The Paris Review

November 27, 2012

Paris Review 1973

By Koseli.

I’m no scholar, but I feel like one when I read The Paris Review. It features the finest contemporary writers and poets. The latest issue has two feature stories and I loved both. One on the art of poetry by James Fenton and the other on fiction by Roberto Calasso. (Maira Kalman’s illustration is also featured!)

It’s been a long time since I’ve delved into poetry but this poem from Geoffrey H. Hartman featured in the latest issues gave me flutters. I want to rifle through our bookshelves, cozy up, and get literary — with a cup of hot chocolate, of course.

Do you memorize poetry? Have a favorite poet, old or new? Is there anything you read that makes you feel particularly smart?

Beautiful image of Issue 56 (from 1973!) found on Reckon.

P.S. — Their Tumblr about made me laugh: For the good writers and good poets, the non-drumbeaters and non-axe grinders. So long as they’re good.

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Patricia | unfounddoor November 27, 2012 at 7:10 am

Old: Neruda. We had a neruda reading at our wedding (Me Gustas Cuando Callas)

New: Raymond Antrobus – a great young spoken word performer

and I feel smart when I read The New Yorker
and smartest when I eschew the ipad for a book.


2 Koseli Cummings November 27, 2012 at 8:06 am

Oh, Neruda. How beautiful you had a reading at your wedding! I love this copy of Love Poems

I feel smart when I read The New Yorker too, but truth is, I never get through it! And, I’ve yet to convert to e-readers simply because I still have so many physical books I need to get through first.


3 amy November 27, 2012 at 7:16 am

I heard the US Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner, Natasha Trethewey, speak recently. Life changing.


4 Koseli Cummings November 27, 2012 at 8:09 am

Wow. I’m watching an interview on NPR now. Can’t wait to read her work. Thanks Amy!


5 Marille November 27, 2012 at 11:26 am

Oh, I love her. I heard her on NPR and was blown away; I can’t imagine what it’s like to hear her in person.


6 Kace November 27, 2012 at 7:33 am

I recently decided to start memorizing poetry again because I felt like I was losing all of those pithy quips and quotes that should be there on the tip of my tongue for *serious* conversations. And because I’m also trying to improve my German, I decided to memorize German poetry. I write down the short poem I want to learn on a notecard that I tape to my car’s dashboard. And I work on it while I’m stopped at red lights. It makes me feel more educated than twiddling away on my phone! And so far, I’ve memorized two poems, one by Johann Herder and another by Goethe. :)


7 Koseli Cummings November 27, 2012 at 8:10 am

That is inspiring, Kace!


8 Miranda November 27, 2012 at 8:00 am

In church this last week the teacher (a drama major) ended a lesson on Charity by reciting Shakespeare’s 116th sonnet. It completely took me by surprise how deeply I connected to the words, and I decided I’m going to memorize it, too! It’s been since High School that I memorized poetry, but I think my life needs a little extra inspiration, and this seems like a pretty easy way to invite some!



9 Koseli Cummings November 27, 2012 at 8:11 am

I love when you hear a poem that speaks to you. I feel that way about Donne.


10 Kace November 27, 2012 at 5:02 pm

Donne is my favorite Metaphysical poet!! I love A Valediction Forbidding Mourning. It hits me in the heart every time.


11 Koseli Cummings November 30, 2012 at 1:18 pm

Oh my. I love that poem so much. It’s almost hard for me to talk about. Bosom buddies, Kace? :)


12 Tiffany Lewis November 27, 2012 at 8:50 am

My kids and I memorize poetry over the breakfast table–it keeps them from fighting! We just memorized Rudyard Kipling’s “If”, which they loved. In the past we’ve done “The Road Less Traveled” and “O Captain. My Captain.” I love poetry!


13 Koseli Cummings November 30, 2012 at 1:17 pm

Brilliant! Remembering this for the future. I can’t imagine how cute it is to see little ones recite poetry too. Hilarious.


14 Marille November 27, 2012 at 11:29 am

I did competitive poetry recitation in high school, and my favorite poets are Wilfred Owen, Wallace Stevens (especially “The Idea of Order at Key West”), and Edna St. Vincent Millay (everything she’s ever done, ever). I still have a decent amount of it stored away, and will recite it to myself if I’m walking alone someplace. As for reading things that make me feel smart, “The Economist”. I’m preparing to take the Foreign Service Exam in February, and that’s a big part of my prep work.


15 Koseli Cummings November 30, 2012 at 1:19 pm

That’s amazing, Marille.


16 Christina November 28, 2012 at 7:27 am

I recently “found” the poem Southern Love and I loved how it spoke to me in that way only poetry can …


17 Corinne November 28, 2012 at 8:18 pm

So excited to take a look at that! Thanks!

I have been writing poetry as a hobby since high school. I used to write in order to manage the angst, you know? When I started having children, I wrote little poems to capture those moments that were slipping through my fingers like smoke. I thought I’d tuck them away and my children would find them when I died and realize just how much I loved them. Then one day I decided to share on my blog, prepared to hit the “delete” key if I regretted sharing that tender part of myself. But it quickly became one of my most popular posts. And so I’ve continued to share now and again, and my readers have flattered me by viewing them more than most my others. My favorite is about all those things I think I want to do when my kids get a little more self sufficient (like travel), but realizing they are what I’ll look back on with most fondness. Here:

Thanks for the great content, as always. :)


18 Koseli Cummings November 30, 2012 at 1:16 pm

That is so sweet, Corinne. What a good idea to write poetry to capture then tenderness and learning of motherhood. I write my son letters in a journal.

Thank you so much for sharing!


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