Suzie has published her second Valentine poem of the week, a lovely and human piece by W. H. Auden, called “Lullaby.” The deal this year is that we are posting requests, but I will tell you up front that this one was requested by nobody but me. It’s one of my favorite poems of all time, and certainly my favorite villanelle. We talked about this French form recently here when I discussed three villanelle examples that the library workshop used. You may see at least some of the fruits of our efforts in an upcoming post.
But I chose “One Art” today for other reasons. An old friendship has re-ignited from more than twenty years ago, from my first college days in the flatlands of Indiana. You can find some truly excellent advice on editing over at Joel’s blog, the Green Caret. Our favorite former English professor inspired his use of a green editing pen, and she just happened to be the first person I ever heard read the poem “One Art,” by Elizabeth Bishop.The piece was written for Bishop’s long time partner Lota Soares. It is not a happy love poem, and so perhaps not the best choice for a Valentine card, but love poems don’t have to have happy endings. Loss is a part of the experience of love, as so many songs and poems prove.
And so while Joel did not request this, he did inspire it, so that’s close enough. I have another E. E. Cummings poem coming up this week that one of you suggested, so stay tuned. Meanwhile, what love poem do you wish you had written? Let me know in the comments.
This reading was one of the ones testing out my new microphone, and it will probably be rerecorded later because it is just crying out for a short video I think. The last recording I did of this piece was probably in 2010. You can find the entire text of the poem on the Poetry Foundation website here.