- ABOUT US
Megan Rossman, Photography Editor
Photo by JOHN JERNIGAN
Dead Lady Poets Society
By Megan Rossman
January 22, 2014
My relationship with poetry is a casual one. I’m no scholar when it comes to poetry—or anything else. My college humanities textbook with T.S. Eliot and old sonnets have long comprised most of my education on the subject.
There is one poem, however, that I have had stowed away in my brain for many years called “Autumn Dusk.” It is conveniently short:
I saw above a sea of hills
A solitary planet shine,
And there was no one near or far
To keep the world from being mine.
It was more than twenty years ago that I found the book containing that poem in my elementary school library. It’s the first and maybe only book of poetry book I’ve read in its entirety: Stars To-Night: Verses New and Old For Boys and Girls by Sara Teasdale. The copy was old but still pristine, interspersed with pen and ink drawings by the famous children’s illustrator Dorothy P. Lathrop and twenty-five poems about stars, fairies, flowers, birds, and the ocean. They’re beautiful poems about beautiful things, but there’s an underlying melancholy in many of them, the yearning and discontent of someone whose first and unrequited love is intangibles.
I wasn’t surprised when I found out a couple years ago that Teasdale killed herself in 1933, three years after Stars To-Night was published. Suicide seemed to be a fairly popular way for famous lady poets to go. Maybe it still is. Being a poet is a tough way to live.
I’m grateful that they do live—even if only a short while in some cases—and give us their thoughts to mull over. Poetry is an often underappreciated form of word wizardry, and I’ve been trying to read more of it lately.
I’ve got a good teacher in Oklahoma Today’s editor Steffie Corcoran, who posts a poem nearly every night on her personal Facebook page. Over the past year, I’ve become familiar with a number of authors.
If you’re interested in reading some poems, here are a few I like. You may like them, too.