Friday, August 31, 2012

Poetry Friday: A.R. Ammons

Is there a greater gift than a book of poetry? A friend and colleague of mine made a special trip to my school earlier this month to deliver a book of poems by A.R. Ammons. He even wrote an inscription and highlighted his favorites! That's how poetry lovers give gifts.

So I've been sort of slowly soaking myself in Ammons's work. He's not a poet I was really familiar with beyond recognizing his name. But I'm definitely a fan.

My favorite so far is called "Staking Claim." But, I can't find a copy online that I'm authorized to use. So instead I bring you the beginning portion of a long but elegant poem called "Corsons Inlet:"

Corsons Inlet

I went for a walk over the dunes again this morning
to the sea,
then turned right along
   the surf
                         rounded a naked headland
                         and returned

   along the inlet shore:

it was muggy sunny, the wind from the sea steady and high,   
crisp in the running sand,
       some breakthroughs of sun
   but after a bit

continuous overcast:

the walk liberating, I was released from forms,   
from the perpendiculars,
      straight lines, blocks, boxes, binds
of thought
into the hues, shadings, rises, flowing bends and blends   
               of sight:

                         I allow myself eddies of meaning:   
yield to a direction of significance
like a stream through the geography of my work:   
   you can find
in my sayings
                         swerves of action
                         like the inlet’s cutting edge

Explore the rest of this beauty at the Poetry Foundation. And be sure to check out the Poetry Friday
roundup at Poetry for Children

photo credit: Beaulawrence via photo pin cc


  1. What a marvelous gift! Corsons Inlet is one I'd like to save. It reminds me of poems I've read by Buddhist monks. Thanks.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Tabatha. I'm glad you liked the poem. I'm not familiar with the poetry of Buddhist to Google it now!

  3. That's just gorgeous! As one who lives by the sea, I can relate, particularly to the glorious loss of limits, both physical and mental, that occur on a long walk at water's edge. Thanks for sharing!