War and Peace – Book Four My 2019 Reading Project

Andrey is feared dead but is not but then his wife dies in childbirth.
Pierre gets into a duel with his wife’s lover and loses his fortune to his wife.
Nick loses big at the gambling tables and has to have daddy bail him out.

Book Four is full of sadness. What the battlefield didn’t take, fate and stupidity does in book 4.

We learn more about men and Man in this chapter as the characters are buffeted and tossed about by their flaws and somewhat held steady by their virtues.

Tolstoy does such a good job of not creating characters but real people – with shadings of good and evil. Bad guys aren’t all bad and good guys have terrible faults.

I’m so eager to find out what happens to these guys.


This is a brilliant guide, btw: https://medium.com/@BrianEDenton/a-year-of-war-and-peace-cc66540d9619

War and Peace – Book Three My 2019 Reading Project

War and Peace’s Book Three brings to mind to me the battle scenes of The Killer Angel’s by Michael Shaara.

The complete scope Schaara and Tolstoy are able to bring from an infantryman with his face in the mud to the despair of a general. From Napolean’s victory preening as seen through the eyes of Boris to the heart rending slaughter on the dam is astounding.

I’m again annoyed I didn’t come to this book sooner. As I am with so many authors (and things) I’ve come to later in life.

The magic so far of Tolstoy is that I feel compelled to keep reading the narrative. I drags me along and in the narrative I can sense the underlying philosophy that is guiding him. He’s not just spinning a yarn, I’m going to be taught something whether I want to be or not. I’m going to have Tolstoy imprinted in my soul by the end of this whether I want him there or not.

As a reader, I’m a bit intimidated. As a writer, I’m humbled, knocked to my knees humbled.

War and Peace – Book Two My 2019 Reading Project

After Book One’s endless round of cocktail parties and personal politics and kisses in alcoves and fights over wills. I was beginning to wonder where the ‘war’ in the title came into this novel but then Book Two ended up being twenty chapters of nothing but war.

And Tolstoy gives us the full gamut from buck privates to Emperors. From field tactics to international relations. Wow. The characters we met at parties in Petersburg and Moscow in Book One are now throw on the fields of battle in Austria where they are moved around to witness history and as their stories unfold we get to see it also.

And the amazing thing is that Tolstoy can keep this up over twenty chapters. It’s quite amazing. And exhausting to read.

One thing I do like about Tolstoy that I thought I might not is his minor characters. I’d recently watched a video essay on the Cohen Brother’s minor characters. Tolstoy does much the same thing. They are wonderful, unforgettable editions that added pepper to the story. They are little distractions that play off of the main characters, maybe even elaborate on them.


This is a brilliant guide, btw: https://medium.com/@BrianEDenton/a-year-of-war-and-peace-cc66540d9619

War and Peace – Book One My 2019 Reading Project

I remember reading somewhere, likely about his novel Man in Full, Tom Wolfe wanting to write a great, sweeping novel like Tolstoy. And then he did. Man in Full impressed me and impressed upon me. It will never leave me.

Tolstoy at War

My own writing has been quite different. It’s straight forward. Narrow. Very direct. Sparse. For years this was my ideal. Go for Hemingway. But it’s a limitation, I think, of youth. Impatience, maybe. I just want to get on with the story. And I’m no longer a youth.

It may be time for me to write a sweeping novel where I can reflect on reflect and explore sweeping themes.

Book One of W&P is definitely tempting me further into trying it.

Yes, I struggle with the names and I struggle a bit with the French and I struggle a bit with the culture and the history. But with a decent guide and some patience the novel’s first of fifteen books – consisting of 25 shortish chapters – sucks you into the the coming narrative.

Tolstoy at Peace

I’ve honestly no idea what that narrative is about – obviously some war, right? – but what happens to Pierre, Andrey and Boris (I’ve simplified them to Pete, Andy and, well, Boris, in my head) and those around them? I’m a cultural nincompoop.

Yet, I’ve run ahead of my commitment to one chapter a day. The writing is not nearly as ponderous as I was expecting – maybe that’s the translation – the narrative is fairly light. Why was I expecting it to be about soldiers sitting in dirty snow eating potatoes talking about death? Heck, the first five chapters were set at the same party. Pierre is a dork. Boris’ mom is a pain in the ass hoot.

I’m sure things get a bit dark from here. The last couple chapters are hinting at it with deaths, fights over wills, guys hating on their sweet wives and what not but I feel like a jerk for not reading this sooner.


This is a brilliant guide, btw: https://medium.com/@BrianEDenton/a-year-of-war-and-peace-cc66540d9619

December’s Poems-End of the year of poetry.

This is it. The last month of poetry I read in 2018. I started a poetry noob and finished up a poetry lover….well, a lover of some poetry. Wallace Stevens is still a hard nut to crack for me.

This month I took is easy with some Blake and other more accessible poetry but not necessarily simpler poetry. It’s all in how you read it, I guess.

I’ve already started next years’s project – Tolstoy. It may just be War and Peace or it may also include Anna K. W&P has 360 chapters so that seems like a nice one year goal – but the chapters are so short…..

