Editor’s choice: Poetry picks
Published: Monday, April 9, 2012
Updated: Monday, April 9, 2012 01:04
Line by line, he humorously undresses the 19th century poet with lines such as “the complexity of women’s undergarments in the nineteenth-century America is not to be waved off.”
As he hypothetically strips Dickinson, he sprinkles in references to her content as well as her style, such as “how there were sudden dashes whenever we spoke.” The poem uses boyish curiosity to strip away the reader’s preconceived notions and reveal the beauty of Dickinson’s work.
— Joe Polito, Montage Editor
Robert Frost, “The Road Not Taken”
Though most people remember annoyance at having had to read Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” almost every year in grade school, I have always been able to relate to the poem.
When it comes to making decisions and choosing paths, I am perpetually “sorry I could not travel both.” Many readers take comfort in knowing that the speaker chooses the road less traveled, but however pessimistically, the reason the speaker is “telling this with a sigh” is that whether you made the right decision or the wrong one, there will always be another missed opportunity somewhere in the past.
— Jessica Schoenfeld, Opinion Editor
W.B. Yeats, “The Second Coming”
Being of Irish descent, W.B. Yeats has always been one of my favorite poets. And this year, the year of the supposed Mayan apocalypse, what poem could be more fitting than Yeats’ “The Second Coming”?
The opening stanza describes a crumbling world — “Things fall apart, the center cannot hold” — painting an image of a world that seems to be ending soon, much like our own may be.
Then the scene shifts to a giant sphinx, “a shape of lion body and head of man,” wandering across the desert, which is a pretty impressive image. If that’s how the apocalypse initiates, I won’t complain.
— Michael Manganello, Sports Editor
Billy Collins, “Litany”
One of the most well-known contemporary poets, Collins manages to be a skilled writer without taking the craft too seriously.
In “Litany,” his sense of humor is readily apparent. The poem is a “rewrite” of another poem by Jacques Crikillon, retaining the first two lines: “You are the bread and the knife, the crystal goblet and the wine.”
Collins mocks the tendency in love poems to overuse metaphor, comparing the beloved to a nonsensical list of objects. Collins begins to list things that the “you” is not or might possibly be. Though humor is his intent, he still creates some fairly vivid imagery.
— Michael Hardcastle, Copy Chief