Penelope’s Poetry Parlor: October

Our theme for the library this year is What a Wonderful World, and to that end, we’re focusing on seeing the wonder in our world. Usually, every month at the desk, we have an article available for patrons to read and discuss with Julie, our library director, but this year, we’re handing out poems instead. Our trusty library goose is also helping us pen a monthly column that focuses on some of the gems in our poetry collection.

For October, our poem is Sophie Jewett’s “In Harvest.” Born in the first year of the Civil War, Jewett came from a well-to-do family in rural New York State. Her childhood, however, was dominated by a series of devastating losses–first her parents and then her relatives who had taken her and her siblings in after they were orphaned. Eventually, Jewett found her way to the home of a minister and his family. Her friendship with the family provided her with support for her budding poetry career, as well as the means to travel to Europe. Jewett eventually worked as an English professor at Wellesley College, and by her mid-thirties, she was publishing her poetry and translations as well.

One of Jewett’s poetic contemporaries is Robert Frost. On the surface, Jewett’s poem and Frost’s work have a lot in common, though the latter is far more popular and widely known. If you think of a Robert Frost poem, chances are you’re thinking of “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” Like Jewett’s meditation on the wheat harvest, Frost’s poetry returns to depictions of rural life and nature again and again.

Because of that, it’s easy to think of Frost’s work as gentle and nostalgic. But Frost can get a lot darker and deeper than is commonly assumed. (Don’t believe me? Read “Home Burial” and report back.)

We have a lovely collection of Frost’s poetry. It features over 100 of his poems (The Road Not Taken), so whether you only ever read a handful of his poems in high school or you’re a fan of his work, chances are you’ll find something you haven’t read while also getting to revisit old favorites.

Who is your favorite poet? What’s your favorite poem? Do you ever write poetry? Tell us in the comments! As always, please follow this link to our online library catalog for more information on this item or to place it on hold.

Author: berryvillelibrary

"Our library, our future"

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