Folio Book Store, 24th Street, San Francisco; photo by Mike Lambert
Reading old poems in an age of social media
by Nicholas Jones
I know you thought that poetry was dead,
despite the careful work of ages past,
despite the earnest hope that words might last,
and might be spoken yet, and might be read.
You said — and sensibly — that no one bred
in these distracted times, when all is fast
and hectic, could slow down so drast-
-icly, when Google drives our minds instead.
But then you delved the fields where sonnets grew,
testing their shape, tracing their rhymes, in quest
of meaning, relevance, a sense of true
engagement with the world. And then you found
that in these poems, discoveries abound . . .
wisdom, awareness, how to live one's best.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nicholas Jones earned a PhD from Harvard and taught English literature at Oberlin College for forty years, specializing in Shakespeare, Milton, and the Romantic poets. His translations and commentaries on madrigal poetry, A Poetry Precise and Free: Selected Madrigals of Guarini, was published by the University of Michigan Press in 2018. He is a singer, violinist, violist, gambist, and recorderist, and reviews music for San Francisco Classical Voice. He is a member of the board of Early Music America. He is an instructor at OLLI at SF State, specializing in poetry and other forms of literature. Two of his recent courses for OLLI were: Shakespeare in Film and Elizabethan Poets.