That’s right, let’s talk about love. This weekend I was sitting on the beach and thinking about the absence of good love poetry these days. There are so many talented poets out there, manipulating words to give us something brighter and better than we’ve ever read. One thing, though, is lacking in this poetry. A lot of poets aren’t writing about love. Maybe this modern world is so completely jaded that writing satirical poetry about politics or meaningful poetry about our struggles on this planet has taken precedence over some of the basics.
So, let’s talk about love.
There is one book of poetry in my collection that I do not take a plane ride, holiday, etc. without. In fact, at one point I thought I had lost it and when I went to go look online for a new copy, I found out it was a bit of a collectors item. So then I freaked out even more. But I did end up finding it which was a huge relief. The point of me mentioning this particular anthology is that it is the most beautiful piece of collected work I’ve ever read and owned. Irving Layton selected these poems and there are some drawings by Harold Town. Irving selecting the poems is probably why I love it so much. It features the likes of Leonard Cohen, PK Page, Louis Dudek, Ray Souster, George Bowering, Al Purdy, Avi Boxer, etc. Some of my nation’s most beautiful and wonderful poets of all time.
The most important part of me talking about this collection of poems, though, is that these poems are all at least 40 years old. It pains me to say it. FORTY YEARS. Ughhhhhhhhhh. Where are all the great love poets of MY time? Am I missing something? Are you out there?
In the prologue Layton writes, “Love works on us the way great poetry does: it transports us out of our habitual selves and allows the angels to sweep new knowledge into the vacated spaces. When we return we stand higher and taller…The death wish – Bah! There is only the love wish, the desire in each of us for superhuman power and immortality.”
What happened to lines like:
The day you came naked to Paris/The tourists returned home without their guide books/The hunger in their cameras finally appeased.
-Layton, The Day Aviva Came to Paris
Clothespinned to your halo
hang the smutty socks
of my love.
When you turn
your head, dear,
you make an amazing
-Boxer, Ferris Wheel
Where is this stuff in 2010? I consider myself a love poet. It’s like throwing a sucker punch or blowing air into a ventricle in 30 words or less. I take a lot of pleasure in it. So I’m looking for love poet friends. Come out, come out wherever you are…