Based on a True Story. Or Not.
Does it matter if a poem that seems autobiographical is actually fictional?
by Kathleen Rooney
Based on a True Story. Or Not.
my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;"
ee cummings, from “somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond”
See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15401
Sharon Olds clicked the clock over to 71 on November 19 and was awarded this year’s Pulitzer Prize for her poetry.
to look at a mountain
for what it is
and not a comment
on my life."
— David Ignatow
wreath of poppies via Wikimedia Commons
Most countries changed the name of the holiday after World…
I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.
― Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar"
Sylvia Plath was born October 27, 1932 in Boston.
She studied with poet Robert Lowell in the late 1950’s. Her first collection of poems, Colossus, was published in 1960 in England, and two years later in the United States. She was married to poet Ted Huges and had two children, Frieda and Nicholas in 1960 and 1962, respectively.
When Ted Hughes left her in 1962 for another woman, she went into a deep depression and wrote most of the poems that would comprise her most famous book, Ariel.
In 1963, Plath published a semi-autobiographical novel, The Bell Jar, under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas.
On February 11, 1963, she wrote a note to her downstairs neighbor instructing him to call the doctor, then she committed suicide using her gas oven.
Although only Colossus was published while she was alive, Plath was a prolific poet, and in addition to Ariel, Hughes published three other volumes of her work posthumously, including The Collected Poems, which was the recipient of the 1982 Pulitzer Prize. She was the first poet to win a Pulitzer Prize after death.
Old age should burn and rave at close of day,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light."
When Dylan Thomas went on his fourth reading tour of the United States in 1953, he was deep into his alcoholism. He was hospitalized with alcohol poisoning just as the tour began and told his doctor, “I’ve had 18 straight whiskeys. I think that’s the record.”
He died a few days later. One of his last poems is “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” - a poem in the villanelle form about the death of his father.
Dylan Marlais Thomas was born on October 27, 1914, in South Wales at 5 Cwmdonkin Drive in Swansea.
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes…"
opening of e e cummings poem
— Arthur Rimbaud Birthday boy Arthur (October 20, 1854) was an influential part of the decadence movement, which rejected anything they saw as bourgeois.
mountain’s red leaves -
the setting sun
returns to the sky
Swallows (Photo credit: L’eau Bleue)
Happy birthday, Oscar Wilde, who said (along with a lot of other wise and witty stuff) “All bad poetry springs from genuine feeling.” Remember that all you poetry teacher types.
May much stay out of our stated plan,
Apples or something forgotten and left,
So smelling their sweetness would be no theft."
from “Unharvested” by Robert Frost, from The Collected Poems
read full poem at http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2013/10/05
Words from W.S. Merwin on his birthday.
A former poet laureate of the United States, W. S. Merwin was born in New York City on 9/30/27 and he was raised in Union City, New Jersey.
He won the 1971 Pulitzer Prize for his collection The Carrier of Ladders and the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for The Shadow of Sirius. He also won the 2005 National Book Award for Migration: New & Selected Poems.
He started writing poems when he was four or five years old, he said — at first, they were mostly hymns to give to his father, a Presbyterian minister. He studied literature and Romance languages at Princeton, gained the admiring attention of W.H. Auden, and published his first book of poems, A Mask for Janus, the year he turned 25.
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past."
T. S. Eliot