Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Great Regulars: Esmeralda, immer immer.

The poem, which recalls [Vladimir] Nabokov's own visit to Oregon, is about the interaction of Old World and New (thus the French and German, which would otherwise be little more than showing off). But there's an additional, subtle formal touch. The ­poem's unusual trochaic meter is also used in Longfellow's "Song of Hiawatha," one of the definitive early poems of America--and that meter in turn was inspired by the Finnish "Kalevala," one of the great mythic poems of Europe. It's an ingenious fusion of structure and theme.

from David Orr: The New York Times: Flying On in the Reflected Sky


Much of the anthology consists of work that is not so much for "new parents" as plain old "parents" or even just "people who have heard of these things called 'children,' " but there are two sections devoted specifically to birth and infancy. They are dominated by female poets, almost all of whom are alive today. And that dominance would be even more pronounced if several famous dead male poets were not included on grounds that seem charitable at best. For instance, Robert Frost's "The Pasture" is labeled a "birth" poem, although it has about as much to do with birth as Prince's "Little Red Corvette" does with carburetors.

from David Orr: NPR: It's A Genre! The Overdue Poetry Of Parenthood


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