December 1, 2018The Little Boy LostWilliam BlakeI like these bookmatched poems.
December 2, 2018The Little Boy FoundWilliam BlakeEven though in “experience” it’s sweetly childlike.
December 3, 2018Infant JoyWilliam BlakeI see the “joy” with kids 20 years behind me.
December 4, 2018Infant SorryWilliam BlakeBut I remember this. The worry.
December 5, 2018August 1968W.H. AudenSimple like a knife in the gut.
December 6, 2018Lessons of DarknessClive JamesA poem to keep around for a while.
December 7, 2018Flanders FieldsJohn McCraeThe final stanza isn’t my favorite.
December 8, 2018If I Can Stop One Heart From BreakingEmily DickinsonSImply, direct, brilliant, American. Dickinson
December 9, 2018In the Bleak MidwinterChristina RossettiA nice christmas poem that’s not done to death.
December 10, 2018Mad Girls Love SongSylvia PlathShe leaves me cold.
December 11, 2018He Wishes for the clothes of heavenWilliam Butler YeatsI like these simple, intense poems.
December 12, 2018Caged BirdMaya AngelouI enjoyed more than I thought. Quibbles but only quibbles.
December 13, 2018Tell All The Truth But Tell It SlantEmily DickinsonShe is gloriously good.
December 14, 2018Sonnet 30William ShakespeareIt’s a hit!
December 15, 2018When I Am Dead, My DearestChristina RossettiNow my favorite Rossetti.
December 16, 2018The FlyWilliam BlakeI need to buy this collection and give it.
December 17, 2018General Review of the Sex SituationDorothy ParkerIs this trite? True?
December 18, 2018When I Was One and TwentyA.E. HousmanAnd not just 21 either. Ugh.
December 19, 2018To A Poor Old WomanWilliam Carlos WilliamsNot as powerful to me as his others.
December 20, 2018A Visit from St. NicholasClement Clarke MooreIt’s almost Christmas!
December 21, 2018Neither Out Far Nor In DeepRobert FrostI may have to come back to Frost again.
December 22, 2018The Author to Her BookAnne BradstreetMaybe a preface to my next novel.
December 23, 2018Cradle SongWIlliam BlakeBlake…he’s another poem by the same name. Again.
December 24, 2018The Fire of DriftwoodHenry Wadsworth LongfellowI like the practicalness of Longfellow’s poems.
December 25, 2018The Flea John DonneKind of gross.
December 26, 2018Inaugural PoemAngelouI don’t hate this.
December 27, 2018Tonight I can Write the Saddest LinesPablo NerudaLovely.
December 28, 2018Provide, ProvideRobert FrostOr don’t give a damn about people’s opinions.
December 29, 2018The Tide Rises the Tide FallsHenry Wadsworth LongfellowI really like this one. Maybe finish with the accessible hits.
December 30, 2018A Daughter of EveChristina RossettiA warning we can all take.
December 31, 2018Glory of WomenSiegfried SassoonEnd this project how I began it. With a gut punch war poet.
Extras I readFrom The Very First Coming DownW.H. AudenLIke a coded/vieled message to a lover.
Extras I readSpainW.H. AudenEh, politics but I like the contrast of “Yesterday….But to-day the struggle.” bits
Extras I readSeptember 1, 1939W.H. AudenI really like the last stanza, a personal motto maybe?
Extras I readThis Lunar BeautyW.H. AudenThis left me cold as the moon. (rimshot)
Extras I readLullabyW.H. AudenWent over my head. Which makes me feel dumb. I’ll read more about it.
Extras I readIn Memory of Sigmund FreudW.H. AudenAuden is good at these Elegies. I like.
Extras I readIn Praise of LimestoneW.H. AudenSupposedly one of his best to lacks grace to me.
Extras I readThe MapElizabeth BishopAnother impersonal word-salad modernist poem. Ugh.
Extras I readThe Gentleman of ShalottElizabeth BishopSometimes I find these modernist poems insulting? Is that me or the poem?

November’s Poems

In November I finished with the 100 best loved poems book I was using as a guide and switched over to a youtube series on the Romantics. As I write this I’m learning to appreciate and falling for William Blake. He’s a bit mystical which is not my normal thing but seems to in an intelligent and, more importantly, imaginative and almost rebellious way.

I’ll have to read more about him.

November 1, 2018 You Can Have It Philip Levine This kicked me in the heart this morning.
November 2, 2018 Ariel Sylvia Plath I’m unsure if she’s erotizing this horse or uncontrollable life.
November 3, 2018 The City in the Sea Edgar Allan Poe I don’t enjoy his overwroughtness.
November 4, 2018 Bells for John Whiteside’s Daughter John Crowe Ransom This poem seemed to be reaching to me. Maudlin.
November 5, 2018 A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning Adrienne Rich I just can’t stand this type of stuff.
November 6, 2018 Peter Quince at the Clavier Wallace Stevens I ‘get’ Stevens after the 10th read. Worth it most times.
November 7, 2018 Of Mere Being Wallace Stevens
I’m tempted to go all in on Stevens. Other times I want to toss him.
November 8, 2018 The Snow Man Wallace Stevens With Wallce, It feels like there’s a there her out of my reach.
November 9, 2018 The Prediction Mark Strand A moment or a sense, nicely done.
November 10, 2018 Reapers Jean Toomer Nice picture of the violence of work.
November 11, 2018 A Far Cry from Africa Derek Walcott Better after reading some history. A bit scientific for me.
November 12, 2018 Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio James Wright Football sadness. Examined many times.
November 13, 2018 Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s James Wright Doesn’t everyone feel that way?
November 14, 2018 Queen Anne’s Lace William Carlos Williams Now this is an erotic poem.
November 15, 2018 Landscape with the Fall of Icarus William Carlos Williams I like the painting. I like the Auden. I like the Williams.
November 16, 2018 The Yachts William Carlos Williams Not my favorite WCW
November 17, 2018 No Leaders Please Charles Bukowski A good one to keep in the office to read.
November 18, 2018 Aunt Helen T.S. Elliot When the cat’s dead, the mice will enjoy life.
November 19, 2018 Strange Fits of Passion I have Known William Wordsworth Maybe I’m a 19th century Romantic
November 20, 2018 She Dwelt Among the Untrodden Ways William Wordsworth
Yeah, I think I am a 19th century Romantic. I like their poetry more
November 21, 2018 I Traveled Among Unknown Men William Wordsworth Sounds almost like a Frank Turner song to me.
November 22, 2018 Mont Blanc Percy Blythe Shelley Maybe just too verbose for me. Or too philosophical.
November 23, 2018 Ode to Autumn John Keats It makes me feel as if I miss so much-I don’t see.
November 24, 2018 Three Years She Grew in Sun and Shower William Wordsworth His poems make me want to learn about him more.
November 25, 2018 Surprised by Joy William Wordsworth I feel inadequate sometimes to even comment on these.
November 26, 2018 A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal William Wordsworth Good vocab words. Tragic and sweet.
November 27, 2018 The Blossom William Blake Trite at first but then realized it’s what I need to hear.
November 28, 2018 The Chimney Sweep William Blake Wonderful-nice but loaded with meaning
November 29, 2018 The Little Girl Lost William Blake Erotic? Or just sexual maturing? Or maybe something Christian.
November 30, 2018 The Little Girl Found William Blake Comforting.

