I've been discussing this community in comments on anonymid's journal, which I now think isn't the brightest thing I've done.
I'm interested what other people think the April poet of the month should be?
I suggested Hart Crane, but actually I might have been thinking of Bret Harte and getting the name wrong. I know theory, philosophy, and the literature of novels much much better than poetry which is why I'm so intrigued at the poetofthemonth format.
I know that Harold Bloom in Genius had a ton of praise for one of them. I was thinking it was Hart Crane, but now I'm not so sure. I'll go to the library and look in Genius today. The problem I see with Hart Crane is that he takes his own life at 32, which doesn't really seem to me in keeping with someone that Harold Bloom wanted to enshrine in the best 100 writers of all time! It's not that the immorality of the act makes me quaver, but just that his output seems impoverished maybe in part because of the foreshortened scope of his life and also because of the drinking, poverty, emotional problems, and assumedly drug use that let to his early demise: I read the first third of a biography of Hart Crane last night.
Anyway, it seems to me that discussions about the poets seems as useful to me, as someone that knows very little about poetry, as discussions about the actual texts and therefore I thankfully welcome as many comments to this post about future selections as possible.
so here we go
Last night I read the "Church Porch" section of The Temple
, with its lengthy, didactic (I use the term here neutrally/descriptively, not critically) "Perirrhanterium" (which, according to the gloss in the Penguin edition, is "an instrument for sprinkling holy water, especially upon the newly baptised"). A couple things I'll be paying attention to as I shift to the shorter lyrics in the subsequent section:
1.) the architectural metaphor that structures the whole book (nowhere more blatantly than in the first lyric of the "Church" section, "The Alter"); and
2.) the radical shift in the rhetorical structure and tone of the verse (i.e., the shift from a didactic, authoritative voice addressing a young newcomer to the church, to an intimate, isolated, often insecure voice addressing God/Christ and/or himself)--Herbert's lyrics are generally read detached from the context supplied by the opening section, and I'll be interested to see, reading The Temple
as a unity, how the agenda (for lack of a better word) established in "The Church Porch" colors/shades the more famous lyrics that follow.
George Herbert is our poet for March
Our poet for March will be George Herbert
. My plan is to read The Temple
straight through in its entirety. I'll be using The Complete English Poems
, published by Penguin. Everyman publishes an inexpensive abridged version
, which should suffice for those looking to take just a modest dip into GH for now. And without a doubt texts of many/most/all of the poems can be found online at one place or another. (The Herbert site linked to above appears to have a healthy selection.)
Format for discussion will be casual, informal, open-ended. I'll try to spur discussion as best I can, but anyone is welcome to lead/contribute in any way they see fit.