NATURE, a major compendium of May Swenson's poems, including ten that appeared first in this collection, draws on nearly fifty years of work. "Surely no one, scientist or poet," wrote former U.S. poet laureate Howard Nemerov, "has seen things . . . so clearly as she, and surely no one has made seeing and saying so nearly one."...
|Title||:||Nature: Poems Old and New|
|Number of Pages||:||272 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Nature: Poems Old and New Reviews
I liked this collection much more than I thought I would. Part of that, of course, stems from my natural inclination towards poets in Delaware (although, of course, Swenson was not from Delaware and did not, so far as I know, live here for an extended period of time--although she did die here) and poems like "In the Bodies of Words" are special because of that. I also was incredibly impressed by her compression; I can't remember the last time I read poems so tightly woven and meticulously shaped. It definitely reminded me of some morphing of Gerard Manly Hopkins and William Carlos Williams. The one thing that did not impress me was the "experimental" poetry, because it looks more like a way to play with words on the page rather than using the words themselves (in place of the space on the page) to create specific images, if that makes sense. My one exception to this is "The Blue Bottle," which is pretty extraordinary. Overall, the poems about death resonated most with me (I'll blame that on Harry Kalas), as they were simply spot-on in terms of emotional intensity and originality. The strength of Swenson's poetry, I think, is that originality that comes out in all of her poems; she saw everyday things, things mostly overlooked in fact, and made them worthwhile to be noticed. This particular collection focuses on nature, so each poem has references to natural images even if those things are not the primary focus of the poems themselves. I saw some of the sexual innuendos and thought they were tastefully done but, again, I found the poems about death to be more enlightening.This book is like taking a crash course in Swenson's work. It's indicative of each time period Swenson wrote in, and it's a stunning, impressive body of work in and of itself.
For most of the winter, this book has been following me around the house. Beside my bed, on the bathroom bookshelf (a great place for poetry books!) in the study and today I thought, "Why have I not written a review of this thing?"Well, mainly because I've still read only a portion of the poems. I keep getting caught up by one of them and find myself reading it over again and then again. But also because I find it extremely difficult to write about/review poetry. Now, I feel being impelled to read a poem over and over is often an indication of the poem's brilliance. So I'g just going to give this thing 5 stars and share one poem that I think I've read 100 times now.THE SURFACEFirst I saw the surface,then I saw it flow,then I saw the underneath.In gradual light below,I saw a kind of room,the ceiling was a veil,a shape swam thereslow, opaque and pale.I saw enter by a shifting corridorother blunt bodiesthat sank toward the floor.I tried to follow deeperwith my avid eye.Something changed the focus:I saw the sky,a glass between inverted trees.Then I saw my face.I looked until a cloudflowed over that place.Now I saw the surfacebroad to its rim,here gleam, there opaquefar out, flat and dim.Then I saw it was an Eye:I saw the Wink that slidfrom underneath the surfacebefore it closed its lid.
A read for my upcoming poetry workshop in Santa Fe.