October’s Poems

October 1, 2018 Parsley Rita Dove Political gut punch. The litte knot of screams is nice.
October 2, 2018 The Journey of the Magi T.S. Elliot It’s nice when stories are retold-deepened.
October 3, 2018 A Supermarket in California Allen Ginsberg I like this more than I was expecting too. Imaginative.
October 4, 2018 Howl Allen Ginsberg I appreciate it more for it’s historic place than it’s poetic
October 5, 2018 They Feed They Lion Philip Levine It seems to get in the way of itself. Or in the way of me.
October 6, 2018 On the Anniversary of My Death W.S. Merwin Momento Mori at it’s best.
October 7, 2018 Why I Am Not A Painter Frank O’Hara Creation makes it’s own way.
October 8, 2018 Diving into the Wreck Adrienne Rich I have a hard time appreciating or finding any soul in this poem.
October 9, 2018 Mr. Flood’s Party Edwin Arlington Robinson Another depressing one from Eddie A. Very American to me.
October 10, 2018 The Waking Theodore Roethke Complex but feel it’s one I should come back to.
October 11, 2018 In a Dark Time Theodore Roethke I don’t understand each line but I feel each deeply.
October 12, 2018 Grass Carl Sandburg A simple, honest poem.
October 13, 2018 Traveling through the Dark William Stafford Dead deer story. Doesn’t do much for me.
October 14, 2018 Andedote of the Jar Wallace Stevens Wallace Stevens…again with the over my head.
October 15, 2018 When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d Walt Whitman Yeah, so he had a hard crush on Lincoln.
October 16, 2018 Corson’s Inlet A.R. Ammons I felt and understood this one and liked it.
October 17, 2018 Dream Song #4 John Berryman A Berryman poem I can appreciate and identify with.
October 18, 2018 Yet do I Marvel Countee Cullen Wow! Wonderfully good, concise, biting.
October 19, 2018 next of course to god america i e.e. cummings I get it but it leaves me cold.
October 20, 2018 I felt a Funeral, in my Brain Emily Dickinson
There’s the urge to try to diagnose her instead of understand her.
October 21, 2018 I like to see it lap the Miles- Emily Dickinson Exciting!
October 22, 2018 The Soul selects her own Society Emily Dickinson I like this one. All of them.
October 23, 2018 A narrow Fellow in the Grass Emily Dickinson Yikes. A snake. ED knocks out of the park. Love it.
October 24, 2018 My Life had stood – a Loaded Gun Emily Dickinson Wonderful again.
October 25, 2018 Preludes T.S. Elliot I deem this one my favorite TS Elliot poem!
October 26, 2018 The Oven Bird Robert Frost A bird as reaper? Death knell? Call to contemplation.
October 27, 2018 Acquainted with the Night Robert Frost A great brooder of a poem. Iv’e been there.
October 28, 2018 Fire and Ice Robert Frost Destructive desire is more powerful than hate? I can see that.
October 29, 2018 God’s Grandeur Gerald Manley Hopkins I’m not down with the theology but Hopkins is great again.
October 30, 2018 The Weary Blues Langston Hughes Definitely not Wallace Stevens.
October 31, 2018 Touch Me Stanley Kunitz Beautiful. Touching. Perfection

August Poems

This year my guides to what poems to read included a Yale online course on modern poetry. That was NOT a good place to start. I then moved on to poems I knew about and various top ten lists.

However, lately, I’ve just used the poems listed in a book called 100 Best-Loved Poems. It’s got all the hits. Many I’ve already read but I’d missed quiet a few. I have three more to finish in September and then I’m moving on to this blog post – the most anthologized poems. It’s a nice, broad sampling of poetry.

As normal, brief notes on each poem are provided.

