1 Following


Currently reading

Almost No Memory
Lydia Davis
Selected Poems
Philippe Jaccottet
The Tiger's Wife
Téa Obreht
Charles Dickens (Penguin Lives)
Jane Smiley
The Mansion of Happiness
Robin Ekiss
Erik Satie
Sestets: Poems - Charles Wright I very much enjoyed these poems, also because they were all of six lines, but mostly because Charles Wright wrote them. I don’t think this collection as a whole was as stunning as some of his other books, but it was still excellent. Very gracefully written. I dogeared many pages - things I loved and things I argued with.

I also enjoyed the titles, such as “As the Train Rolls Through, I Remember an Old Poem,” which begins -

Well, here we are again, old friend, Ancient of Days,
Eyeball to eyeball.

Other intriguing titles include:
“Our Days are Political, but Birds are Something Else”
“Time Is a Graceless Enemy, but Purls as It Comes and Goes”
“Twilight of the Dogs”

I don’t think Charles Wright pulls off the glib or light-hearted very well, such as when he begins a poems with “A-wop-bob-a-loo-lop a-lop-bam-boo.” I felt a resistance, too, to his using phrases like “haul ass” and “herky-jerky.” It just didn’t seem appropriate for a poet so grave and meditative to grab at chattiness.

I also felt some of the poems didn’t have the punch intended. For example, in the poem “When the Horses Gallop Away from Us, It’s a Good Thing,” I don’t get the feeling anything is being revealed to me. No, in fact it seems kind of banal, alas:

I always find it strange - though I shouldn’t - how creatures don’t
care for us the way we care for them.
Horses, for instance, and chipmunks, and any bird you’d name.
Empathy’s only a one-way street.

But when he’s on, he’s very on, as in the poem “Bitter Herbs to Eat, and Dipped in Honey,” which begins -
We lay out our own dark end, / guilt, and the happiness of guilt.

Here’s a link to some of the poems from Blackbird. They are all in the collection except for “Down in the Mines” (at least I do not find this title).