Stephen Burt, “After Callimachus”

Bunting I like, but not Olson, nor Bernstein, nor Pound;
I’m tired of flashy long poems
that mean whatever anyone wants them to mean.
I’m also tired of crowds,
hate the Met as I hate Times Square,
and won’t see movies everyone else has seen.
As for you, Lusianias,
I wanted to get to know you. Then I heard
how many others have known you, and how well.

Tomorrow, in fact, I suspect
you’ll show yet another young man
why he’s just the one for you, and how you can tell.

Parallel Play is the second collection of poems from Stephen Burt, and it’s hard not to like a guy who writes poems with titles such as “Self-Portrait as Kitty Pryde” and “Scenes from Next Week’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” Quite a few poems in the collection are called “After Callimachus,” and here’s another. So who was Callimachus? An ancient Greek scholar and poet and key participant in one of the few significant literary feuds (over whether short poems were better than long ones).

9 April 2006 | poetry |

Honor Moore, “Aubade”

The south wind is presented as an eagle
no matter what she does to draw him
as heated sky, open daisy, an elm
where there are no elms.

She wears night gloves to water flowers
that bloom only in the dark, whose
scent rifles her sleep, whose petals close
at the hint of light.

At his gold cry, the rooster’s crown
flares: voluminous horizon
window opening, a parade of dead soliders.
This is what she’d dreamed
before waking, before his feet undid
her bashfulness and day opened like an egg.

From Red Shoes, the third collection of poems from Honor Moore, published last summer. A memoir, The Bishop’s Daughter, will be published later this year.

2 April 2006 | poetry |

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