Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Connecticut Poet Laureate Speaks About Newtown

In times of great tragedy we often turn to the written word, and in this case it's poetry. As a writer it's my weak spot. As a reader it's something I cherish.

Dick Allen, Connecticut's poet laureate, said he awoke three days after Newtown's mass-murder tragedy with this phrase running through his head: "The entire nation has tears in its eyes."

It's not just the nation, I think it's the entire world. I've seen poems written by people in the UK, and as far away as Africa. My sister-in-law told me about the funerals going on in Newtown right now and I can't even begin to imagine how people are dealing with this. I would imagine they're all in shock. And I know from personal experience shock isn't such a bad thing. It gets you through what you have to get through.

Asked how to find words to deal with such incalculable loss, Allen, who lives in nearby Trumbull, recited the closing line from Irish poet William Butler Yeats' poem titled In Memory of Major Robert Gregory.

"A thought of that late death took all my heart for speech," wrote Yeats, lamenting that even poetry could not sufficiently commemorate the too-short life of a young friend.

"I just know there is a sense of incredible sadness in Connecticut -- radiating across the nation," Allen said. "It's overwhelming grief."

You can read more here.

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