Thursday, February 3, 2011
The book "Valentines" is by Ted Kooser, a former U.S. poet laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner. This slim volume of poems, published in 2008, is a collection of the annual Valentine Poem Ted sent to women fans and friends on Valentine's Day for twenty-two years. He printed them on the back of a postcard and had them mailed from Valentine, Nebraska. He started with fifty postcards and ended up sending them to twenty-six hundred women in 2007, which was the last year for his lovely tradition. Alas, I was never on the list, but here they are all in one book.
What a mensch and what good poetry.
The other poet who came to mind is Phyllis McGinley (1905-78), also a Pulitzer Prize winner in 1961. She is known mainly for her humorous poetry. I dug out an old book of her poetry (published1954), "The Love Letters Of Phyllis McGinley" and became re-enamored of her wit and skill. I'm going to let her words ensnare you---with just three stanza's from her poem, "A Kind Of Love Letter To New York".
Love is a mischief,
Love is a brat.
Love is, admittedly, blind as a bat.
So I'm in love with
The City of New York.
Too new for an empire, too big for its boots,
With cold steel cables where it might have roots,
With everything to offer and nothing to give,
It's a horrid place to visit, but a fine place to live.
Ah! some love Paris,
And some Purdue.
But love is an archer with a low I.Q.
A bold, bad bowman, and innocent of pity.
What can I say but---Phyllis McGinley, I love you.