Archives for January 2017

It’s the birthday of the poet W.D. (William DeWitt) Snodgrass born in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania (1926)

He was studying poetry at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in the early 1950s when his marriage began to fall apart, and he began writing about it in his poems. He showed some of these personal poems to his teacher, the poet Robert Lowell, but Lowell didn’t like them. He said, “You’ve got a brain; you can’t write this kind of tear-jerking stuff.”

Lowell later recanted and helped Snodgrass get his poetry collection, Heart’s Needle, published in 1959. It was Snodgrass’s first book, and it won the Pulitzer Prize. Lowell called it “a breakthrough for modern poetry.”

Snodgrass’s work helped inspire a whole new school of poetry in which American poets began to write openly about their personal lives for the first time in decades. Snodgrass has since been called one of the founders of confessional poetry, but he said, “The term confessional seems to imply either that I’m concerned with religious matters (I am not) or that I’m writing some sort of bedroom memoir (I hope I’m not).”

But in defense of writing personal poems, Snodgrass said: “The only reality which [a poet] can ever surely know is that self he cannot help being . . . If he pretties it up, if he changes its meaning, if he gives it the voice of any borrowed authority, if in short he rejects this reality, his mind will be less than alive. So will his words.”

reposted from Writer’s Allmanac.

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That’s The Way

I sit under the sun coming from the East,

but will never again. It goes over the mountains

out West, so I lay back on a mountain rock

to easily see

 

the darkening sky that’ll soon be

filled with sparkling stars,

lighting the night, and soon

moon beams will be sent

to make my night bright.

 

What a beautiful scene, and though it’s

the last I’ll ever see, happiness fills me,

because I’ve been alive and allowed to

enjoy so many natural things.

 

Stars, sun and moon are only a few

of the wonders I’ve seen.

I watched babies born, flowers grow

girls transformed into women and have

even loved a few,

 

These are answers I give when asked why,

why do we even exist? Are we here to fill

a void or to satisfy a whim of someone or

something far greater than we?

 

To live, to enjoy, to be worry free while

appreciating the show going on around us.

We may never live again, but stop to think

my friend, of the opportunity freely given us

 

to participate in marvels filling our world.

Imagine if you can, never having seen a river,

waterfall, or the sun or moon with stars sprinkling

light throughout the sky.

 

Or watched people give love, kindness and hope to

those less fortunate than them and share affection

with dogs and cats and horses and more. Imagine if

you exist for eternity and have only heard, but never seen?

 

That’s why I’ve pinned this note to my chest for you to read.

I’m sorry it had to be you that found me laying here on a

beautiful rock that I laid on to die. But now that the best

part of me is gone,

 

I beseech you to bury what remains right here where

I laid under the sky to watch the sun go down, and the

moon rise amongst the stars, the perfect time and

place to die. So you see my friend, I’m happy now!

 

 

 

I didn’t know this about Asimov.

It’s the birthday of Isaac Asimov (1920) (books by this author). He was born in Petrovichi, Russia, and his family immigrated to the United States when he was three years old. He grew up in Brooklyn, where his family ran a candy store. Most people think of him as a science fiction author, and he is considered one of the “Big Three” in that genre (along with Robert A. Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke), but his books are found in all 10 categories of the Dewey Decimal System. He wrote or edited over 500 books, many of them works of popular science, making him one of the most prolific writers of all time.

 

Reposted from WA