August 1, 2018 On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer John Keats It always comes back to Homer, who I’ve read little of.
August 2, 2018 Thanatopsis William Cullen Bryant A lot of death but I do like the final turn.
August 3, 2018 To a Skylark Percy Blythe Shelley I like, I like, I like, esp. the second half.
August 4, 2018 Musee Des Beaux Arts W.H. Auden
I like everything about this poem. The subject matter, the intent, the writing.
August 5, 2018 In Memory of W.B. Yeats W.H. Auden Lovely. I esp like the third stanza.
August 6, 2018 A Red Red Rose Robert Burns Why can I only read in Madelyn Kahn Blazing Saddles voice?
August 7, 2018 To a Mouse Robert Burns Perfect ending lines for me.
August 8, 2018 The Lamb William Blake Simple on it’s own, Need to read more about Blake’s philo.
August 9, 2018 Ode to the West Wind Percy Blythe Shelley I love the ambition it expresses.
August 10, 2018 So We’ll Go No More A Roving Lord Byron Byron feels old.
August 11, 2018 The Destruction of Sennacherib Lord Byron Old Testament scary.
August 12, 2018 Jenny Kissed Me Leigh Hunt Simple and happy and nice.
August 13, 2018 The Hollow Men T.S. Elliot Depressingly modernist. Haunts me.
August 14, 2018 Abou Ben Adhem Leigh Hunt Very Simple. Nice religious message.
August 15, 2018 The World Is Too Much With Us William Wordsworth A good poem to support my minimalist ambitions.
August 16, 2018 The Sick Rose William Blake Short and powerful. Blake.
August 17, 2018 Ode to the Death of a Favourite Cat Thomas Gray Sad and fun. Compelling.
August 18, 2018 As I walked Out One Evening W.H. Auden
One of my favorites so far. I like the first song’s strange comparison-haughty v mudane
August 19, 2018 Sandpiper Elizabeth Bishop
This one I enjoy. I guess I like characters and narratives over poems about ideas.
August 20, 2018 Elegy Written in a Country Church Yard Thomas Gray Loved the first part but goes off the rails for me a bit at the end.
August 21, 2018 The Retreat Henry Vaughan Really nice when spoken aloud…and felt.
August 22, 2018 To Lucasta, Going to the Wars Richard Lovelace A man loves by doing things, taking action.
August 23, 2018 Why So Pale and Wan, Fond Lover John Suckling Good advice, especially like the final line.
August 24, 2018 On His Deceased Wife John Milton A sweet nightmare.
August 25, 2018 Go, Lovely Rose Edmund Waller I really like the device of using a rose to send a message
August 26, 2018 Love Bade Me Welcome George Herbert Gross religious stuff that turns me off.
August 27, 2018 Upon Julia’s Clothes Robert Herrick It must have been a nice dress.
August 28, 2018 To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time Robert Herrick Good advice for virgins and non-virgins a-like.
August 29, 2018 On My First Son Ben Jonson Sad. Honest way to look at it.
August 30, 2018 To Celia Ben Jonson I like that she sent it back – but rejection or to share again?
August 31, 2018 Sonnet 14: Batter my Heart John Donne
“Reason, your viceroy in me” jumps out at me. Wish it did to more.

July’s Poems


July 1, 2018 anyone lived in a pretty how town e.e. cummings Seuss for grown ups.
July 2, 2018 First Fig Edna St. Vincent Millay Lovely and pround.
July 3, 2018 Richard Cory Edwin Arlington Robinson I knew this one without knowing it. Good life lesson.
July 4, 2018 Paul Revere’s Ride Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Funny how I projected “British are coming onto it.
July 5, 2018 Miniver Cheevy Edwin Arlington Robinson Mr. Robinson is a sad poet, I guess. Nice again.
July 6, 2018 When You Are Old W. B. Yeats Classic loser guy thing.
July 7, 2018 The Lake Isle of Innisfree W. B. Yeats Popular because it’s nice. I like it.
July 8, 2018 To an Athlete Dying Young A. E. Housman
Not my cup of tea. I get it but just not to my liking – the lesson, the word choice, etc.
July 9, 2018 Requiem Robert Lewis Stevenson I like. Simple and perfect. Scottish.
July 10, 2018 Pied Beauty Gerard Manley Hopkins Learn to like odd things, nicely done.
July 11, 2018 The Windhover Gerard Manley Hopkins Powerful. Read more of him.
July 12, 2018 A Birthday Christina Rossetti A religious poem but I’ll read it as a love poem. Very nice.
July 13, 2018 I Heard a Fly Buzz When I Died Emily Dickinson God love her. Nice scene/story.
July 14, 2018 This Is My Letter To The World Emily Dickinson Not sure what it’s about. What’s in the letter?
July 15, 2018 I’m Nobody Who Are You Emily Dickinson The big hit. Good solace while fighting my ego.
July 16, 2018 Lucifer in Starlight George Meredith A bit spooky. Maybe he’s not been knocked down.
July 17, 2018 A Noiseless Patient Spider Walt Whitman
I really can identify with this one, trying to find people to connect with.
July 18, 2018 I Hear America Singing Walt Whitman Joyous!
July 19, 2018 Crossing the Bar Tennyson One hell of a swan song.
July 20, 2018 The Chambered Nautilus O. Wendell Holmes I like this one a lot. Good guide.
July 21, 2018 Old Ironsides O. Wendell Holmes Eh, this left me a bit cold.
July 22, 2018 To Helen Edgar Allan Poe It always seems like Poe is reaching/straining to show off.
July 23, 2018 Barbara Frietchie John Greenleaf Whittier I like story poems…..USA! USA! USA!
July 24, 2018 The Children’s Hour Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Joyous about fatherhood.
July 25, 2018 The Village Blacksmith Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Nice character portrait.
July 26, 2018 Concord hymn Ralph Waldo Emerson Eh, cold history.
July 27, 2018 When I Have Fears That I May Cease to Be John Keats The romantics could really….overdo it.
July 28, 2018 La Belle Dame sans Merci John Keats I read this with images of Pre-Ralphalite paintings in my head.
July 29, 2018 The Owl and the Pussy Cat Edward Lear Simple and fun.
July 30, 2018 Introduction to Poetry Billy Collins I’ll try to keep this in mind.
July 31, 2018 Ode to a Nightengale John Keats Romantic-y but I do like it.

