These weird days, the Poetry Board has been reading some poems (as one must hope it is wont to do), and we’re writing to share some of these with you. Each willing member has recommended one poem. Some are new discoveries for their recommenders, others are old friends, and still others have quickly become mainstays of their recommenders’ respective isolations. You can find each one for free online (click on any title for a link), so if you are reading this post—to quote Madi Howard’s rec below—you really have no excuse not to give them a try. These poems have deepened, clarified, eased and enlivened our respective quarantines. May they do for you whatever you need done.
Owen Torrey recommends “Postscript” by Seamus Heaney:
Deep into my second week of self-isolation, I found myself googling the same thing every day: postscript seamus heaney.
In a 2011 article for GQ, John Jeremiah Sullivan opens with one of those long, self-referential ledes about the story he was assigned (the future of the human race), the story he ‘thought he had’ (a look into the Future of Humanity Institute at Oord University in England), and the story he ultimately found (a fundamental change in the nature animal aggression toward humans) –– the kind of delightful decoy lede that seems to take you away from the story but actually crystallizes its central theme. When Sullivan finally gets to his nugget –– the idea that takes him from ‘the future of the human race’ to animal attacks––– it seems simultaneously obvious and unbelievable: “no one knows what’s going to happen in the future.”A minute of reflection will prove this claim true. No one is a fortune teller.
The Chainsmokers, those guys are legends. The DJ duo of Drew Taggart and Alex Pall has taken the pop charts by storm over the last year, particularly with their smash hit “Closer” which reigned number one on the Billboard charts for a full 12 weeks, making it, for all intents and purposes, the song of 2016. They’re hot, young, totally chill, and on top of the world. Perhaps we’re left to wonder how history will remember The Chainsmokers and Closer because we’re left to wonder how history will remember 2016 – the year when everyone we loved passed away and Donald Trump was elected president. I can only imagine the memories we’ll have of Closer flooding from Uber radios, dining hall serveries, and party rooms (somehow always playing but never at your own volition) will intertwine in the soup of our subconscious with our memories of the election (it was rocking out at number 1 on November 7th).