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Winter poetry on Voca

Maybe it’s the cliché poet soul-disturbance, but I could hardly find a happy winter poem. One, called “Winterpig” by Denise Levertov, is the only celebratory poem of winter, or the holidays, or the cold, that I discovered. Most are ominous, like John Haines’ immensely deep voice, making the cold months of December and January feel daunting -- not like the Tucson 70 degree days we seem to enjoy in Southern Arizona.

In spirit of the gratefulness and compassion we share in the holidays, I will now share with you poems that have nothing to do with those emotions. Most of these works are extremely short, making me think that perhaps all these poets just want winter to be over -- I can’t blame them, it’s difficult to write with chilled fingers..

I guess I need a little help this month, what are some fun winter poems you have found on Voca?

John Haines
http://voca.arizona.edu/index.php?reading_id=69
Most of his poems from Winter News do, indeed, deal with winter. The wild, cold, natural winter. Cozy up to a real wood fire, a quilt, and indulge your ears in this disturbingly low, smooth, voice.

Peter Gizzi
http://voca.arizona.edu/index.php?reading_id=268
“Wintereisse “
A cheesy love poem of sorts, full of witty sarcasm. Yet, somewhere in Gizzi’s modern humor, he brings in images of the lighting on winter days, with just a short image-ridden selection of words.

“Hypostasis and New Year”
(http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/243404)
Again, Gizzi captures the colors and lighting of winter. And with his repetition of the word “shake,” one can’t help but just shake, too. Read along with him by clicking on the link above.

Denise Levertov
http://voca.arizona.edu/index.php?reading_id=23
“Winterpig”
One of the few humorous, celebratory winter poems! Levertov’s fun phrasing like, “slither and struggle” as they climb the sledding hill, and “wild with joy,” convey the eccentricity of a pig sledding.

An interesting find:
(http://www.susanbotti.com/works/pigdreams.html)
Susan Botti created a soprano vocal/musical piece that follows Levertov’s poems about the special pig she writes of sledding. It’s modern, surprising, and kind of strange, but a neat example of how poetry, and literature, can inspire other artwork.

W.S. Merwin
http://voca.arizona.edu/index.php?reading_id=27
“Dusk in Winter”
Another shorty, I don’t have much to say on it, but that I like this idea of the sun, and how our interaction with such an important part of our lives changes in the cold time of year.

Bert Meyers
http://voca.arizona.edu/index.php?reading_id=200
“Winter”
“Oils of autumn have dried,” Meyers captures the previous season and gives us the next season in equally great images. While short and succinct, one can be left with the nostalgia that wintertime brings.

Billy Collins
“Hippos on Holiday”
http://voca.arizona.edu/index.php?reading_id=300
This one isn’t really about the holidays, but I found it amusing, and fitting the light heartedness that the wintertime joys bring. Perhaps it’s even thought of as provoking... do we need a holiday from something just to enjoy ourselves?

Hope you enjoy your winter season, all the warm holidays, and your enormous coke and popcorn!

Jeannie Wood is a junior at the University of Arizona studying poetry, astronomy, and Latin. She’s from Northern Arizona and spends her time writing for Wordplay, playing rough with UA’s Derby Cats, and biking. She enjoys disappearing into different areas of the state, and parts of California, on weekends.

Created on: 
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Arizona Board of Regents