Featured Post

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


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.

No comments: