One of the things I’m proudest of, here at the Dish, is our publishing of poetry on a regular basis. We started doing it haphazardly a few years back, but this is the second year that the Dish’s poetry offerings have been arranged by Alice Quinn. Not every reader will know what an honor and privilege this is, but Alice was Knopf’s poetry editor from 1976 – 1986 and the New Yorker’s poetry editor for the next twenty years, and is now the executive director of the Poetry Society of America. To have someone of her experience and judgment be the guardian of a blog’s selection of poetry has always been a coup for us. But this year especially, in its range and depth and often piercing simplicity has been a joy.
If you love the poems, there’s something you can do to thank Alice for her work, which she does for us for the love of bringing poetry to a new medium and new audience. The Poetry Society of America, the wonderful organization Alice directs, is running a special year-end membership campaign from now until January 2nd. While supplies last, anyone who joins at the basic level of membership ($45) will receive for an extra $5 a signed, limited-edition broadside of “Keeping Our Small Boat Afloat” by Robert Bly. Any donation is tax-deductible – and for a short time, you also get a beautiful broadside in the bargain. If you want to thank Alice, sign up for your membership here.
In the week ahead, we’ll also be looking back at a few of the poems offered this year, chosen by Alice and Matt – think of it as an idiosyncratic “greatest hits” of Dish poetry. Each of these poems will include a link to the Poetry Society of America’s membership drive. The first poem we’re revisiting is below.
“Hunger for the Absolute” by Frank Bidart:
Earth you know is round but seems flat.
You can’t trust
You thought you had seen every variety of creature
When I met him, I knew I had
weaned myself from God, not
hunger for the absolute. O unquenched
mouth, tonguing what is and must
saying You are not finite. You are not finite.