Tag Archives: James Wright

Poor sons-a-bitching ducks

I’m pretty sure I’d never heard of John Logan before this morning, but I am now enamored. Of the poem “Three Moves,” at least, since that’s the only one of his I’ve yet read.

The rhymes! and the near-rhymes, how they spill down the page! “Remain, “friends” and “again” in the first four lines, the long single syllables of “call” and “soul.” And “grounds” and “brown” later, and then couplets here and there, “boats” and “floats,” and “night” and “all right.” But also in between there’s “damp” and “Frank” and “dares.” “Swill” and “spill” and “beautiful.” Say them out loud, they move the mouth wonderfully.

For instance, in the top half of the poem,

I have a friend named Frank—
the only one who ever dares to call
and ask me, “How’s your soul?”
I hadn’t thought about it for a while,
and was ashamed to say I didn’t know.
I have no priest for now.
will forgive me then. Will you?
Tame birds and my neighbors’ boats.
The ducks honk about the floats…

Frank who asks you to be frank. (And isn’t it interesting Continue reading

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Farm Animals

It’s set to be a gorgeous, blue-sky 50′ February weekend in Portland. Let’s take a field trip to a farm to see the animals.

We’ll drive down the road and see on either side “those dear old ladies, / the loosening barns,” barns hiding deer and tractors.

When we get to the farm, we’ll visit the sow Blackula, lying in her pen “in the mud to consider herself.” (She is being closely watched from a fence post by the “excellent clamberer,” the cat Jeoffrey).

Off to the left, there’s a field of sheep. There are both black-faced sheep “not shrewd like the pig,” and gray sheep  Continue reading

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A really good 9/11 Poem

A successful last line is as necessary for a poem to work as a successful any other line, but some poems have one of those fabulously unexpected and (often) devastating/uplifting last lines. The kind of line that kind of ka-pows you even as it lands softly.

Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota” by James Wright and Rilke’s “Archaic Torso of Apollo” are the two classic examples.

Photograph from September 11” by Wislawa Szymborska is another one of those poems with a perfect, an unexpected and exactly right, last line.  And it’s one of the few really excellent 9/11 poems I’ve come across.


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