Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A Poet's Anthology

Several years ago I participated as a student and a teaching assistant in a poetry MOOC (massive open online course) taught by former US poet laureate Robert Pinsky. At the completion of "The Art of Poetry," each participant compiled an anthology of favorite poems. Over the next few weeks I'll post excerpts from my anthology. Some of the poems are very well-known as in this first post about "The Peace of Wild Things" by Wendell Berry. Other selected poems are fairly obscure. The link to each poem follows my response to it. Occasionally, an entire poem appears by permission of the poet, or because it is in the public domain.

I hope you will enjoy reading the poems I chose for my anthology and my shared thoughts.


“The Peace of Wild Things”
Wendell Berry

In this one stanza free verse poem Wendell Berry speaks in the first person and he is speaking about the healing power of nature. Several years ago, I had a terrifying nightmare that left me nervous and upset. The following day I took my little dog for a walk in a nearby park. Suddenly, I heard the sound of pounding hooves so close I felt the vibrations in the ground caused by their power. Four beautiful white-tail deer galloped by! Awestruck, I stood very still and watched them till they disappeared in the woods. My dog was also still. No longer startled, I felt calm but not an ordinary calmness, something deeper and not easily described. The last line of “The Peace of Wild Things” came to me – “I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.” I don’t remember the nightmare. I do remember the deer and Wendell Berry’s poem.

To read the poem click here.

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