Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Poetry Project - Pulitzer Prize Winners

The theme for the second month of the revamped Poetry Project is Pulitzer Prize Winners. For those that are wondering Leslie has Mr. Linky this month.

For those of you that don't remember, poetry is not really my thing. This is part of what lead to the Poetry Project period. So, I couldn't tell you a Pulitzer winner to save my life. Thankfully, Leslie loves poetry and she provided a list of suggestions. Lists are good. I can work with lists. I decided to do my post on Edna St. Vincent Millay because the collection that won, The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver is available in the public domain. Easy enough and can be found by clicking here.

I started with 'The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver'. This is the title poem in the collection and you can read along and listen to Johnny Cash recite it on YouTube. Isn't technology grand? I have embedded it below.

Thoughts: I have found over the years that while I do not enjoy reading poetry as much as some people; I do enjoy listening to it being recited. While listening I followed along and it made the experience that much better. Yes, Johnny Cash takes a few liberties with the lines, but very minor. I was left thinking that Christmas stuff is awful depressing! There was some magic presented, but it reminded me of all the popular Christmas stories and how bad things always seemed to happen. On the one hand people are singing how it is 'the most wonderful time of the year' and on the other hand a little boy is cold, clothes-less, and has very little to eat. I thought Johnny Cash captured the lines well and Edna wrote a poem that could still easily translate to today.

'A Visit to the Asylum'

I found this recitation on YouTube. It is not Johnny Cash...

Thoughts: This poem was kind of over before I really got into it. I liked that the other poem took longer to build so I could get into it and appreciate what was going on in it. The poem is about exactly what the title says and is good. I like the way that Edna writes. She is not overly showy and uses just the right words to get her point across. I appreciate that about her.

'The Concert'

Didn't find a recording of this one...

Thoughts: This was fun. It is one side of a conversation written in such a way you know what the other person is asking. She then goes on to a longer passage about why her lover cannot come to the concert with her. She has quite a connection to music. You can appreciate what she addresses in this poem.


I did find a recording but I hated it so much I got distracted from the poem. Up to you if you choose to look it up...

Thoughts: I like this poem. It starts off very well saying:
It’s little I care what path I take,
And where it leads it’s little I care;
But out of this house, lest my heart break,
I must go, and off somewhere.
I think the girl daydreaming is easily related to when you have to go somewhere and you are not entirely sure about it. Another poem that can easily be related to today.


I didn't bother to find a recording. A very short one.

Thoughts: Frankly, I am not entirely sure I even get this poem. I tend to over-think and make it much more complicated than it needs to be... So, feel free to chime in with your interpretations.

'Sonnet I, II, III, IV, V, VI'

I am pretty sure my quite search found audio recordings of these, but I decided to just read them.

Thoughts: I have always enjoyed Sonnets. I like them by Shakespeare more than his plays, for example. And most of the poets I typically read write sonnets. I think they add more depth to a poem. For me. This means that I generally get them. Other stuff? It is very hit or miss. I think this relates to what I said above about thinking too much... Anyway, my favourite was III. It is about a book and women readers. Overall, a good collection.

'The Wood Road'

I couldn't find a recording.

Thoughts: I love nature. I loved this poem. It was a great way to finish out the collection.


  1. I like "Feast" because of its contrariness. There's nothing she can take in that will be as wonderful as she imagines. Also, the rhyme in the final four lines, which is less simple and exact than in the first two sets of four lines, is kind of funny. It seems to say that nothing is as simple--or as good--as you think it's going to be when you first feel the hunger for it.

  2. Whenever I read "The Harp Weaver" I get a chill up my spine. (no joke) I first read it when I was about thirteen. I had just read Solzhenitsyn's "Gulag Archipeligo" and between the two, was haunted for months. It's funny how one little poem can have such a lasting effect.

  3. It's on my to-do list. Or it will be as soon as I write my to-do list. I'm going to pull out my big fat Norton Anthology of Poetry and see if any of the Pulitzer winners are listed in there. I do have a collection of Plath but I want to read someone I haven't read yet.

    I love your idea of listening while reading! I'm on my work computer so can't listen to the Cash right now but will see if I can get it to work on my phone.

  4. Also--thinking about this more, I think I like the idea of having a poem that we all read and then discuss. Or would this be too restrictive? Anyway...just a thought.

  5. I also like sonnets quite a bit. Sometimes poetry written in form can be so interesting. I love to see the different things poets can do with it. I'm glad you enjoyed the Johnny Cash recording! I agree with Jeanne's interpretation of "Feast." I'm glad you liked the collection!


Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

I am so sorry, but I turned anonymous commenting off. I have had it from the very beginning, but that is how the spam is getting by my spam filter at the moment. If it is a big deal I will turn it back on and moderate all comments. I also changed moderation from older than 14 days to older than 7.