A Poem For Saturday

by Alice Quinn The supreme poet Seamus Heaney passed away yesterday in a Dublin Hospital at age 74. No one alive wrote more eloquently about the art and the poets who meant the most to him: George Herbert’s “daylight sanity and vigor,” “the pure consequence of Elizabeth Bishop’s style,” “the bareface confrontation of Patrick Kavanagh’s,” … Continue reading A Poem For Saturday

A Poem For Saturday

When Alice Quinn started with the Dish as poetry editor last July, we began our collaboration by posting “All the Activity There Is,” from Mary Ruefle’s Selected Poems. So this weekend, the Dish commemorates the year with three poems from Mary’s new volume Trances of the Blast, just published by Wave Books. Here’s “Spider”: The spider … Continue reading A Poem For Saturday

A Poem For Friday

by Matthew Sitman Alice Quinn, executive director of the Poetry Society of America and the Dish’s amazing poetry editor – she brings you the poems we feature every week – has shared the news that Robert Bly will be presented with the Poetry Society’s highest award, the Frost Medal, at the Society’s annual awards ceremony … Continue reading A Poem For Friday

A Poem For Saturday

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This week, the great American poet, Jack Gilbert, passed away at age 87. John Penner's LA Times essay on Gilbert summarized the man and his writing this way:

Of Gilbert’s favored words, probably none conveys better the poet–his life, his work, his ambitions for both–than magnitude. "Poetry, for me," he declares in a 1965 essay, "is a witnessing to magnitude." In poems he sings of a "magnitude of pain, of being that much alive," and "a magnitude of beauty that allows me no peace."

Read his Paris Review interview here. When asked about the subjects of his poems, he responded not just with a comment on his literary preoccupations, but with a meditation on living:

Those I love. Being. Living my life without being diverted into things that people so often get diverted into. Being alive is so extraordinary I don’t know why people limit it to riches, pride, security—all of those things life is built on. People miss so much because they want money and comfort and pride, a house and a job to pay for the house. And they have to get a car. You can’t see anything from a car. It’s moving too fast. People take vacations. That’s their reward—the vacation. Why not the life? Vacations are second-rate. People deprive themselves of so much of their lives—until it’s too late.

This spring the Dish featured his remarkable poem, "Tear It Down," here. Our poetry editor, Alice Quinn, remembered him here. This weekend, to honor Gilbert's work, we'll be running three of his poems. The first of these is "Failing and Flying":