Thursday, December 2, 2010

Literary Blog Hop: Pure Poetry!

Literary Blog Hop

The Blue Bookcase has started a "Literary Blog Hop" for blogs "that primarily feature reviews of literary fiction, classic literature, and general literary discussion."

Each week, in addition to hopping around and visiting some terrific book blogs, participants answer a bookish question.  This week's question comes from Gary at Parrish Lantern:

What is your favorite poem and why?

Lucia answers this question very well for the Blue Bookcase team, managing to tie in Alexander Pope, Roald Dahl, and metaphysical poet Andrew Marvell, before settling on one of Shakespeare's sonnets.

Ah, well . . .

I can't really rise to that level, poetry troglodyte that I am. I did fancy John Dunne in my college days, but it didn't stick.  If my charming and omni-talented friend Kirsten Rian didn't email me a poem every Monday, I wouldn't recognize one if it jumped up and kissed me on the face.

I did read an epic poem this year. I read Seamus Heany's translation of Beowulf, but that was only because it was disguised as a story.  And even then, I would not have read it if it hadn't won a prize.

However, like Lucia, I'll pick a Shakespeare sonnet as my "favorite" because it is the only poem I ever managed to memorize.  It comes in handy at weddings. In fact, if you knew me in the late '80s or early '90s, check your wedding video, because after a few glasses of champagne, I was often likely to recite it for the bride and groom:

Shakespeare's 116th Sonnet

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.


  1. 'Negro Speaks of Rivers' by Langston Hughes.

  2. I love the work of Seamus Heany, whether it's this translation or his poetry, & I would have love to see the drunken recitation of shakespeare, must have enlivened many a wedding reception.


  3. Helen: Good choice! I actually did my undergraduate thesis on the poetry of Langston Hughes, so you would think I could have remembered that when answering this question. Apparently not.

    parrish lantern: My favorite part of Beuwulf was Heany's essay at the end about working on Beowulf, poetry, language, writing, etc. It is a wonderful essay.

    I'm also available for bar mitzvas and birthday parties. But I only know the one poem . . . .

  4. Sonnet 116 is one of my favorite poems. It's beautiful and powerful.

  5. Red: You are right. It is beautiful, which is why I memorized it in the first place and why it sticks with me now.

  6. I love many of Shakespeare's sonnets.

    Being a poet, I can’t imagine my life without poetry. I live and breath it. I have loved to read a lot of poets and poetry over the years and still find something new every day. I have gone through phases liking, poets, and moving over to the the next. So many yet to read.

    Here is my Literary Blog Hop post!

  7. GT: You are an inspiration. I always intend to read more poetry, but never do. I should try more. Thanks for leaving your link.

  8. Shakespeare's sonnets are beautiful. I really should read more poetry!

  9. Love poetry so much. Never read a single one of Shakespeare's sonnets, though. Maybe I could listen to these, read very slowly by someone with a nice voice?

    Here's my post:

  10. Poem

    Love, I shall perfect for you the child
    Who diligently potters in my brain
    Digging with heavy spade till sods were piled
    or puddling through muck in a deep drain.

    Yearly I would sow my yard-long garden.
    I'd strip a layer of sods to build a wall
    that was to keep out sow and pecking hen
    yearly, admitting these, the sods would fall.

    Or in the sucking clabber I would splash
    Delightedly and dam the flowing drain
    But always my bastions of clay and mush
    would burst before the rising autumn rain.

    Love, you shall perfect for me this child
    whose small imperfect limits would keep breaking:
    within new limits now, arrange the world
    And square the circle: four walls and a ring.

    Seamus Heaney.

  11. Didn't John Donne write Death, Be Not Proud? Or, am I thinking of someone else? At any rate, this topic is a weak one for me; I've not read so many worthy poems, Beowulf being just one of them!

  12. That Seamus Heany Beowulf is the I read it out loud to myself.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...