2018 Reading Project-Poetry

So my 2018 reading project is poetry. Not a specific poet or style, just one poem a day for 365 days to make me just slightly literate in a subject that I’ve avoided for a long time.

I find myself enjoying it. I read the daily poem thrice daily as well as some analysis – whether an article or a video lecture or using Shmoop.com. So what have I read so far? Here’s a list up until June 30.

Date Poem Poet First Impression
December 19, 2017 Dulce et Decorum Est Wilfried Owen Asshole people
December 20, 2017 Mowing Robert Frost Just about working. The job is the poetry.
December 21, 2017 Out, Out Robert Frost Working is dangerous. Poem for the workshop
December 22, 2017 Birches Robert Frost Very Nice.
December 23, 2017 Home Burial Robert Frost Sad. How do people live after death of a kid.
December 24, 2017
December 25, 2017 Directive Robert Frost This poem makes me feel dumb, or young. Or both
December 26, 2017 The Road Not Taken Robert Frost Honest about old men.
December 27, 2017 Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening Robert Frost Sweet, lonely. One to keep going on.
December 28, 2017 The Gift Outright Robert Frost USA! USA! USA!
December 29, 2017 The Song of Wandering Aengus W.B. Yeats Romanitc fantasies can be nice.
December 30, 2017 Mending Wall Robert Frost
IF it doesn’t make sense, stop doing it. Nom atter what people say.
December 31, 2017 A Coat W.B. Yeats Yes! Paint this on a wall somewhere
January 1, 2018 The Fisherman W.B. Yeats Yes, Mr. Yeats. People are idiots.
January 2, 2018 Easter, 1916 W.B. Yeats I know too little history
January 3, 2018 The Second Coming W.B. Yeats Scary, disturbing
January 4, 2018 The Magi W.B. Yeats Glorious after re-reading in it’s antipathy to people
January 5, 2018 Leda and the Swan W.B. Yeats
I know too little mythology.Final question reminded me of the Crosses…did they know what they were doing?
January 6, 2018 Sailing to Byzantium` W.B. Yeats I identify with it a bit too much.
January 7, 2018 In Memory of Eva Gore-Booth and Con Markievicz W.B. Yeats
Again, I know too little history. I enjoyed more once I educated myself.
January 8, 2018 Charge of the Light Bridage Tennyson
Sad but….juanty. The juanty glorifies too much for my taste. Not to reason why….to hell with that.
January 9, 2018 Two Songs from a Play W.B. Yeats
No video Fourth stanza…buddhism, hedonic adaptation. Round and Round
January 10, 2018 Vacillation W.B. Yeats
A mountain that can’t be climbed at work. Excerpts are nice advice
January 11, 2018 Crazy Janes Talks with the Bishop W.B. Yeats
Sing-songy. It took me a re-read. But I like the philosophy of Crazy Jane.
January 12, 2018 Lapis Lazuli W.B. Yeats I needed help again but good poem for bad times.
January 13, 2018 Channel Firing Thomas Hardy I liked this a lot. Poems with characters
January 14, 2018 In the Time of the Breaking of Nations Thomas Hardy “Time marches on….” Not sure I agree with this poem.
January 15, 2018 I Looked Up from My Writing Thomas Hardy
Hardy scolding himself….your life can’t/shouldn’t stop because another’s does.
January 16, 2018 Adlestrop Edward Thomas
A dialogue..Kind of reminds me of a Hemingway short story. I think I’d like to read more of him.
January 17, 2018 Blighters Siegfried Sassoon Angry much?! at the home front. Good image.
January 18, 2018 Louse Hunting Isaac Rosenberg A different WWI horror. Free verse, hard to get at for me.
January 19, 2018 Strange Meeting Wilfred Owen
Going to Hell…Wonderful. I like poems with narrative, honestly. Old habits.
January 20, 2018 Garden Hilda Doolittle
I like the idea of imagism…I need to get comfortable with the execution.
January 21, 2018 Sea Rose Hilda Doolittle I don’t find the repetition of words intensifiying, just limited.
January 22, 2018 Oread Hilda Doolittle Seems older, Romantic era? Again with the word repetition.
January 23, 2018 In a Station of the Metro Ezra Pound
1st thought- WTF? Second thought: It was only my expectations that gave me the first thought, not the poem.
January 24, 2018 Jewel Stairs Grievance Ezra Pound/Li Po
Repeat words again. No lover in the poem just the notes. A scene, an image.
January 25, 2018 River Merchant’s Wife: A Letter Ezra Pound/Li Po
The heart-hurt of 15. A way to access the fading memory of that, poetry.
January 26, 2018 The Seafarer Ezra Pound
Showing off over clarity? This made me colder….funny thought: he’s a whiner? If the sailing life is cold and lonely, get off the boat.
January 27, 2018 Canto I Ezra Pound Homer again. He’s at the root of it all, no?
January 28, 2018 The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock T.S. Elliot
How’s a 22 year old write like this? Cut’s too close to the bone for a man of my age and history.
January 29, 2018 The Waste Land: Burial of the Dead T.S. Elliot This poem is going to be a long, symbolic, allusive slog.
January 30, 2018 The Waste Land: A Game of Chess T.S. Elliot
I read a Christopher Hitchens Atlantic review calling this poem over rated….yeah. Agreeing right now.
