The Absent Ghost

Because I tend to ramble, I actually forgot why I brought out Dark from my old room and brought it up in my previous entry: to mention the unusual but somewhat appropriate inclusion of Robert Frost’s “Home Burial” in its pages.

Apart from being the only poem in an anthology of prose, “Home Burial” is hardly about murder or the supernatural. Calling it madness is a stretch. As a dramatization of mourning, it’s unparalleled, at least in my opinion.

Randall Jarrell’s reading of the poem is considered definitive and may be read here, along with several others, and a more recent exhaustive per-line exploration is found in this threepart annotation. All of which isn’t to say that the poem itself isn’t worth reading. It’s emotionally grueling.

I’m not always attuned to Frost’s poetry and poetics, but sometimes, when I find myself wishing I had the ability to write a dramatic situation in verse, it’s “Home Burial” I hold up as a model.

Desperately Seeking Sources

Based on the critical project I’m currently exploring, having to do with my own personal poetic participation in the dismantling of the opposition between Romanticism and Modernism in order to embrace them both (call it postmodernism, or maybe not), I wish I could find the full texts of:

For that matter, I also want Howard Nemerov’s “The Difficulty Of Difficult Poetry” in full. The libraries I have access to over here? Not so helpful, unfortunately.

Randall Jarrell on “the age of anthologies”

This is so much the age of anthologies that it is surprising that poets still waste their time on books of verse, instead of writing anthologies in the first place. If you are about to print a book of poems, don’t: make up a few names and biographical sketches with which to punctuate your manuscript, change its title to Poems of Democracy, and you will find yourself transformed from an old pumpkin, always in the red, to a shiny black new coach.

Randall Jarrell, cited in The Oxonian Review » A Space Filled With Moving.