140210_r24626-1200A Promise Matters More Than Snow: Rethinking Robert Frost | Devise Literary

Maxine Kumin’s “The Final Poem” suggests something about Frost’s own poetry that many often overlook. Frost tells Kumin and the other fawning poets of Bread Loaf that the audience “can’t take in / half of what you’re giving them.” If we were to believe conventional analyses of Frost’s work, an audience would be able to get everything in one hearing, as many interpretations of Frost’s poetry don’t account for the layers of Frost’s work. Moreover, Frost is often thought of as a poet of nature and rural life, which to me feels a bit like referring to Anne Sexton as merely a poet of domesticity—these descriptions are ostensible; it is what is underneath them that defines them. Let’s take three of Frost’s nature poems—“Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” “Birches,” and “After Apple-Picking,” which are often interpreted as laments on man’s distance from nature—and determine the way that each of these poems shows how nature only offers fleeting respite and temporary transcendence. Nature cannot save us spiritually; it can only place us “toward heaven,” and only then for but a moment. Rather than lament this ephemerality, Frost concludes, “Earth’s the right place for love.” Continue reading…

screen-shot-2016-10-23-at-7-05-23-pmInterview on WHUP’s The Spine with Gail Marie

I had such a fun time talking about books and the experience of reading with Gail Marie. Check out the interview at thespineshow.com or whupfm.org.

From The Spine‘s website: “Literary critic Jonathan Russell Clark starts at the very beginning by talking about a book he carried to school in first grade because he wanted to look smart (it’s a big one). In a high school English class, he read E. E. Cummings and everything changed. Now he lives in an apartment filled with books and reads for a living. We talk about what makes reading uniquely engaging.”