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Saturday, July 1, 2017

A mouthful of language to swallow

“Poetry should be able to reach everybody, and it should be able to appeal to all levels of understanding.” – Peter Davison

Davison, born in New York on June 27, 1928, was an American poet, essayist, teacher, lecturer, editor, and publisher who grew up in Boulder, CO.  He wrote poetry of reflection: highly intelligent, deeply informed by nature, constantly alert to the external world. "The corner of the eye / Is where my visions lie," he wrote in his poem Peripheral Vision.    He wrote in his 1984 poem The Vanishing Point: “Each moment wishes us to move farther on / into a sequence we can follow at most / to vanishing point. We can see no farther, / though time seems to pause and wait for us at times / and measure us and move along again.”

His first collection of poetry, Breaking of the Day (1963), won the Yale Younger Poets Prize and his final collection, Breathing Room (2000), received the Massachusetts Book Award.  He authored a dozen volumes, edited countless more, and held the post of Poetry Editor of The Atlantic Monthly for 30 years.   He said he always liked light-hearted as well as introspective poems.  Here for Saturday’s Poem, is Davison’s,
A mouthful of language to swallow:
stretches of beach, sweet clinches,
breaches in walls, bleached branches;
britches hauled over haunches;
hunches leeches, wrenched teachers.

What English can do: ransack
the warmth that chuckles beneath
fuzzed surfaces, smooth velvet
richness, splashy juices.
I beseech you, peach,
clench me into the sweetness
of your reaches.

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