Print Story Poem of the Day: "The Art of Dying" by Tom Disch
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By Beechwood 45789 (Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 08:46:00 AM EST) (all tags)
"The baffling murder of Stephen Vincent Benét."


The Art of Dying
by Tom Disch

Mallarmé drowning
Chatterton coughing up his lungs
Auden frozen in a cottage
Byron expiring at Missolonghi
and Hart Crane visiting Missolonghi and dying there too

The little boot of Sylvia Plath wedged in its fatal stirrup
Tasso poisoned
Crabbe poisoned
T.S. Eliot raving for months in a Genoa hospital before he died
Pope disappearing like a barge in a twilight of drugs

The execution of Marianne Moore
Pablo Neruda spattered against the Mississippi
Hofmannsthal's electrocution
The quiet painless death of Robert Lowell
Alvarez bashing his bicycle into an oak

The Brownings lost at sea
The premature burial of Thomas Gray
The baffling murder of Stephen Vincent Benét
Stevenson dying of dysentery
and Catullus of a broken heart

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Poem of the Day: "The Art of Dying" by Tom Disch | 6 comments (6 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Random comment in my own post. by Beechwood 45789 (2.00 / 0) #1 Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 10:58:48 AM EST
Thanks to lm for leading me to Obama's patriotism speech. It was very moving.

Did anybody else notice that the "first lines of the Declaration of Independence" that he says he remembers his mother reading to him are not, in fact, the first lines of the Declaration of Independence?

Ah by Scrymarch (2.00 / 0) #2 Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 04:45:31 AM EST
But they are the bit that everyone remembers as the first lines of the Declaration of Independence.

Wrt the poem, this one doesn't really grate, but it leaves me cold, for the same metapoetry reason as earlier. I wonder if you're trying to wind me up, or have reached a certain level of erudition where every line seems so freighted with meaning and embedded in a literary tradition that bald references of this nature are not easily distinguishable from more subtle relationships; it's all, like, one giant network of nuance and reinterpretation, man.

Which is not to say I don't appreciate it, not so much for itself, but as a representative of a series which promises future poetry. This is also why Poems on the Underground were great.

The Political Science Department of the University of Woolloomooloo

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I'm not big on this one either. by Beechwood 45789 (2.00 / 0) #3 Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 09:25:14 AM EST
I just didn't see any other obits/tributes/whatevers for poet/sci-fi writer Disch, so I though I'd post one of his poems to mark his passing. It's a sentimental choice. And easier than posting all of the The Genocides.

[ Parent ]
I didn't realise he had died by Scrymarch (2.00 / 0) #4 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 04:13:44 AM EST
Rest in Peace.

The Political Science Department of the University of Woolloomooloo

[ Parent ]
Because I don't know the circumstances of by garlic (2.00 / 0) #5 Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 04:24:36 AM EST
their deaths, I'm imagining that this is a jealous poet, wishing the death of all of his more well renowned rivals.


No quite. by Beechwood 45789 (2.00 / 0) #6 Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 09:49:03 AM EST
All the people listed were already dead when Disch wrote the poem. Curiously, most of the listing are incorrect. I think only the description of Byron's death is accurate. He did die of a fever at Missolonghi during his service in the Greek War of Independence.

[ Parent ]
Poem of the Day: "The Art of Dying" by Tom Disch | 6 comments (6 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback