I’m unsure of how to write about poetry, but over the past couple weeks I’ve been in the right mood and have been reading this and Paradise Lost (about which I will probably have more to say), mostly out loud to myself. Reading the poems aloud was a good move, because it allowed me to connect with the poems despite having less familiarity with them. I dip into Auden, Yeats, Robinson Jeffers and Anne Porter often, but I hadn’t read a whole collection of poetry in a while. I picked up a copy of this years ago for a class I took, or at least shortly after I had taken it, and remembered the excellent poem We Real Cool (at least partially because it was also in a collection that came with recordings of poets reading their work), but not much else.
I will say these are powerful. I will be dipping into this along with my regulars now, I think. To my mind, she was particularly good at sonnets; the collection contains several great sequences. Three of the non-sonnets that really stood out to me were Negro Hero, Lovers of the Poor and In Emmanuel’s Nightmare: Another Coming of Christ. But the poem that absolutely killed me and was my favorite in the book was A Sunset of the City.
This is a vital collection.
Owned But Previously Unread 2020 48/75
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