What Poetry to Read in September
For many people returning to St Andrews, it means a transition in clothing and lifestyle—from home cooking and hot, summer weather to student budgets and layered clothing.
Coming from Atlanta, often awkwardly called ‘Hotlanta’ (please never say this out loud), the seasonal transition is abrupt when I return to St Andrews. For me, this means changes in diet and clothing, but it also alters what I am reading. I’ve included a few poems that are for those early September days when you’re still clinging to that last flicker of heat and sun, while also lusting for the stark, refreshing days of Autumn and Winter.
WHERE 2 READ:
A lot of people think that reading poetry regularly requires a large collection of, well, collections! Wrong! It’s the 21st century and while it might not be the same as reading your antique book in Taste, there are plenty of options for reading poetry online.
THE OBVIOUS ONES:
- poets.org – a wider variety, more British poets than poetry foundation
- poetryfoundation.org – mostly American poets, but a great selection of commentary and bios, and very easy to navigate according to themes or forms.
Both of these websites offer a ‘poem of the day’ option — do it! Then you’ll have poetry emails everyday…a good distraction from the tutors wondering why you missed your last tutorial.
ONLINE LIT MAGS:
http://www.wintertangerine.com/ (biased – as i’ve read for them in the past)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/poetry/outloud/ (listen to famous poets read their own work)
There are so many that I can’t list here – big and small. Try just clicking around, you never know what you’ll find.
Now…For Specific Poems?
by Margaret Atwood
This is the plum season, the nights
blue and distended, the moon
hazed, this is the season of peaches
with their lush lobed bulbs
that glow in the dusk, apples
that drop and rot
sweetly, their brown skins veined as glands
No more the shrill voices
that cried Need Need
from the cold pond, bladed and urgent as new grass
Now it is the crickets
that say Ripe Ripe
slurred in the darkness, while the plums
dripping on the lawn outside
our window, burst
with a sound like thick syrup
muffled and slow
The air is still
warm, flesh moves over
flesh, there is no
This poem articulates the trickling period between seasons. It also describes that slow and sleepy feeling of late Summer, the molasses quality at the edge of the season.
Margaret Atwood is coming to Edinburgh! If you like this, consider going to see her.
by T. E. Hulme
A touch of cold in the Autumn night—
I walked abroad,
And saw the ruddy moon lean over a hedge
Like a red-faced farmer.
I did not stop to speak, but nodded,
And round about were the wistful stars
With white faces like town children.
Hulme creeps me out a bit here — the ruddy moon, the white faces. Maybe it all just reminds me of a night out in St Andrews during Freshers…
by Geoffrey Hill
Undesirable you may have been, untouchable
you were not. Not forgotten
or passed over at the proper time.
As estimated, you died. Things marched,
sufficient, to that end.
Just so much Zyklon and leather, patented
terror, so many routine cries.
(I have made
an elegy for myself it
September fattens on vines. Roses
flake from the wall. The smoke
of harmless fires drifts to my eyes.
This is plenty. This is more than enough.
Autumn is beautiful, surely, but it brings with it a feeling of imminent finality. I have made an elegy for myself it is true is a perfect little phrase and it sums up the feeling of writing in Autumn. There’s a certain urgency to these coming months. If you’re writing, which I hope you are, be sure to let that feeling come easily to both your coursework and your poems/stories.
Photo credit to: Google and Flickr