Poet Appreciation #3: Robert Penn Warren
Better known as a novelist, and perhaps as a scholar, Robert Penn Warren did provide some formidable poetry to ponder. You might be more familiar with his All the King’s Men, which garnered him the Pulitzer Prize in 1947, then his Pulitzer Prize collection Now and Then: Poems, 1976-1978. In all, he was awarded three Pulitzer Prizes, two being for poetry. His southern background influenced his writing, particularly leaning towards the agrarian appreciation of the land. Receiving accolades and honors throughout his career, Warren left a rich legacy of both prose and poetry.
by Robert Penn Warren
I shall build me a house shall build me a house where the larkspur blooms
In a narrow glade in an alder wood,
Where the sunset shadows make violet glooms,
And a whip-poor-will calls in eerie mood.
Like Cather’s poetry about the prairie, Warren provides a strong connection to nature. His diction is amazing the way it influences the imagery: “violet glooms,” “guttered light,” “glassy dark”. I don’t even notice the rhyme, it’s so fluid. Whether they poem is taken for its metaphorical meaning or literal, it doesn’t matter to me–I simply want to savor it, rather than analyze it. Good writing is like a good sunset in that words aren’t always sufficient to explain why the beauty is so moving.