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Thursday, April 6, 2017

More Herrick

I've rebought the Herrick Complete Poetry, a book I owned in high school and lost track of at some point. It contains more than a thousand poems, many of them very short, over the stretch more than 500 pages. Did I read the entire thing when I was 15?  It is very likely.

It is likely that I assimilated vast amounts of knowledge from this poetry, of conventions and tropes, genres and subgenres.  In the brevity and variety of the poems there is an encyclopedic quality:  foods, flowers, articles of clothing, rituals and folk beliefs, customs, political attitudes, mythological tropes, metrical forms. There are metaphysical conceits, but they aren't Donne-like.

The easy shifts from sacred to profane are most enjoyable, and from pagan myths to conventional Christian devotion.

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