Annals of the self

I think my first real appreciation of American poetry came from the TV series Voices and Visions.  The series describes the lives and works of 13 American poets from Whitman to Plath.  There is also a beautiful companion book to the series.

I can honestly say I have purchased and read the works of those poets.  The works have a pride of place in my library equal to the classics.  The poems are something I always return to with delight and wonder.  It’s as if they are an encyclopedia of desire.

“Who are you?” is the most important question.  “I am many,” is the short answer Whitman gave.  One can prove it by Reason and from Experience, but Reason and Experience do not detract from that other way of knowing–Revelation.

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Published in: on December 4, 2010 at 3:55 pm  Comments (4)  

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  1. an encyclopedia of desire – that’s very good!

    I like this by Wallace Stevens (even if he teaches in a few places)

    The house was quiet and the world was calm.
    The reader became the book; and summer night

    Was like the conscious being of the book.
    The house was quiet and the world was calm.

    The words were spoken as if there was no book,
    Except that the reader leaned above the page,

    Wanted to lean, wanted much to be
    The scholar to whom his book is true, to whom

    The summer night is like a perfection of thought.
    The house was quiet because it had to be.

    The quiet was part of the meaning, part of the mind:
    The access of perfection to the page.

    And the world was calm. The truth in a calm world,
    In which there is no other meaning, itself

    Is calm, itself is summer and night, itself
    Is the reader leaning late and reading there.

    What’s your favorite?

    • I too really like that poem. It reminds me of my favorite, The Snowman.

  2. Yes, I like the last couple of lines in The Snowman,

    For the listener, who listens in the snow,
    And, nothing himself, beholds
    Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

    But then personally I HATE snow and we have been covered with it in this country for days.

    In two weeks my wife and I are going to Sao Paulo Brazil – and SUMMER – to celebrate Christmas and New Year – I can’t wait.

    How DO you cope with winter in Chicago?

  3. Orla –

    Sao Paulo at Christmas sounds so cool.

    I cope with winter in Chicago by dreaming of summer.


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