The lonely desert mesas stretched to a line of mountains etched on the stark blue horizon. At an elevation of 7,000 feet the morning air was crisp and cool, even though it was July in New Mexico. I was alone in front of a little shrine that reminded me of
a country chapel. It seemed an appropriate metaphor considering whose ashes were buried there — author D. H. Lawrence, the “priest of love.”
The “Casina Rossa” or “Little Red House” sits next to the Spanish Steps in the Piazza di Spagna in Rome. An unprepossessing building built in 1725, it blends in with the neighboring three and four story buildings surrounding the piazza. The Casina Rossa is not renowned for its distinctive architecture, but instead for its many distinguished occupants, the most famous of whom was John Keats, the great English Romantic poet.
Since the untimely death of Dylan Thomas in November 1953, the writer’s popularity has escalated, especially in his native Wales. In Swansea, the city of his birth, people who are otherwise uninterested in all things literary, flock to readings of Under Milk Wood and engage in lively discussions about it afterwards.
As a junior in high school, studying American Literature for the first time, I claimed Emily Dickinson as my poet. I felt as though I alone were given the gift to decode her poems. The rest of my class wanted to read more accessible poetry; they hated Dickinson’s verse and were indifferent to her life story. Her use of elusive imagery and fourth-definition choices for words frustrated them but only increased my desire to study the poems more closely. I wanted to understand enough about Emily Dickinson so that I could emulate her.
Twenty-four miles south of Asheville in Flat Rock, NC, there once lived a Midwestern poet that wrote for the common man. His name was Carl Sandburg. He was a Pulitzer Prize winning poet & biographer, most famous for his Chicago Poems, American Songbag and massive biography of Abraham Lincoln.