"Opera Buffe" : Poem by a Prize winner

 A poem by this year's winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize

A stanza:

Oh, the best of us is nothing
but a sweetening of the air,
a tryst between the teeth and tongue:
we meet and no one’s there


The return to metrical rhyming poetry, without leaving some of the innovations of the newer voices, is a much welcome respite from the usual.  I know more and more are returning to the roots of poetry--to so-called classical verse--and to my mind, that is all to the good--a reestablishment of diversity.

Another report on Philip Gross


Philip Gross


The count of cappuccino,
the marquise of meringue,
all the little cantuccini…
and what was the song they sang?

Oh, the best of us is nothing
but a sweetening of the air,
a tryst between the teeth and tongue:
we meet and no one’s there

though the café’s always crowded
as society arrives
and light glints to and fro between
the eyes and rings and knives.

We’ll slip away together,
perfect ghosts of appetite,
the balancing of ash on fire
and whim—the mating flight

of amaretti papers,
my petite montgolfiere,
our lit cage rising weightless
up the lift shaft of the air.

So the count of cappuccino,
the marquise of not much more,
consumed each other’s hunger.
Then the crash. And then the war.

Originally found at: University Diaries

Comments

  1. Thanks for this! When I worked on a project involving Longfellow a couple years ago, various culture-vultures I knew made snide remarks about his verse. It's nice to see more evidence for a revival of formal poetry.

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  2. Dear Jeff,

    It is perhaps too easy to be snide about Longfellow given the massive opus, there are bound to be a few things that just don't quite click. But his is still considered one of the better translations of Dante, and many of his poems are memorable both for their "story" and for their sonority.

    It is nice to see formal poetry return--very nice.

    shalom,

    Steven

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