26 September, 2022

LitStaff Picks: The Books We Are Most Passionate About

Collected Poemshttps://i0.wp.com/ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41p-tXj5BNL._SL500_AA300_.jpg?w=640
Stanley Kunitz

I was first introduced to Stanley Kunitz’s poetry while rifling through an anthology for an English Comp class. Though Kunitz had served as the Poet Laureate, I’d never heard of him.

As soon as I could, I bought his Collected Poems.

I still have my battered, dog-eared volume, full of notes in the margin and pink highlighting. I pull it out when I’m adrift, when I’m low, when I feel I’ve lost myself or some perspective essential to what it means to be me. In this small volume is encapsulated the joys and sorrow of humanity, of love, of loss, of fear and hope.

From his First Love:

At his incipient sun

The ice of twenty winters broke,

Crackling, in her eyes.


From the Testing Tree:

In a murderous time

the heart breaks and breaks

 and lives by breaking.

 It is necessary to go

 through dark and deeper dark

 and not to turn.

Kunitz’s poems are a celebration of life: the mystery, the anguish, the love, the hate, the transience of youth, the promises made and broken, the children you pray for, the spouses you love and then lose…If I had only one book, this would be it.

And one last excerpt, from The Abduction:

Our lives are spinning out

from world to world;

the shapes of things

are shifting in the wind.

 What do we know

 beyond the rapture and the dread?

-Jennifer Orozco

1 thought on “LitStaff Picks: The Books We Are Most Passionate About

  1. I am an author in the process of upgrading my website with WordPress. I would like permission to use one of your “Books are Magic” images on my site. I could provide credit for the artist on the site itself.

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