David Ferry Two (draft)



The virtuous shades of the dead come back to play

Among the grasses the violets intersperse.






On a hung-overcast Sunday morning an while back I bought a used book from the used bookstore up the hill from Buckinghammer in West Philadelphia, PA. According to the teen guide I read last night Boys: Are They Aliens? “Libra Boy” can be quite superficial, and I admit I often read books of criticism on famous topics [inset] to get a little learning on the cheap. But Ricks’ criticism engages subjects with such touch(?), and to such profitable ends, that I’m often led to go mining after the OG source material. Kay Sand Point: The final chapter of Allusion to the Poets, “David Ferry and the Shades of the Dead,” recommends Mr. Ferry’s collection Of no country I know so highly (or should I say allows Of no country I know to recommend itself so highly) that I bought the dang thing off Amazon and now I’m recommending the dang thing to you.


Of no country I know collects into sections selected original poems and translations from Ferry’s previous books. He is perhaps best known for his translations, and in this field he draws from a diversity of authors, languages and eras. In each section his original works find place naturally among others’, Horace, Virgil, Hölderlin, Baudelaire. With his capable pen the voices of the dead & distant return, and among these revived lines Ferry’s own poems intersperse.


This sense of the historical and the long weight of words running throughout Of no country I know can be found in “After Spotsylvania Court House”, originally published in Strangers: A Book of Poems. Ferry’s endnote for the poem reads: The battle took place between May 8 and 11, 1864. “A Charge to Keep” is no. 388 in The Methodist Hymnal. The quotations in this poem are from a letter of Joseph H. Knowles to his wife, Ellin J. Knowles, 23 May 1864.





(Oh drat, I wish these were visible and not just links — I’ll fix that tomorrow)


One Response to “David Ferry Two (draft)”

  1. torster Says:

    you won’t have to push me too hard.

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