Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Philip Booth, An Excellent Poet...|
...has died. Here's his New York Times obituary. It quotes from the last lines of the following poem:
A great poet shows you how to be sentimental without being full of rot. What saves this poem from kitsch is the tightly cerebral rhyme scheme, conveying control rather than emotional gush. What also saves it is the subtlety of its theme -- actually, its two themes, since it counsels not only a relaxed trust of the world and one's instincts, but also the courage throughout life to face things face up, fully animated and engaged...
It reminds old UD (she's read, well, a lot of poems, and is always cross-referencing...) of this poem by Yvor Winters:
At the San Francisco Airport
Again a father launches a daughter, this time not into water but into air; again the complicated anxiety and love and advice-giving. A meditation on his own shrinking world, in contrast to the dramatically expanding world of his young daughter, darkens the Winters poem, though.
I've always loved and often quoted to myself one particular line:
The rain of matter upon sense
This odd and highly original line comes to me in hectic urban moments. I love its awkward and ambiguous final adverb. Awkward, ambiguous, powerful and beautiful, with its echoes of momentous, and for a moment, and - I don't know - the way it expresses delicacy, debility... the whole poem imparts somehow for me the difficulty of existence.
Yet still with the theme of Booth's poem in it - the bravery to live your life fully.