The Cortland Review


Robert Fink

Twenty Years Teaching Creative Writing - A sustaining meditation on teaching the craft.

Gibbons Ruark

Thirteen Ways of Listening to the Songbirds - A new series of poems to celebrate Emily Dickinson, W.B. Yeats, & Robert Frost.

William J. Neumire

William Neumire reviews the dichotomy of attachment and detachment in Robert Cording's Against Consolation.

Gibbons Ruark

Gibbons RuarkGibbons Ruark's essay, With James Wright at the Grave of Edward Thomas, appeared in the Spring 2003 Feature of The Cortland Review. The author of a number of books of poems, including Keeping Company (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1983), Rescue the Perishing (Louisiana State University Press, 1991), and Passing Through Customs: New and Selected Poems (Louisiana State University Press, 1999), he has been the recipient of three NEA Poetry Fellowships and a Pushcart Prize. A member of the English faculty at the University of Delaware since 1968, he lives with his wife Kay in Landenberg, Pennsylvania.
Gibbons Ruark - Poetry



Thirteen Ways Of Listening To The Songbirds

Emily Dickinson Leaving Her Poetry Workshop

Her hand on the chill ivory doorknob,
The sunlight like a summons on the table
—Hungers clamoring from the rooms below—
She would climb back up to it when she was able.

W.B. Yeats Watches Oliver St. John Gogarty Donate a Pair
of Swans to the Liffey

A pair of swans! Extravagance afloat
On the slow morning waters of the Liffey.
Gogarty's old enough by now to know
One emblem will suffice for anybody.

The Constant Symbol: Interior Decoration at Thoor Ballylee

The erudite want to wax symbolic
On the color of the walls, and it could be true.
The trouble is, when George went in to buy the paint
In Gort, the only color on the shelves was blue.

The Range of Frost's Affections

"Robert Frost didn't love many people,"
Says the critic from his Sunday morning corner.
Tell that to Marjorie, whose hand he drew from
   her heart

To his and back when Death forgot to warn her.

In Praise of Dissatisfaction

Richard Eberhart told me Robert Frost
Would walk out in the woods, compose a verse,
And be so happy he'd forget about it.
Would that he'd misplaced a comma! Things could
   be worse.


Wallace Stevens Welcomes John Crowe Ransom to Hartford

Wallace Stevens ushered John Crowe Ransom
And his dog back on the New Haven Line.
It was time for tea, and he feared the dog
Might pee on the palm at the end of his mind.

James Merrill Remembers Elizabeth Bishop's Tact

"Her house guest was brought up short in the doorway.
She'd come to quick tears over a glass of Irish.
'Don't worry, Jos´┐Ż, (she switched to Portugese)
It's all right, I'm only crying in English.' "

The End of Genius

Randall Jarrell laid The Kiss of Understanding
On his fellows, leaving every one a handle.
"I felt I'd been run over but not hurt,"
Said one. If only that were true of Randall.

On a Sentence in an Irish Republican Paper

"The trouble is not the Provisionals
But the Benedict Kielys of the world."
Said your friend Sean White, "To think there might
  be more
Than one of you is what makes my short hairs curl."

Side by Side

Richard Wilbur lived next door in Key West
To his excellent friend John Ciardi.
They traded palindromes and love. Please God
The both of them may sup with Thomas Hardy.

Journey to the Interior

James Wright sent his free verse clear to Minnesota,
Then took its advice, as was his habit.
But as for his late late exquisite sonnets,
He croaked through his throat-hole, "Don't show them
   to Robert."

Winter's Lease: The English and Irish Laureates at Ease

Ted Hughes was a sidelong, grateful, hulking guest
That winter in the Heaneys' Cambridge lease.
When offered a Guinness or some "rough" red wine,
He said, "I'll take the rough red, Seamus. Please."

Seamus Heaney Responds to the Charge that He Switches from Powers to Bushmills on Crossing the Border

"This train is rumbling north and north of the Boyne.
Friends and enemies, I need a word at the ready.
But what they say about me is a lie.
The line that I'm on serves nothing but Paddy."





© 2004 The Cortland Review