Over at the website Voltage Poetry, Kim Addonizio and I are orchestrating a conversation about poems that have amazing turns in them. With over 80 contributors so far, this ongoing conversation extends Structure & Surprises‘s investigation into the turn, shifting from a consideration of kinds of turns to identifying great turns and discussing why they are so powerful, so moving.
Here, though, is my personal–and, again, constantly growing and evolving–collection of poems that engage particularly thrilling turns:
“Any Man May Be Called a Pilgrim Who Leaveth the Place of His Birth,” by Christina Davis (in Forth a Raven (Farmington, Maine: Alice James Books, 2006): 18).
“Islands and Figs,” by Jack Gilbert (in Collected Poems (New York: Knopf, 2012): 51).
“Winter,” by Czeslaw Milosz In “Close Reading: Windows” (The Writer’s Chronicle 43.4 (Feb. 2011): 22-30), poet-critic Jane Hirshfield defines and praises “Winter” as “a poem which turns toward almost every direction of human life, whose fidelity is in the end simply to life–and whose mid-point turn to the vocative ‘you’ is…among the most breathtaking transitions and window-openings to be found in poetry anywhere, in its intimacy and in what it summons.”
Good conversation about “Between Walls” can be found here.
“Mad Daughter and Big-Bang,” by Araki Yasusada (in Doubled Flowering: From the Notebooks of Araki Yasusada, edited and translated by Tosa Motokiyu, Ojiu Norinaga, and Okura Kyojin (New York: Roof Books, 1997): 11).