January 31, 2018 The Waste Land: Parts 3,4, & 5 T.S. Elliot
Exhaustive and exhausting poem. It’s what people like me hate and what I need to learn.
February 1, 2018 Legend Hart Crane
It doesn’t ring with me. Or touch me. Because it’s dense or oblique?
February 2, 2018 Voyages Hart Crane Better than Legend but a bit sloopy and over the top.
February 3, 2018 The Bridge Hart Crane
Reading this my mind turned to those early American Film actors who spoke like Brits.
February 4, 2018 The Negro Speaks of Rivers Langston Hughes Thank GOODNESS…in ‘the vernacular’. Now THIS is a poem. 🙂
February 5, 2018 Song for a Dark Girl Langston Hughes “Gnarled and naked tree” hits me hard for some reason.
February 6, 2018 Life is Fine Langston Hughes
Fun but ok, I’m never satisfied, maybe I want a little more challenging.
February 7, 2018 The Red Wheelbarrow William Carlos Williams
A word painting, you can project onto it. I like it more the more I read it.
February 8, 2018 The Great Figure William Carlos Williams
Imagiste?!? I’m not sure why I’m enjoying WCW’s as much as I do.
February 9, 2018 Spring and All William Carlos Williams
Took a couple reads to get the rhythem. Is he the hemingway of poetry?
February 10, 2018 If Rudyard Kipling Poetry as advice column. Reminds me of Polonius.
February 11, 2018 This Is Just To Say William Carlos Williams I love these. True. Real. Peaceful.
February 12, 2018 Ozymandias Shelley I needed this today-feeling self-important in a negative way.
February 13, 2018 My Last Duchess Robert Browning
Spooky. Creepy. I wish more poems told stories. Even incomplete-good imaginative stepping off points.
February 14, 2018 Love’s Philosophy Shelley Simple love poem? In trying to read deeper, I annoy myself.
February 15, 2018 A Grave Marianne Moore No good video. No charm to it. Cold.
February 16, 2018 England Marianne Moore I guess if you call it what it is – an essay, Ezra won’t read it?
February 17, 2018 An Octopus Marianne Moore
Another essay. OK. I get it but just not for me. Qouting brochures?
February 18, 2018 Neutral Tones Thomas Hardy Cinematic, post-break up bitterness. Anger drips from it.
February 19, 2018 Silence Marianne Moore Readable, short, one long quote. Whatever.
February 20, 2018 The Fish Marianne Moore
I mean, I’m trying. I really am. Must be open. At least they’re rhyms
February 21, 2018 To a Snail Marianne Moore Again, I feel I’m reading an essay.
February 22, 2018 Sonnet 29 Elizabeth Barrett Browning Kind of hot. 🙂 She really likes the guy. Very nice.
February 23, 2018 To My Coy Mistress Andrew Marvell Fun. Beautiful. Cheeky….understandable. relatable.
February 24, 2018 Do Not Go Gentle In to that Good Night Dylan Thomas Pleading, plaintive.
February 25, 2018 Westminister Bridge William Wordsworth Very nice word picture.
February 26, 2018 London William Blake It’s a Monday. Not sure I’m up for 18th c. London’s misery.
February 27, 2018 [i carry your heart with me(i carry it in] e.e. cummings Sweet, not saccarine. Approachable.
February 28, 2018 When We Two Parted Lord Byron Breaking up is hard to do.
March 1, 2018 No Second Troy W.B. Yeats
Like Neutral Tones or yesterday’s, I enjoy these harsh heart-aches
March 2, 2018 When I Buy Pictures Marianne Moore Requires re-reading. First impression is “Uh?”
March 3, 2018 The Paper Nautilus Marianne Moore Understood more once I figured out what a paper nautilius was.
March 4, 2018 The Farmer’s Bride Charlotte Mew Tragic story nicely told.
March 5, 2018 Sunday Morning Wallace Stevens I like the old image of reading the paper on Sunday morning.
March 6, 2018 The Poems of Our Climate Wallace Stevens
A nice description of Buddhist unsatisfactoriness/Hedonic adaptation
March 7, 2018 The Man on the Dump Wallace Stevens
This feels self-indulgenty for some reason. What’s wrong with clarity?
March 8, 2018 The Auroras of Autumn Wallace Stevens I sense (or impose?) touches of a Buddhist outlook/perspective.
March 9, 2018 Large Red Man Reading Wallace Stevens
Buddhism again? Embrace the now. The future is not reality. Now is.
March 10, 2018 Gubbinal Wallace Stevens Good to say to myself when I go all negative.
March 11, 2018 Mid-term Break Seamus Heaney Again, love poems with narrative. Then art and grace are a plus.
March 12, 2018 Digging Seamus Heaney I’ve found a favorite poet possibly.
March 13, 2018 The Soldier Rupert Brooke
Boo! Pro-war. I just can’t enjoy it really. Second stanza seems…muddled somehow.
March 14, 2018 The Good Morrow John Donne
Ambivalent about this one. I like the intent, not the execution fully. Maybe the language.
March 15, 2018 Toads Philip Larkin This one made me smile broadly. And grimace grimly.
March 16, 2018 Toads Revisited Philip Larkin I could hear what my voice could become if I let it.
March 17, 2018 Refugee Mother and Child Chinua Achebe Tragic but didn’t hit me as hard as it should.
March 18, 2018 The Poem that Took the Place of a Mountain Wallace Stevens
