A partial list of writers I have enjoyed reading would include: Anne Carson, Elizabeth Bishop, Zora Neale Hurston, Virginia Woolf, Mary Shelley, Willa Cather, Maxine Kumin, Toni Morrison, Emily Dickinson, Anne Tyler, Annie Dillard, Rita Mae Brown, Terri Jenkins-Brady, Lisel Mueller, Gertrude Stein.
But right now I’m thinking about Galway Kinnell. His tour de force poem, “The Bear,” I read at least once a year. (Spoiler alert: I love tours de force. Yes, I want to marry one.)
My library is a cleanroom containing only tours de force. Pollutants in the form of effete strains such as “Four o’clock found her in the drawing-room.” (Edith Wharton) or “When, shortly afterwards, in this lady’s vast drawing-room…” (Henry James) have been filtered out. Tours de force; we don’t need no stinkin’ drawing rooms.
As a poet, Galway Kinnell was a beast. But he could also do the delicate work; he saw clearly and wrote clean, sweet, fine lines: hummingbirds he described as “…those tiny, irascible,/nectar-addicted puritans…” Or, a different bird, “…think of the wren/and how little flesh is needed to make a song.” Like listening through a straw.