Here we are in the waning days of February. Nature is giving us her last blast of rain, wind and ice. A gentle reminder to appreciate the balmy weather that will soon follow.
This week felt like an excellent time to go in search of a great poet who is a man. Seems I tend to feature women poets a tad bit more and so in an effort to balance that out a bit, here we go!
"I started writing poetry as a teenager in suburban Chicago out of emotional desperation. I was overwhelmed by feelings I couldn't understand, emotions that were so powerful and intense, so unusual to me, that I thought I would drown. I wanted to express what I was feeling, to make sense of it, to give it order and shape, to transform it. I needed help to keep my head above water. I hit upon writing lyric poems, which are short and intense; lyrics put tremendous pressure on the sounds of words, and they break up sentences into lines, which are rhythmic experiences. Poems mesmerized me, and I felt better when I was writing them, or trying to, more in touch with something deep and dark within myself.
I grew up in a middle-class house without books, without art. No one around me wrote poetry or even read it. Even my teachers seemed indifferent to it. The sole literary presence from my childhood was my grandfather, a Jewish immigrant from Latvia, who eccentrically copied poems into the backs of his books. After he died, when I was 8 years old, my grandmother gave his books away, and his poems were lost. My family had always noted the strong physical resemblance between us, but after I began writing poems in high school, those lost poems also became part of my legacy, an incitement from the past. Even though I was on my own, I felt less lonely because I was carrying on something that my grandfather had almost willed to me. I wanted to live up to that inadvertent gift, to use it to make contact with others. I decided to become a poet."
After a Long Insomniac Night
I walked down to the sea in the early morning
after a long insomniac night.
I climbed over the giant gull-colored rocks
and moved past the trees,
tall dancers stretching their limbs
and warming up in the blue light.
I entered the salty water, a penitent
whose body was stained,
and swam toward a red star rising
in the east—regal, purple-robed.
One shore disappeared behind me
and another beckoned.
that I forgot the person I had been
as easily as the clouds drifting overhead.
My hands parted the water.
The wind pressed at my back, wings
and my soul floated over the whitecapped waves.
Here is his book, The Living Fire
Hope you are making the most of the remaining days of winter and as always, see you next time right here on Mondays Poetry Review.
Until then. keep writing!