A writer’s poem. I like it. Something to read, re-read when I write again.
March 19, 2018 The Plain Sense of Things Wallace Stevens
I’m not sure I understand fully but feel the need to revisist this poem often in the years to come.
March 20, 2018 The Casualty Seamus Heaney While good, the topical, political just doesn’t appeal to me.
March 21, 2018 Not Ideas About the Thing but the Thing Itself Wallace Stevens A simple, beautiful picture of spring.
March 22, 2018 Porphyria’s Lover Robert Browning A good one…Bobby B sure was dark. Again, I like narrative.
March 23, 2018 Prelude: Boat Stealing Episode William Wordsworth
I love this. Fits with my viewpoint. We know nothing. Don’t fear it, however.
March 24, 2018 The Garden by Moonlight Amy Lowell Is this about yearning for a kid? I liked “Moon spikes shafting….”
March 25, 2018 A Primitive Like an Orb Wallace Stevens Not for me. I like “The lover writes, the believer hears….” bits
March 26, 2018 She Walks in Beauty Lord Byron
My first thought seems condescening: sweet. But I don’t mean cheaply saccarhine
March 27, 2018 The Lady of Shalott Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Narrative, characters, Up my alley. AND many perspectives can be taken.
March 28, 2018 Lady Lazarus Sylvia Plath The Nazi stuff is a bit rough on me. Too much for her?
March 29, 2018 Because I could not stop Death Emily Dickinson I like the image this creates for me.
March 30, 2018 Casey at the Bat Ernest Lawrence Thayer
It’s Opening Day. I don’t appreciate baseball but I do enjoy stories
March 31, 2018 The Raven Edgar Allan Poe Again, I like narrative. Crowd pleaser, me pleaser.
April 1, 2018 I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud William Wordsworth Just simply pretty.
April 2, 2018 I Died for Beauty Emily Dickinson How do you die for beauty? Something to think about.
April 3, 2018 The Loner Charles Bukowski I like. Future me? Who’s the loner? The old guy or the speaker?
April 4, 2018 Still I Rise Maya Angelou I like the rythym. Some of the symbols seem….awkward.
April 5, 2018 Annabell Lee Edgar Allan Poe Poe sure could rock his morbid love.
April 6, 2018 Sonnet 1 William Shakespeare I find it harder to read than in the past for some reason.
April 7, 2018 There’s a Certain Slant of Light Emily Dickinson I don’t know what light but will look out for it.
April 8, 2018 Mutability Percy Blythe Shelley Good to write on a wall somewhere.
April 9, 2018 Bayonet Charge Ted Hughes This one leaves me shrugging my shoulders.
April 10, 2018 Sonnet 42 William Shakespeare
A sonnet for cuckolds? Making the best of a bad situation, I guess.
April 11, 2018 If you were coming in the fall Emily Dickinson Two versions, I like the less Dickinson. Conventional, nice.
April 12, 2018 Sonnet 55 William Shakespeare I like how it praises the subject and the poetry. Cheeky Will.
April 13, 2018 As if the Sea Should Part Emily Dickinson Not my fav from Em. Disjointed, almost a sketch, not complete
April 14, 2018 Sonnet 18 William Shakespeare I like to read it as a eulogy.
April 15, 2018 The Whitsun Weddings Philip Larkin Wonderful. Almost perfect for me.
April 16, 2018 An Arundel Tomb Philip Larkin The last line, of course.
April 17, 2018 Walking Away C. Day Lewis
“selfhood begins with a walking away. And Love is proved in the letting go.”
April 18, 2018 Ode on a Grecian Urn John Keats It would be nice to get this excited at the museum.
April 19, 2018 Exposure Wilfred Owen The oppressiveness of terrifying boredom.
April 20, 2018 I started Early – Took my Dog Emily Dickinson A bit dreamy, trippy.
April 21, 2018 Before You Were Mine Carol Ann Duffy Nice except for poet feeling bad about being born.
April 22, 2018 To My Dear and Loving Husband Anne Bradstreet Wow. This guy rings her puritan bell.
April 23, 2018 War Photographer Carol Ann Duffy This ticks so many good buttons for me. Read more Duffy.
April 24, 2018 The New Colossus Emma Lazarus The welcome is nice but the rebuf is cool too.
April 25, 2018 Checking Out Me History John Agard So go learn that history. No one is stopping you,.
April 26, 2018 Fra Lippi Lippo Robert Browning I like Mr. B’s stuff performed much better than just reading it.
April 27, 2018 Kamakaze Beatrice Garland Well told heartbreaking story. From war to a grandson.
April 28, 2018 Frost at Midnight Samuel Taylor Coleridge Beautiful, after reading some analysis & three times.
April 29, 2018 Follower Seamus Heaney Bitingly good. Sad.
April 30, 2018 kitchenette building Gwendolyn Brooks Reality Sucks. “Dream” in this context and time is hard to read.
May 1, 2018 Storm on the Island Seamus Heaney Well told poem about strong people.
May 2, 2018 The Rime of the Ancient Mariner Samuel Taylor Coleridge Epic!
May 3, 2018 Mother, Any Distance Simon Armitage Touching without sweetness.
May 4, 2018 Tonight Agha Shahid Ali It doesn’t click with me.
May 5, 2018 Eden Rock Charles Causley Seems nice but chilling the more I re-read.
