Poetry Club February 2020

A small group met today, with four poems were shared. Leslie read the famous “Ode on a Grecian Urn” by John Keats, a long poem that has been greatly analyzed. While we had all heard of Keats, Leslie shared some history that we didn’t know! Like how much trauma he suffered in his early life and the fact he was only 25 years old when he died from TB. We then discussed what made a poet “last” or famous. As we add to our list of poets shared we suspect some of this is the old “who you know” theory in practice.

Kathy shared Robert Frost’s “Choose Something Like a Star” and a Google search of the line “And steadfast of Keat’s Eremite” added to our comprehension of the poem. It was also interesting that her poem followed after Leslie’ Keats! We liked how the “star” told us to go back to the simple belief without trying to analyze or break down something that is lovely in it’s simplicity.

Tece shared a poem written by Jose Martí, a Cuban National Hero. The poem “I Dream Awake,” was originally written in Spanish, and she read us that version first, because of the beauty and flowing of the Spanish version. She then read us two translations, one very literal, which felt harsh, and another that we felt the translator, Esther Allen, did a wonderful job catching the emotion of the poem. Followed a discussion of the internet political interpretations of the poem, which led several of us to wonder if he really meant it as political, because the poem felt personal as well.

Robin picked a poem by a poet from India. Kamala Das was a poet who was famous for her open and honest treatment of female sexuality. She is more famous for her short stories and her explicit autobiography! The poem Robin read “Words” was a good illustration of a mind bombarded with thoughts and words and how powerful and damaging words not kept in can be.