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Anxious gatekeeping

Analogous to nervous cluelessness is something we might call “anxious gatekeeping.”   This is desire to police the borders of poetry, or of...

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Herrick

So I am writing this memoir of reading.  When I was in high school I used to carry around a Norton edition of the Herrick's poetry. It is now out of print, and quite expensive to buy second hand. I tried to get a cheap edition of Herrick but ending up by accident buying a critical study instead.

Anyway, I liked Herrick, who shares my birthday, and I think I was doing almost an anti-Donne gesture, with a preference for a seemingly minor poet. I carried this volume around for years, and I don't know what happened to my copy. Herrick's wrote hundreds of poems (1,400) and was extremely accomplished. I realize now that reading him, probably every poem he wrote, when I was 15 or 16 was a formative experience, because I absorbed all those renaissance / 17th century tropes and topoi.  The poem "The Vine," about the poet's dream of an erection, was quite nice to read at that age.

I was perhaps wanting a teacher to notice that I was reading something not assigned. We had those dismal English classes where I never seemed to do as well as I might have.

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