Because April is National Poetry Month in Canada and the USA, I decided to invite six of my favourite poets to my dinner party. I tried to get a good mix of genders, historical eras and poetic styles.
Of course, my first pick is Sappho, lesbian poet extraordinaire of ancient Greece. I'd love to hear all about her many loves and the young women's academy she founded on the Isle of Lesbos. I bet she has a few choice words too for the Christian religion that subsequently destroyed almost all copies of her poetry and tried to erase her from history.
Next is my favourite Japanese haiku poet, Issa (1763-1827). His poems are noted for their simplicity, ruefulness, humour and respect for all living creatures. I would love to discuss "the haiku moment" with him.
My third choice is William Wordsworth (1770-1850) who wrote much deathless poetry in his time and rose to be Poet Laureate of England. Plus he had an intense and perhaps romantic relationship with his sister Dorothy that I'd love to hear more about.
Speaking of intense relationships, what dinner party would be complete without William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), passionate Irish nationalist, poet, playwright, mystic, Nobel laureate? What was it like to pursue Maud Gonne for a single night of sex after 19 years of unrequited love?
The American poet Wallace Stevens (1879-1955) helped to create modern free verse poetry. He'd probably have a lot to discuss with Issa because some of his best poetry can be very haiku-like. What intrigues me about Stevens is that he was an insurance lawyer. Yet he had such a wildly creative soul! Surely that dichotomy must have produced some profound conflict in him?
My sixth guest is the living American poet, Mary Oliver. I love her introspective poetry with its intense connection to nature, spirituality and the truth of women's lives. I'm sure she'd like to meet Sappho too.
So what does one serve poets at a dinner party? Endless coffee, cigarettes and booze leap to mind, although that's probably just an unfounded stereotype. I think I'd serve a variety of finger-foods and tapas. Catered, of course. I want to spend all my time asking questions and listening to them talk.
Okay, all you bloggers reading this, consider yourself tagged! If this challenge sounds interesting to you, do a post -- I'd love to read it!