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Thursday, September 02, 2010

Book Meme: Parts 16 and 17

Part 16--Favorite poem or collection of poetry: Hm. I am not much of a poetry fan, that is, I don't actively seek out collections, but I do have definite likes and dislikes. I like a lot of older poetry--Yeats, Keats and Shelley, both Brownings. I also love Billy Collins, who was poet laureate a few years back. I love Gwendolyn Brooks. And I love Thomas Hardy's poems--that's right, he wrote poetry! Not just insanely depressive-yet-transcendent novels. After Jude the Obscure was published, he was so shaken by the general reaction that he stopped writing novels and wrote poetry until he died. This is one of my favorites of his:

"The Voice" by Thomas Hardy

Woman much missed, how you call to me, call to me

Saying that now you are not as you were

When you had changed from the one who was all to me

But as at first, when our day was fair

Can it be you that I hear? Let me view you, then

Standing as when I drew near to the town

Where you would wait for me: yes, as I knew you then

Even to the original air-blue gown!

Or is it only the breeze in its listlessness

Traveling across the wet mead to me here

You ever being dissolved to wan wistlessness

Heard no more again, far or near?

Thus I, faltering forward

Leaves around me falling

Wind oozing thin through the thorn from norward

And the woman, calling.

My favorite poem, PERIOD, is "Merlin" by Geoffrey Hill:

I will consider the outnumbering dead

For they are the husks of what was rich seed.

Now, should they be gathered together to be fed,

They would outstrip the locusts' covering tide.

Arthur, Elaine, Mordred: they are all gone

Among the raftered galleries of bone.

By the long barrows of Logres they are made one

And above their city stands the pinnacled corn.

Part 17--Favorite story or collection of stories (short stories, novellettes, etc.): This is a bit harder. What comes to mind when I hear "story" and "story collection" is kids' books--Winnie the Pooh, The Wind in the Willows, Brambly Hedge, etc. And I do love a number of those--especially animal stories, obviously. As far as "adult" stories go, a favorite collection is a selection by Kate Chopin, collected in one of my editions of The Awakening (yes, I have two). It includes "The Storm", "The Story of an Hour", and "The 'Cadian Ball". Also in the mode of idiosyncratic editions, my copy of At the Mountains of Madness also contains some of my favorite Lovecraft stories: "The Dreams in the Witch House", "The Shunned House", and "The Statement of Randolph Carter". The Compass Rose is an excellent collection of Ursula K. LeGuin's stories; The Adventures of Alyx collects all the disparate Alyx tales by Joanna Russ. And of course I would be remiss if I didn't mention Neil Gaiman's fabulous Smoke and Mirrors and Fragile Things.

(the "tales of terror" bit ain't just a tagline)

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