Friday, September 7, 2012

Aimless Reading: The S's, Part 60 (Algernon Charles Swinburne)

Selected Poems
Swinburne, Algernon Charles
Selected Poems

Given to me by Stephen Mounkhall on February 17, 1999, according to the following inscription:

2/17/99

For Mike

"being bird and god in one"

Algernon

P.S. Thanks for being such a good friend and host.

I drove Steve up from New York to give a reading that winter at Cornershop, one of my all-tim favorite reading and art venues. I can't remember who he read with. I do remember that I had given my own reading in NYC the weekend before and that he had driven with me back to Buffalo from the city.

I think I picked him up at his house outside Nyack, which he and his family had just moved into. I may even have stayed the night. In fact, I am pretty sure I did and they we stayed up late playing chess and listening to Gillian Welch, who I had then recently discovered.

He bought this at Talking Leaves Books and gave it to me after I told him that I had been reading writers like Swinburne and Hopkins, both sort of poetry oddball geniuses their contemporaries had often accused of being more interested in music than in meaning. I learned a lot from both.

I may have had another book of Swinburne's poems that I traded in at some point in favor of this one.

Here's a poem of his you can read over at the Poetry Foundation:

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/174561

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