Sunday, July 03, 2005

Poets you come back to

One of the (many, many, many) things I learned in Provincetown was that I really need to go back to Wallace Stevens. I mean, I've read him -- of course I've read him; I did take poetry classes as an undergrad, after all! -- but I haven't read that much of him since I got my head screwed on (closer to) straight about poetry & about who I am as a poet. I've just ordered his book of essays, The Necessary Angel, and his Collected Poems. Stevens and Stein were the two most-referred-to poets in our workshop, I believe (no, I wasn't keeping track); I don't feel particularly drawn to go back to Stein right at this moment, but I suspect I should spend some real time with Stevens.

Are there poets (or other writers) you read early on in your writing life and then went back to much later? Who were they and what was that experience like? Or are there poets/writers you want to go back to now?

4 comments:

Pamela said...

Henry James. I went back to him just to trace the labyrinth of those sentences and found more sensibility than I'd ever expected.

William Carlos Williams. For me, studying how he splits lines and also Asphodel/Paterson.

Faulkner. Just for the fun of it.

LKD said...

First---wow, it sounds like you had a wonderful time in P-town. I've enjoyed reading your blogs of the experience.

And, in answer to your question, I think I should return to Frost and cummings, 2 poets that I read and loved dearly in my childhood but probably didn't fully appreciate--meaning, their poetry spoke to me and moved me but I'm quite certain that my youthful mind didn't grasp the art behind it.

Meanwhile, I only recently fell head over heels in love with Wallace. God, where has he been all my life?

Emily Lloyd said...

Interesting--Stevens and Stein are my own two biggies, although I was in so deep with Stein for so long I rarely feel the urge to go back (like an album you played so many times at one point in your life that you can only bear to listen to it on occasion). Stevens just refreshes me, reminds me of what can be done, rebukes me for not dreaming big enough, writing big enough. I also like to return to Marianne Moore--chick cracks me up,and moves me, in her sidewinding way.

Charles said...

Frank O'Hara has always been a poet I turn to when the well is dry. His work reenergizes me, makes me all swoony.