Wednesday, April 09, 2008

National Poetry Month: Poet of the Week

Dame Judith Sitwell
Edith Sitwell (1887-1964), a Brit and contemporary of T.S. Eliot, admired him warmly because he saw the world with different eyes. Her first book of note, Fa├žade,(1922) and her last, The Canticle of the Rose (1949), reflect her own changing way of looking at the world. One would have to describe her as a dark poet of eccentric interests with an exceptionally keen musical ear and discerning mind keenly attuned to the senses. She denied being eccentric, but described herself an “electric eel in a pond of goldfish.”

Came the Great Popinjay

CAME the great Popinjay

Smelling his nosegay:
In cages like grots
The birds sang gavottes.
'Herodiade's flea
Was named sweet Amanda,
She danced like a lady
From here to Uganda.
Oh, what a dance was there!
Long‑haired, the candle
Salome‑like tossed her hair
To a dance tune by Handel.' . . .
Dance they still? Then came
Courtier Death,
Blew out the candle flame
With civet breath.

Further Reading: Victoria of England / Edith Sitwell ; with illlustrations. ; Sitwell, Edith, Dame, 1887‑1964. ; c1936. ; Houghton Mifflin Company.

Coming next week: James Dickey

Content developed by local resident and poet Leland Jamieson