Alibi V.18 No.16 • April 16-22, 2009 

Poetry News

Dead Poets Society

The connections between art, madness and tragedy are often sensationalized. Far be it for us to go against that grain. Match these famous poets with the way they died and some of their verses. Happy Poetry Month!


1) Gwendolyn Brooks

2) John Keats

3) Federico García Lorca

4) Czesław Miłosz

5) Frank O'Hara

6) Anne Sexton

7) Percy Bysshe Shelley

8) Gertrude Stein


a. Self-induced carbon monoxide poisoning

b. Drowned under mysterious circumstances

c. Died in a dune buggy accident on Fire Island

d. Died of tuberculosis at 25

e. Pretty old

f. Executed

g. Died in Paris of inoperable cancer

h. Was really, really old


"You do not always know what I am feeling.
Last night in the warm spring air while I was
blazing my tirade against someone who doesn't
interest me, it was love for you that set me
afire, and isn't it odd? for in rooms full of
strangers my most tender feelings
writhe and bear the fruit of screaming."
From "For Grace After a Party"

"Winged, to be winged means that white is yellow and pieces pieces that are brown are dust color if dust is washed off, then it is choice that is to say it is fitting cigarettes sooner than paper.

An increase why is an increase idle, why is silver cloister, why is the spark brighter, if it is brighter is there any result, hardly more than ever."
From "Tender Buttons [A Box]"

"Darkling I listen; and, for many a time
I have been half in love with easeful Death,
Call’d him soft names in many a mused rhyme,
To take into the air my quiet breath;
Now more than ever seems it rich to die,
To cease upon the midnight with no pain,
While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad
In such an ecstasy!
Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain—
To thy high requiem become a sod."
From "Ode to a Nightingale"

"My darling, the wind falls in like stones
from the whitehearted water and when we touch
we enter touch entirely. No one's alone.
Men kill for this, or for as much.

And what of the dead? They lie without shoes
in the stone boats. They are more like stone
than the sea would be if it stopped. They refuse
to be blessed, throat, eye and knucklebone."
From "The Truth the Dead Know"

"On the day the world ends
Women walk through the fields under their umbrellas,
A drunkard grows sleepy at the edge of a lawn,
Vegetable peddlers shout in the street
And a yellow-sailed boat comes nearer the island,
The voice of a violin lasts in the air
And leads into a starry night.

And those who expected lightning and thunder
Are disappointed.
And those who expected signs and archangels' trumps
Do not believe it is happening now.
As long as the sun and the moon are above,
As long as the bumblebee visits a rose,
As long as rosy infants are born
No one believes it is happening now."
From "A Song on the End of the World"

"Life is not a dream. Careful! Careful! Careful!
We fall down the stairs in order to eat the moist earth
or we climb to the knife edge of the snow with the voices of the dead
dahlias. But forgetfulness does not exist, dreams do not exist;
flesh exists. Kisses tie our mouths
in a thicket of new veins,
and whoever his pain pains will feel that pain forever
and whoever is afraid of death will carry it on his shoulders."
From "City That Does Not Sleep"

"We real cool. We
Left school. We

Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We

Sing sin. We
Thin gin. We

Jazz June. We
Die soon."
From "We Real Cool"

"The warm sun is falling, the bleak wind is wailing,
The bare boughs are sighing, the pale flowers are dying,
And the Year
On the earth is her death-bed, in a shroud of leaves dead, Is lying."
From "Autumn: A Dirge"

ANSWERS : 1) e. G, 2) d. C. 3) f. F, 4) h. E, 5) c. A, 6) a. D, 7) b. H, 8) g. B