May 23, 2008

In my insomniac boredom, I began reading Edwin Arlington Robinson's full-length narrative poem Roman Bartholow (MacMillan, 1923). My college library discarded a first edition, which I snatched up, simply because I snatch up all poetry books the library withdraws with the idea that one day I'll get around to reading it. I'm convinced there's something to be gained poetically even in the worst & most outmoded texts. This particular book hadn't been checked out since 1938, so I can understand the impetus of whichever librarian to get rid of it. On the other hand, since the library is smallish & part of an equally small liberal arts school, I question getting rid of any poetry book, since their offerings are hardly exhausitive or even representative of the many movements in 20th century poetry.
"Why do you tell me now that other men
Have built of their insolvency new houses?
What are all the houses that all other men
Have built, or may build, worth to me tonight,
Now that I see no house?" (98).



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