Tuesday, October 4, 2011

M.S. Merwin - I Like That Guy.

I didn't take this picture; I got it from here.
Today, when I strode into my English class at 2:55pm (class starts at 3) to a crowd of empty seats voicelessly screaming at me; I naturally started to freak out. Questions rushed through my brain and panic increased my heart rate as I checked the time, checked my schedule to make sure I got the time right, then I texted Madison. The impending doom of failure started to encircle me; you know, that abhorrent feeling that creeps into your chest when you want to be doing the right thing but are thwarted by something as simple as lack of knowledge. Although I was not standing in an abandoned room for too long, but just long enough for Madison (bless her soul) to respond to my text, and another person of my class who had not checked their e-mail lately to walk through the door. It was nice to find out that class had been canceled due to a poetry reading, of which all who attended would receive extra credit. How awesome is that? I have never been to a poetry reading but I have wanted to go to one. So my fellow classmate and I walked to the JSB where I was early enough to catch most of the introduction of the award winning poet W.S. Merwin. To be frank, I wasn’t paying much attention to the introduction partly because I was focused on getting my notebook out and also because the guy talking sounded a little boring. Luckily, the guy with a lack of voice fluctuation was not W. S. Merwin. Relief ran through me as the 84 year old Merwin took the pulpit and words skipped and jumped from his mouth. He started out by giving the audience the chance to ask him four questions and then started the reading with one of his earlier works that he wrote when he was 28. He read a bunch of different poems, and ended the reading with one of his more recent poems: The Laughing Thrush. I could go through my notes and tell all the poems he read, but I don’t feel like throwing anyone into fits of tears from boredom. Although, I will share one of the poems I liked from the reading:

Dusk in Winter

The sun sets in the cold without friends
Without reproaches after all it has done for us
It goes down believing in nothing
When it has gone I hear the stream running after it
It has brought its flute it is a long way

I like poetry because it makes you think about life and ordinary things on a deeper level. It makes you stop and examine something that you probably wouldn’t normally think twice about.   As Merwin eloquently stated “Poetry is there to explain things that can’t be explained”, and I agree with that, no matter how contradictory it may sound at first. In conclusion, W.S. Merwin writes some good poems, and I am excited about reading one of his books. Although, this is from a girl who was excited to get 101 Famous Poems for Christmas, so judge me accordingly.


  1. I love canceled class. Not so much when I didn't know about it either but it is still awesome.

  2. so uh hey... no class on tuesday! ;) haha

  3. I wasn't that big of a fan of said poetry. I found it to revolve mostly around nature, but didn't give me the desire to do anything in nature. To me he seemed to have captured the image without any of the appeal.

  4. Haha that is hilarious how you went to class! those are the best. especially how you had to check your schedule as if you were wrong...

  5. I've gotta agree that the poetry wasn't particularly inspirational. It was funny how you showed up in the Maeser Bldg, though. Glad you were able to get the info on what was going on.

  6. Kirk- Yes, no class=pure amazingly awesome sweetness. Though I must say, I have nothing against any of my teachers it’s just always really nice to not have class.

    Kelsey- Thank you. :) See I'm good when cancelled class is on the syllabus and I signed up for a time to conference with my teacher, but when it was briefly mentioned in class and then e-mailed, well... I guess that's when I sometimes go amiss. It’s weird because I’ve been better at checking my e-mail lately, but I guess that’s what happens when I don’t check it every day.

    Sturgell- Merwin may not be my favorite poet, but I did enjoy the reading. I may not have been the biggest fan of some of the poems, but at least two really stood out to me. For instance, the poem I included in my post. I liked the imagery of it more when Merwin himself was reading it aloud then when I went back and read it. The grammar on the last line kind of really bugs me. Anyway, when he read it, I saw the sun reflecting on the cold hard snowy ground, and the sun became more than just a bunch of hot gas in our solar system, but more like a friend, a living element that is always there for us, making our lives possible, even when we forget or don't acknowledge it's existence. It might not make you want to go explore the wilderness, but I feel it does make you stop and think about something as normal as the sun, in a different way, or just to appreciate the daily things in life a little bit more. That's just what I think, but it doesn't mean you have to feel that way. Diversity is part of what makes people great.

    Mark-Yup, I'm just good like that. :)

    Brandon- Like I sort of stated above, each to his own. I too am happy that I found out where I was suppose to be. I am also glad that people besides myself can find humor in the infractions of my life. Otherwise I would be a weird crazy person laughing at myself all alone. Hmmm… okay I may be a weird crazy person laughing at myself, but at least I'm not alone anymore.

  7. That is SOOO FUNNY that you went to class that day and freaked out! I did not go to the poetry thing, but from the sounds of it, it was quite enticing.