May 6, 2018 The Truth the Dead Know Anne Sexton Something too posturing about this. Empty, maybe.
May 7, 2018 Letters from Yorkshire Maura Dooley I like this one, a lot. Seems pure and honest and true.
May 8, 2018 Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot Alexander Pope
Interesting…historically. Some things to say but won’t read again.
May 9, 2018 Winter Swans Owen Sheers A nice positive moment. More common in life, less in poetry.
May 10, 2018 The Answer Anne Finch Like coming in half way through a conversation, a good one.
May 11, 2018 The Emigree Carol Rumens Complex language, intriguing, interesting.
May 12, 2018 Ballad in A Cathy Park Hong This seemed like a gimmick or an exercise. Dumb.
May 13, 2018 Climbing My Grandfather Andrew Waterhouse I liked this. The metaphor really worked for me.
May 14, 2018 Singh Song Daljit Nagra Nice day in the life of an indian shop keeper.
May 15, 2018 Under the Poplars Cesar Vallejo Too oblique for me. Maybe lost in translation.
May 16, 2018 Poppies Jane Weir A war poem? I guess. A son poem more so. Endless war poem
May 17, 2018 The Trees are Down Charlotte Mew Powerful gut punch.
May 18, 2018 Tissue Imitiaz Dharker
Musical but free verse. Something I really like in the pace, word choice, topic.
May 19, 2018 Death Donald Revell
This went right over my head. Modernist wihtout the cool allusions
May 20, 2018 Remains Simon Armitage This left me cold. Third person experience. Made to order.
May 21, 2018 Fern Hill Dylan Thomas
I found the language inpenatrable to what it’s supposed to convey.
May 22, 2018 Sonnet 43: How Do I Love Thee Elizabeth Barrett Browning One of the hits. Always good. For a reason.
May 23, 2018 The Darlkling Thrush Thomas Hardy Take joy wherever you are. Nice.
May 24, 2018 Dover Beach Matthew Arnold Gothic-feeling beauty and desolation and despair.
May 25, 2018 Sonnet 116 William Shakespeare Perfection.
May 26, 2018 Remember Christina Rossetti Lovely.
May 27, 2018 The Listeners Walter De La Mare Spooky in a great way. I want to read more of him.
May 28, 2018 Song of Myself Walt Whitman Got half way through it. It deserves more than a day.
May 29, 2018 O Captain! My Captain Walt Whitman Walt knocks it out of the park.
May 30, 2018 The Idea of Order at Key West Wallace Stevens I wrestle with him and he always wins.
May 31, 2018 Middle Passage Robert Hayden I like the mix of cold fact entries and the horror of it.
June 1, 2018 One Art Elizabeth Bishop I really like this one. Light love poem, ironical.
June 2, 2018 Memories of West Street and Lepke Robert Lowell I like these snapshot poems.
June 3, 2018 And Ut Pictura Poesis Is her name Ashbery I read a bit about him. At least it doesn’t make me angry.
June 4, 2018 The Dry Salvages T.S. Elliot Again with the modernist. It was made new.
June 5, 2018 Ulysses Alfred, Lord Tennyson I can see coming back to this one again and again.
June 6, 2018 Sonnet 29 William Shakespeare Perfection to me in this place and this time.
June 7, 2018 Invictus William Ernest Henley Something to live up to. Read more of him.
June 8, 2018 Pioneers! O Pioneers! Walt Whitman A cousin to Frost’s The Gift Outright?
June 9, 2018 On the Stork Tower Zhihuan I love the ‘imagist’ simplicity of the the thought.
June 10, 2018 Horatius at the Bridge Thomas Babington Manly Poem!!
June 11, 2018 The Builders Longfellow Good advice….rhymed.
June 12, 2018 A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning John Donne A Ron Swanson-y Love Poem.
June 13, 2018 Poem From Iron Heel Jack London I can’t decide if I like this or not. I’m leaning toward not.
June 14, 2018 Opportunity John James Ingalls
Nice in a way, but end bit not really true. It knocks more than once
June 15, 2018 Character of the Happy Warrior William Wordsworth Tiring of these “earnest” poems. Line breaks would be nice. 🙂
June 16, 2018 Ode 1.11 Horace Good for my stoic sensibilities
June 17, 2018 The Tiger William Blake Classic one that I had trouble with in junior high. Nice now.
June 18, 2018 On His Blindness John Milton Life was hard then yet he still found solice and then produced.
June 19, 2018 A Psalm of Life Longfellow So far my favorite ‘earnest’ poem.
June 20, 2018 Death Be Not Proud Donne I like the thought of teasing death.
June 21, 2018 Church Going Philip Larkin Wonderfully Larkin. And rings true to me.
June 22, 2018 Fog Carl Sandburg Perfection. Been with me a long time.
June 23, 2018 Chicago Carl Sandburg As Bravado as the city.
June 24, 2018 The Emporer of Ice Cream Wallace Stevens Let be be finale of seem sticks with me.
June 25, 2018 Poetry Marianne Moore A good lesson.
June 26, 2018 Jabberwocky Lewis Carroll Silliness can be good.
June 27, 2018 Kubla Khan Samuel Taylor Coleridge Ethereal poem and a light touch on my mind.
June 28, 2018 Gunga Din Rudyard Kipling I like story poems.
June 29, 2018 Anthem for Doomed Youth Wilfried Owen I know it’s his most popular but doesn’t affect me as deeply.
June 30, 2018 Recessional Rudyard Kipling What a downers dude.