Nikky Finney reads Margaret Walker.
The More Loving One
Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
That, for all they care, I can go to hell,
But on earth indifference is the least
We have to dread from man or beast.
How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.
Admirer as I think I am
Of stars that do not give a damn,
I cannot, now I see them, say
I missed one terribly all day.
Were all stars to disappear or die,
I should learn to look at an empty sky
And feel its total dark sublime,
Though this might take me a little time.
—W. H. Auden, born today 1907
The wet dawn inks are doing their blue dissolve.
On their blotter of fog the trees
Seem a botanical drawing —
Memories growing, ring on ring,
A series of weddings.
from Winter Trees, by Sylvia Plath.
Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
Burnt Norton Published today in 1941.
Sharon Olds reads Lucille Clifton.
Announcing the 2014 Frost Medalist: Gerald Stern
The part that we avoided was not the heart
but what we called the pouch, for it still swelled
or seemed to and there was plenty of horror cutting
into what made the music or at least
the agency you might call it, and more than one of us
retched and as you know, that can become
contagious—think of a roomful of pouches exploding
think of the music on a summer night
with no one conducting and think of how warm it might be
and how love songs may have gotten started there.
from In Beauty Bright (W. W. Norton, 2012)
Gerald Stern was born in 1925 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the son of Eastern European immigrants. He studied at the University of Pittsburgh and Columbia University. He is the author of numerous collections of poetry, including most recently, In Beauty Bright (Norton, 2012); Early Collected Poems from 1965-1992 (2010), which received the Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry from the Library of Congress; Save the Last Dance (2008); and Everything is Burning (2005). His collection This Time: New and Selected Poems, received the 1998 National Book Award. In 2000 he was appointed the first Poet Laureate of New Jersey. His many honors include awards from the Paris Review, Poetry, and the American Poetry Review, as well as the Pennsylvania Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets, and induction into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. For many years Gerald Stern was a professor at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He now lives in Lambertville, New Jersey.
Read more here.