Thursday, January 23, 2014

Review of "Marriage: A Daybook" by Nicole Cooley

"Marriage: A Daybook" by Nicole Cooley was offered by Poets.org's Poem-A-Day on January 23, 2014.  A link to the poem, including the poet's notes, may be found here:  http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/23843.

Nicole Cooley, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing at Queens College--City University of New York, and is the Director of the M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing and Literary Translation there.  She has published three highly acclaimed books of poetry, most recently Breach in 2009, a collection of poems about Hurricane Katrina.  Additional biographical information may be found here:

http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/171?utm_source=PAD%3A+Marriage%3A+A+Daybook+by+Nicole+Cooley&utm_campaign=poemaday_012314&utm_medium=email

The poem is divided into three parts.  The second part is only one sentence--a quote from Catullus and a short comment upon it.  This is probably a reference to Gaius Valerius Catullus (85 BCE - 54 BCE) (pictured), a Latin poet of the late Roman Republic.  Catullus was one of the neoteric or "new" poets who rejected the epic poetry style of his contemporaries in favor of a shorter, lyrical, colloquial, more personal style.  Of the 161 of his poems that are extant, twenty-five are bawdy pieces concerning a woman named Lesbia and her infidelity.

Catullus had a strong impact on other poets, including, apparently, Dr. Cooley.  His influence may be recognized in the works of Horace, Ovid, Milton, and Wordsworth.  Additional biographical information about Catullus may be found here:  http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/606.

The first part of "Marriage" reminds me of an old saying about romance and marriage:  "It begins when you sink into his arms, and ends with your arms in the sink."  The final part probably alludes to Hurricane Katrina.

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