Classic Remarks: Recommend a Poet

Classic Remarks

Classic Remarks is a meme hosted here at Pages Unbound that poses questions each Friday about classic literature and asks participants to engage in ongoing discussions surrounding not only themes in the novels but also questions about canon formation, the “timelessness” of literature, and modes of interpretation.  Feel free to comment even if you are not officially participating!  This week’s prompt is:

Tell us about your favorite poem or poet.

Stephen Crane (1871-1900) is perhaps best known as a novelist and short story writer, as well for his involvement in realism and American naturalism.  He wrote, among other works, The Red Badge of Courage and Maggie: A Girl of the Streets.  Crane, however, also wrote poetry, publishing two volumes–The Black Riders and Other Lines and War Is Kind.

Crane’s poems address war, loss, the struggle of writing and, most of all, belief.  Sometimes Crane’s poems despair over the unkindness of merciless gods and sometimes they hold out more hope.  The conflicting notes they strike reveal Crane as a man of complexity who seems to have embraced his contradictory nature.  It’s that contradiction that draws me to his poetry.  It says that it’s okay if you don’t have all the answers.  It’s okay if you sometimes struggle.  It’s okay if you sometimes doubt.

Crane’s works are now in the public domain, so if you’re interested in his poetry, it’s not hard to find.  I recommend “Many red devils ran from my heart,” “Do not weep, maiden, for war is kind,” and “Fast rode the knight.”

Many red devils ran from my heart
And out upon the page,
They were so tiny
The pen could mash them.
And many struggled in the ink.
It was strange
To write in this red muck
Of things from my heart.

Krysta 64

31 thoughts on “Classic Remarks: Recommend a Poet

  1. The Reading Bug says:

    What a difficult question! If there is one poem that seems to come into my head uninvited more than any other, it is probably Eliot’s endlessly interesting Prufrock – “Let us go then, you and I…”

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Cara Sue Achterberg says:

    I am poetically illiterate. Ever since a horrible high school AP english teacher, I’ve been rebelling against poetry. Probably because I have always struggled to ‘get it,’ This poem is refreshing, though, playful yet poking a bit at deeper things. Just downloaded his complete works (free on kindle!). Excited to explore a poet that might teach me a few things and set me on the road to appreciating poetry.


    • Krysta says:

      I didn’t even learn anything about poetry in high school because my English teacher didn’t like it and didn’t want to teach it…. So I don’t read much poetry on my own, but I find Crane’s poetry very accessible.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Books, Vertigo and Tea says:

    I admit that it has not been until recently that I have decided to explore poetry. When I was younger, I was only familiar with Poe and some of the usual names that pop up in required school reading, so I enjoyed this post 🙂


  4. Lianne @ says:

    Thanks for sharing this! I’ve never encountered Stephen Crane before and that poem is wonderful, will have to check out more of his work 🙂

    I have way too many favourites now that I’ve been reading quite a bit of poetry–Federico Garcia Lorca, Rainer Maria Rilke, Osip Mandelstam, Anna Akhmatova, Edgar Allan Poe–and tons of favourite poems that it’s hard to choose just one to share xD


  5. saraletourneau says:

    Poetry! 🙂 I just got back in the habit of reading a poem each night after my fiction reading and before I go to bed. I’ve acquired a number of Mary Oliver’s chapbooks and collections over the years, so I’m in the middle of catching up on those and remembering why I’m so grateful for her work. Ursula K. Le Guin is a wonderful poet, too. The versatility of her work (sci fi, fantasy, poetry, essays, short stories, etc.) never ceases to amaze me.


  6. Nora says:

    I’m always surprised at how much I like Siegfried Sassoon’s poetry. He wrote about the First World War, which isn’t something I’m generally interested in, and how horrible it was, which I’m even less interested in, but somehow it works.


  7. Bethany says:

    I’m really late, but had to take part in this!
    My favourite poet by far is JM Storm. His quotes and poems are sooo beautiful!!!
    Here is one of my favourites… it’s called ‘Pretty Face.’


    • Krysta says:

      Thanks for sharing your favorite poet! I did remove the poem as publishing full poems online could be a violation of copyright law. Even if Storm is sharing poems on his social media, he might prefer that fans go to his pages for exclusive content, so I wanted to honor that as well. 🙂


  8. Michael J. Miller says:

    For me, my favorite poet’s Rumi. I like to joke that I struggle with poetry – equating it to watching British television. I “get it” but I always know there’s more I’m missing :). However, from the first Rumi poem I read back in my undergrad days I’ve loved him. I teach him when we discuss mysticism in the Islam section of my World Religions class too. As mystic poets go, I know of no other who more beautifully describes the mystery and power of chasing after and unifying with the Beloved.


      • Michael J. Miller says:

        Oh he is. He’s a Sufist (the mystical branch of Islam) who wrote during the 1200s. I find reading him to be as nourishing for my heart as it is for my soul.

        Fun side note, I was once on a first date with a girl who, over dinner, told me how violent and evil Muslims were and how they were looking to destroy our way of life. (Ugh.) After dinner I asked if she’d mind doing something before the movie. She was down for a surprise detour so I took her to Borders (oh how I miss you Borders). We sat in the theology section as I read her gorgeous love poetry by Rumi for half an hour. Eventually she said, “This is so beautiful! Who is this?” I said, “Rumi – he was an Islamic mystic from the 1200s.” It was quiet for a few beats before she said, “…you’re REALLY ruining my preconceived notions here.” We didn’t have a second date but I still hope Rumi’s stayed with her a little through the years.


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