Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Mary Sarton

Mary Sarton was born in 1912 and publishes novels as well as poetry during her long career. Even a stroke in 1986 did not keep her from continuing to write. Sadly, however, she died of breash cancer in July of 1995. I happened to pick up her book, Coming Into Eighty published by W.W. Norton & Company, in the library. This was written after her stroke and explores the process of aging. I have a career that aids those in Nursing Homes and Assisted Living so it was wonderful to stumble upon a poet that explores this topic giving me further insight into the kinds of people I meet daily. I will also note that Mary Sarton was awarded the Levinson Prize for this particular book of Poetry.
Her preface describes a “magical year” in which poems came to her easily at night and she wrote often and well like never before. The poems in this book are as a result of that year and they are all fluid, rhythmic, and beautiful. There are also poems with clever rhyme matched perfectly with rhythm so that they could almost be songs…
“The O’s of November” is one such example, with lines: “Like the trees we are bare/And the chill on the air/Speaks of death.” The ending,also, is strong and clear and crisp just like the month of November itself.
I also love her short poem “A Thought” which is short enough that it is difficult to quote. I leave you the last lines: “Brute power/Is not superior/To a flower.”
If you happen upon this book, please read it. It holds so much more than a woman describing her life in her eighties. It speaks of universal truths and illuminated moments, it is quite worth the reading. If you are able to sit by a sunny window and sip your favorite drink, then you have set up the perfect way to read her book.
For more information about her I have included the link below…


Thanks for reading, please stop by tomorrow for more finds around the world wide web…

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