Friday, October 7, 2011

A Verse: A Poem by Marilyn Taylor, former Poet Laureate of WI

I own two books of poetry by Marilyn Taylor. I've read them. I like her writing. Somehow she's able to span the chasm between academia and the real world of regular readers. She has fans in both places, no doubt. 

Of all the Marilyn Taylor poems I've read, "Reading the Obituaries" has stuck with me most. Taylor's style of humor contrasted with the serious subject appeals. I suppose all the hours I've spent at the ssa.gov site searching lists to choose names for my fictional characters has something to do with it as well. I hope you'll like the poem, too.

 Did you know some of the most common baby names for 2011 are Mason, Noah, Ava and Olivia? Just for fun, here's babycenter.com's list for 2011:

BabyCenter Population

U.S. Population


Reading the Obituaries

Now the Barbaras have begun to die,
trailing their older sisters to the grave,
the Helens, Margies, Nans—who said goodbye
just days ago, it seems, taking their leave
a step or two behind the hooded girls
who bloomed and withered with the century—
the Dorotheas, Eleanors and Pearls
now swaying on the edge of memory.
Soon, soon, the scythe will sweep for Jeanne
and Angela, Patricia and Diane—
pause, and return for Karen and Christine
while Susan spends a sleepless night again.
    Ah, Debra, how can you be growing old?
    Jennifer, Michelle, your hands are cold.

Marilyn L. Taylor

© 2000; originally printed in The Formalist.
Reprinted by permission of the author.

Marilyn L. Taylor, former Poet Laureate of the state of Wisconsin (2009 and 2010) and the city of Milwaukee (2004 and 2005), is the author of six collections of poetry.  Her award-winning poems and essays have  appeared in many anthologies and journals, including Poetry, The American Scholar, Able Muse—along with a brand new anthology called HOT SONNETS.  She was also featured recently online, in Ted Kooser’s “American Life in Poetry” column. Marilyn taught poetry and poetics for fifteen years at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and currently serves as a Contributing Editor for The Writer magazine, where her articles on craft appear bi-monthly.

Whatever your name, thanks for stopping by Visits and Verse. Come back soon. If you have time to leave a comment I would love to hear from you. I invite you to join the site, too. 

I hope you have a terrific weekend. 


Next week: The Penwood Review, Lake Geneva, and we visit Hong Kong via daughter, Paige.


The Prude said...

What a great poem to share. I often pause to think of nursing homes full of Jessicas and Heathers and Tiffanys and Ambers.
It's always fun to see the latest trends in baby names.
I know a lot of little ones with those names!
Have a wonderful weekend!

Robin J. Steinweg said...

I enjoyed Marilyn Taylor's poem, and the whole post. Prude, I have NEVER stopped to think of Jessica's and Ambers, etc in the nursing homes! You are unique.
Thanks for the Lori-list!

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