All are welcome to attend the One Page Poetry Circle on May 6 to discuss Poetry and Birds.

green-bird-white-backgroundBirds have long been an inspiration to poets, perhaps because, like poets, they sing: Percy Bysshe Shelley refers to a skylark, “Like a Poet hidden/In the light of thought.” Birds and poets have the ability to defy gravity and soar above the earth: John Keats seeks to fly with a nightingale on “the viewless wings of Poesy.”

With a topic so rich as birds, it may be difficult to select just one poem. In “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird,” Wallace Stevens’s strange title seems to say that there is no finite number of ways to view a blackbird. The author gives us thirteen, an odd number, because he knows there are many, many more.

Stevens begins with an all-seeing blackbird:

I
Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird.

After a few stanzas he wonders about his many options:

V
I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.

He ends with the persistent blackbird:

XIII
It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The blackbird sat
In the cedar-limbs.

What do you have to say about Stevens’s poem or another poem on the subject of birds? 

 

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