Category Archives: Poetry

America’s Unofficial Poet Laureate: Mary Oliver

Judging by her phenomenal sales, Mary Oliver surely rates as America’s unofficial poet laureate, and yet the anomaly that she’s never held the office since its inception in 1937. I have to confess that I hadn’t heard of her, despite … Continue reading

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On First Looking Into Milford’s Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind; Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave. I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned. –Edna … Continue reading

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Sarah Teasdale: “There Will Come Soft Rains”

Am in a poetry mood again, which just shows you how subversive reading a poet’s biography can be (Nancy Milford’s Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay). In doing so, I came across Sara Teasdale, a once in-vogue … Continue reading

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Solace for the Hard Places: Jeffers, “Shine, Perishing Republic”

I suppose every generation thinks it’s in crisis and, you know, they’re probably right, given the volatility of history; our time, no less so, as we make the transition to a new Washington regime that appears menacing to many of … Continue reading

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A favorite poem: William Carlos Williams’ “Spring and All”

By the road to the contagious hospital under the surge of the blue mottled clouds driven from the northeast–a cold wind.  Beyond, the waste of broad, muddy fields brown with dried weeds, standing and fallen. patches of standing water the … Continue reading

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On Visiting Bloedel Reserve

If you have a garden and a library you have everthing you need.–Cicero I’ve been doing a lot of walking in the Seattle area these past several days, while visiting my daughter and family. As a gardener back home in … Continue reading

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Edna St. Vincent Millay’s “Recuerdo”: A Close Reading

                                                                                … Continue reading

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Dickinson Revisits Keats: “I Died for Beauty”

I died for Beauty–but was scarce Adjusted in the Tomb When One who died for Truth was lain In an adjoining room He questioned softly “Why I failed”? “For beauty”, I replied– “And I–for truth–Themself are One We brethren, are”, … Continue reading

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A Poet Reminisces: Essays After Eighty

I have always liked poetry and poets, in particular, because of their sensitivity to human experience. One poet I like a lot is Donald Hall, a giant among contemporary American poets, although he’s given up the craft, or as he … Continue reading

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Winter Discontent: Dickinson’s “There’s a certain Slant of light”

I’m sitting here in our sunroom, looking out this afternoon on our backyard, smothered with frost. We had our first snow cover a week ago, which came early to Kentucky. I’m a warm weather lover, and while those around me … Continue reading

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