monica, which I don’t count because I think of California as west more than anything else. So far it hasn’t been that much of a culture shock, but every so often I think "Hey, I really am living in the south." What prompts […]

Personal anthology: H.D.

This is in honor of my finally having unpacked my books and filled my bookshelves. I’d almost forgotten I had a copy of this lovely little anthology of Imagist poetry, but I was very happy to dig it out of the bottom of a box. My mother had this book when I was growing up, […]

Personal anthology: Rainer Maria Rilke

Evening The sky puts on the darkening blue coatheld for it by a row of ancient trees;you watch: and the lands grow distant in your sight,one journeying to heaven, one that falls; and leave you, not at home in either one,not quite so still and dark as the darkened houses,not calling to eternity with the […]

Department of library de-acquisitions

There’s a great passage in the first chapter of Italo Calvino’s If on a winter’s night a traveler in which the unnamed Reader (always addressed in the second person) enters a bookstore and is confronted by the intimidating legions of Books You Haven’t Read. Calvino arrays them into categories, including: the Books You’ve Been Planning […]

Poem On Your Blog Day

I found out about Poem on Your Blog Day via this Metafilter thread, one of whose contributors has made me very happy by posting Frank O’Hara’s "Having a Coke with You." I find it all but impossible to pick just one poem, but for some reason I thought of this one: But I Can’t Time […]


First, Andrew Marvell. I have a hard time choosing favorite seventeenth-century poets, but at any given point, Marvell’s likely to be among my top three. The Mower to the Glo-Worms Ye living Lamps, by whose dear light The Nightingale does sit so late, And studying all the Summer-night, Her matchless Songs does meditate; Ye Country […]

Personal anthology: A. R. Ammons

Eyesight It was May before myattention cameto spring and my word I saidto the southern slopesI’ve missed it, itcame and went beforeI got right to see: don’t worry, said the mountain,try the later northern slopesor if you can climb, climbinto spring: butsaid the mountain it’s not that waywith all things, somethat go are gone — […]

Of green-gowns, fuz-balls, and sperrables

Browsing through The Poems of Robert Herrick, ed. L. C. Martin (London: Oxford University Press, 1965), I noticed that at the back there’s a "Select Glossary of Uncommon Words and Meanings," presumably in lieu of footnotes to the poems themselves. Among the highlights: Bestrutted: Swollen.Bruckel’d: Grimy.Candidate: In a white sheet.Cup-shot: Drunk.Dew-locks: Dewy hair.Ding-thrift: Spendthrift.Fasting-Spittle: Saliva […]