Saturday, May 22, 2010
I heard Kay Ryan read at the Library of Congress on Thursday. It was her "retirement" reading from being the poet laureate of the U.S. for the last two years. Many of the poems she read were short, humorous and accessible.
It brought to mind the complaints I've often heard about poetry being hard to understand. So I decided to google her and see if Kay had anything to say about that.
I found her under Poets.org with a link to a panel discussion called "Clarity and Obscurity in Poetry". (interesting read). Kay was one of the panelist and is quoted as saying that she is determined to send her signal as strongly and clearly as possible. I hear the voices asking..."where then is the poetry?"
Kay answered that question by reading Robert Frost's Poem "Dust of Snow". According to her, it is a poem that is quite clear on the surface, yet contains something other, a mystery. "It's clarity points to something that isn't rational."
I love a mystery---so I'm putting the poem below to read and re-read. Join me in the adventure of finding the mystery in Frost's poem.
Dust of Snow
The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree
Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.