The Farrar, Straus and Giroux Poetry Blog

April 06, 2007

"More Things Move Than Blood In The Heart"

Carl Phillips describes 'Night' by Louise Bogan so beautifully, I'd hestitate to add much:

"[Night] seems to be meditating on the relative insignificance of human endeavors and efforts in the context of the larger, natural world that will outlive us. The poem seems to do that by its camerawork--sweeping from the islands to the estuaries to the life inside the water, then sweeping up to the night sky, the context it gives to the stars and to the land beneath it. Then, suddenly, there's this interruption of intimacy towards an interior 'you' at the end. It also works by each of the first three stanzas springing from an unresolved clause starting with the word 'where.' It's as if the irresolvability of it is the catalyst for the final stanza, where there's this sudden interruption and reminder to the self."

To that I would only add that if you are unfamiliar with Bogan's poems, this definitely deserves a listen. She's a bit of a mixed pleasure for some people, as she had the cojones to call out many of the confessional poets working at the time (including two of my favorites, Lowell and Berryman), but she has the solid, impressive body of work to back it up. I'll post Carl's own poem later today.

(You can also download the poem by clicking here.)


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