For the month of April, the Rentschler Library blog will be featuring some of the great poetry books added in the last year. You should also know that the library is co-sponsoring a poetry reading event, on April 20th 11:30-1:00 at Wilks Conference Center with the Department of Literatures, Languages, and Writing. You can come read your favorite published poem. Refreshments will be provided.
Our first poetry book featured is a collection by Adrienne Rich, “Collected Poems: 1950-2012,” published by W.W. Norton in 2016.
A writer for Dissent called Rich the “most socially sensual and politically radical American poet of the 20th century.”*
One of the poems in this new collection, “What Kind of Times are These,” was also featured on the Poetry Foundation website recently. A reviewer in Library Journal said the poem “starts with a granular, personal observation” and “unfolds into complex maps of wider awareness and realization.” **
“What Kind of Times Are These” Adrienne Rich
“There’s a place between two stands of trees where the grass grows uphill
and the old revolutionary road breaks off into shadows
near a meeting-house abandoned by the persecuted
who disappeared into those shadows.
I’ve walked there picking mushrooms at the edge of dread, but don’t be fooled
this isn’t a Russian poem, this is not somewhere else but here,
our country moving closer to its own truth and dread,
its own ways of making people disappear.
I won’t tell you where the place is, the dark mesh of the woods
meeting the unmarked strip of light—
ghost-ridden crossroads, leafmold paradise:
I know already who wants to buy it, sell it, make it disappear.
And I won’t tell you where it is, so why do I tell you
anything? Because you still listen, because in times like these
to have you listen at all, it’s necessary
to talk about trees.”
*Haas, Lidija. 2016. “The World of Adrienne Rich.” Dissent (00123846) 63, no. 4: 18-23.
** Muratori, Fred. 2016. “Collected Poems: 1950-2012.” Library Journal 141, no. 9: 82.