Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Difficult Task

So, there's a celebration about poetry and stuff. And one of my friends and colleagues is looking for readers. And I, apparently, am invited. The thing is, there's someone who is quite ill there as the guest of honor (and rightly so honored), so the organizers are looking for poetry that's about either spring or writing poetry. And not about death and such. Short is also good.

I'm thinking: Astrophel and Stella, #1. Herrick's "Upon his Verses." And "The Cuckoo Song."

Most of the poems I most love about spring or writing poetry are either, hey, it's spring and we should enjoy it because we're all going to die sooner rather than later, and by the way, we should have sex NOW, or the whole Shakespearean I'm a great writer and you're going to die and be remembered only in my poems thing.



  1. Does the poetry need to be from a particular time period? How about Howard Nemerov's "Easter" or James Wright's "A Blessing"?

  2. Or Jane Kenyon's "The Clearing" or Carl Dennis' "Spring Letter"

  3. Ben Jonson "To my Book" would go well with the Herrick. But yeah, no death and/or sex in an early modern lyric? Tall order. That rules out Herrick's "The Vine."

  4. My favorite poem about spring is Gerard Manley Hopkins' "Spring." It's gorgeous, and there's nothing about death or sex as a way of staving off the death :)

  5. Anonymous8:49 AM

    Three Spring Notations on Bipeds
    by Carl Sandburg


    The down drop of the blackbird,
    The wing catch of arrested flight,
    The stop midway and then off: off for triangles, circles, loops of new hieroglyphs—
    This is April’s way: a woman:
    “O yes, I’m here again and your heart
    knows I was coming.”


    White pigeons rush at the sun,
    A marathon of wing feats is on:
    “Who most loves danger? Who most loves wings? Who somersaults for God’s sake in the name of wing power in the sun and blue on an April Thursday.”
    So ten winged heads, ten winged feet, race their white forms over Elmhurst.
    They go fast: once the ten together were a feather of foam bubble, a chrysanthemum whirl speaking to silver and azure.


    The child is on my shoulders.
    In the prairie moonlight the child’s legs hang over my shoulders.
    She sits on my neck and I hear her calling me a good horse.
    She slides down—and into the moon silver of a prairie stream
    She throws a stone and laughs at the clug-clug.