What We're Up To, Reading-Wise
May Carnival of Children's Lit

Poetry Friday: "Heaven for Stanley"

IMG_2524 Several days of rain have kept us indoors this week, but have greatly encouraged the new container gardens of herbs and tomatoes that the kiddo and I planted. With that in mind, I chose Mark Doty's poem "Heaven for Stanley" for Poetry Friday. It's a short poem about so many things, including gardens—and the friendship between two poets of different generations. 

The "Stanley" in the poem is Stanley Kunitz (1905-2006). One day I'd like to read Kunitz's book The Wild Braid: A Poet Reflects on a Century in the Gardenwhich he wrote with Genine Lentine.

Doty's "Heaven for Stanley" begins with the lines "For his birthday, I gave Stanley a hyacinth bean,/an annual, so he wouldn't have to wait for the flowers." You can read the entire poem at Poets.Org (the Academy of American Poets). Then I hope you'll come back and chat because I'm not quite sure what the last lines mean. What do you think? CORRECTION: The Poets.Org poem contains a typo. No wonder I didn't get it! Use this version at the Guardian, instead. Scroll down on the page.

To see what poetic thoughts others are mulling over, check the Poetry Friday roundup at Irene Latham's blog, Live. Love. Explore! You might also want to stroll through the list Top 100 Poetry Blogs, where you'll see some new and some familiar names.


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First off, thank you so much for mentioning the book The Wild Braid. I just ordered it. Gardens and poetry, be still my heart.

I love the Mark Doty poem as well. I am not very good at anaylsing poems but here's what I thought.

I don't understand "Heave steadies"
but I thought the last line "He's already there." might be tying things back to the title of the poem, Heaven for Stanley

Susan, I double-checked the Doty poem at another site, and found a correct version! There was a typo. Geez.

And, yes, absolutely the "he's already there" is tying it back to heaven.

I love the idea of a garden as "all furious change." And I love the idea of "preferring" all parts of the cycle equally (though I'm not very good at that).

Yes, that's wonderful. I like the phrase "all furious change" too, Janet. I also love, for some reason the line "Mark, I have just the place for it" which is simple and conversational but conveys delight. I can picture the two of them in the garden, can't you?

The Wild Braid is perfect. One of my very favorite books of all time.

Hi, Beth! Oh, that is so good to hear. I am looking forward to reading it.

Ooh, look at your container garden! I'm trying to encourage mine to grow, and luckily today is overcast--we've had too much heat for it to be truly happy.

Hey, A.F.! We had a good time putting the container gardens together. What are you growing?

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