Sedona Lit is a series by Dr. Elizabeth Oakes, an award winning poet and former Shakespeare professor. A Sedonian of four years, she highlights the literature, written or performed, of Sedona, past and present.
By Elizabeth Oakes
(September 9, 2017)
In a recent Sedona Culture Collaborative poll about interest in the liberal arts, only 14% marked the literary arts, by far the lowest percentage. I decided to do my own poll – of sorts – and asked some of Sedona’s stars if they had a favorite poem. Yes, they did! Several couldn’t pick just one. Another said it changed from day to day. Here they are:
Barbara Litrell (Community Leader) – “Il Pleure dans mon Coeur” by Paul Verlaine
Linda Goldenstein (Arts Developer/Sedona Promoter) – “A Call to Love” by Rumi
Andrea Christelle (Philosopher) – “The Garden of Love” by William Blake
Pash Galbavy (Performance Artist) – “The Summer Day” by Mary Oliver
John Soderberg (Sculptor) – “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley
Sarah McLean (Meditation Teacher) – “The Summer Day” by Mary Oliver and “At once the winged energy of delight” by Rainer Maria Rilke
Camilla Ross (Professional Actress) – “How Do I Love Thee” (Sonnet 43) by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Paul Friedman (Facilitator/Mediator) – “School Prayer” by Diane Ackerman
Russell Fox (Musician/Conductor/Arts Administrator) – “Death, Be Not Proud” (Holy Sonnet 10) by John Donne and “Intimations of Immortality” by William Wordsworth
Gary Every (Writer/Photographer) – “Otherwise” by Jane Kenyon
Poetry hits the heart like nothing else; note that three of the above even contain the word “love.” Two picked the same Mary Oliver poem (it must be floating around Sedona)!
I hope you’ll google them and see if they resonate with you as well. Also, if you, dear reader, have a favorite poem, please share by commenting below.
Stay tuned, as I plan a similar column on favorite novels!
I have always been drawn to a poem called “The Listeners” by Walter De La Mare. I know most of the poem off by heart as it was the poem I chose to read in competition when I was taking a public speaking course in the US as a high school foreign student many years ago. It is a beautiful poem, a little unworldly/scary but very special.
Thank you, Angela, especially for sharing the circumstances! A poem can be with us for a lifetime!
A Cottonwood friend forwarded your column to me, where I saw titles of familiar poems and familiar faces, including yours. Your photo doesn’t do you justice.
I love Mary Oliver’s poetry, and I disagree with John Ruskin, who (in a critique of Wordsworth) spoke of his “pathetic fallacy” of attributing human attributes (thoughts, feelings, etc.) to inanimate objects. “Posh!” was the unanimous response of my Asheville, NC weekly circle of poets and lovers of poetry, who are big on exercising poetic license, and on Mary Oliver, who uses that device, along with many of the other great poets, current and classic.
One of my favorite classic poets is Shakespeare, though won’t boil my preference down to a single sonnet. A more recent favorite is Stanley Kunitz, and his “Touch Me.”
Today’s political climate calls to mind “Ozymandias,” a cautionary tale still relevant, I fear. Sometimes humor is an escape from the bad news, and I enjoy Billy Collins, too. “The Lanyard” is one of my favorites of his.
Today I was amused by an anonymous bumper sticker:
HAIKU CONFUSE ME.
OFTEN THEY MAKE NO SENSE.
HAND ME THE PLIERS.
What is your favorite poem?