“Poet’s Room” (Of One’s Own)


Poet’s Room

There’s a certain slant of light
in the room where the women
come and go
talking of Michelangelo.

The walls, I’m pretty sure,
are of clay and wattles made
(though the wattles
don’t show much from this angle), and

in the icebox,
there are plums
(which you are probably saving
for breakfast.)

It houses such stuff
as dreams are made of (along with the plums), and
about as much reality
as humankind can bear.

it is somewhere
i have never traveled, despite
repeated tries, but i make myself believe,
as I walk out one evening,
I will find it==

perhaps not until the dews
grow quivering
and chill–
perhaps not until winter itself
is icumen’ in–I don’t care–
as long as there’s still
a certain slant of light,
to write by.


The above is my “found” homage of sorts to Virginia Woolf, Emily Dickinson, T.S. Eliot, William Carlos Williams, Shakespeare,  more Eliot, e.e. cummings, W.H. Auden, more Dickinson, and Ezra Pound.  In other words, I’ve stolen a bunch of really terrific lines from all these great poets!  (In exchange for my everlasting love.)

The poem responds to  the pictorial prompt posted by Tess Kincaid of  Magpie Tales, the Andrew Wyeth painting, slightly modified above, “Big Room.”  (I’m not sure the room in my mind actually looks too much like this one.)

I am also linking the poem to dVerse Poets Pub’s Open Link Night. 

Check out Magpie Tales and dVerse for wonderful poetry and while you are at it, check out my books!   Poetry, GOING ON SOMEWHERE, (by Karin Gustafson, illustrated by Diana Barco). 1 Mississippi -counting book for lovers of rivers, light and pachyderms, or Nose Dive, a very fun novel that is perfect for a pool or beachside escape.  Nose Dive is available on Kindle for just 99 cents!

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59 Comments on ““Poet’s Room” (Of One’s Own)”

  1. Mama Zen Says:

    I love the way you did this!

  2. hedgewitch Says:

    Some of my favorite lines, Karin. I thought I spotted cummings in there. Nicely woven with a feeling of both appreciation and the longing to sit in that room and just listen listen, maybe to hear some of your own lines float out someday.

  3. ds Says:

    Ha ha! LOVE this. I missed cummings, but found Yeats. And yes, many are among my favorite lines. Sometimes they speak louder than any others. Thank you.

  4. Claudia Says:

    it is somewhere
    i have never traveled, despite
    repeated tries, but i make myself believe,
    as I walk out one evening,
    I will find it== …. very cool k. – the poets’s room…literally and mentally…oh and we can travel far even beyond those..i like much

  5. Tess Kincaid Says:

    This is brilliant…I love all the wonderful nods here…my favorite being the WCW plums…

  6. […] Poet’s Room There’s a certain slant of light in the room where the women come and go talking of Michelangelo. The walls, I’m pretty sure, are of clay and wattles made (though the wattles don’t show…  […]

  7. […] on manicddaily.wordpress.com Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like […]

  8. This is so clever, Karin. As I read, I kept thinking “I ‘ve seen this before, it must be a re-post.” But just couldn’t quite sort it out. So glad you added a process not or I’d be worrying about my mental status.

  9. tashtoo Says:

    Outstanding, Karin! I’m sharing this with the office before calling it a day…Love it!

  10. Karin–very well crafted!

  11. Steve King Says:

    What great taste and erudition shows through on the page…I love what you’ve done in partnership with most of my favorite poets.

  12. What a totally unique slant on the prompt pic. Very clever to use fav lines from all of the fav poets too. Loved the addition of the fridge in the room…lol Really enjoyed this

  13. snakypoet Says:

    Oh, I love it, I love it, I love it! So delightful to recognise all my old friends here — and to see their lines put together in a way that’s new and fresh.

  14. suej Says:

    Oh, I love it! And didn’t need your roll call at the bottom to see where most of the lines were coming from…brilliantly done, great fun..

  15. Loved, loved, loved this! Did I say I loved this yet?

  16. I thought I spied TS Eliot in there, but I could be wrong.

    Either way, it’s a fantastic read.

  17. Pat Hatt Says:

    This was great, many a room we can find well known by my little rhyming behind haha

  18. brian miller Says:

    i think you have your place in the poets rooms k….smiles….def an interesting take on the pic….somedays it is elusive you know….i hope that your trip is going ok…i know at times hard….

  19. What a wonderful surprise is this. Clever clever clever. It doesn’t hurt that you’ve used my favorite Eliot poem, (Love Song)

  20. I love the reference to William Carlos Williams’ plums!

  21. kkkkaty Says:

    Do I sense a flavor of Midnight in Paris crossed with the Algonquin Round Table..or is it just me, the picture or am I way off base?

  22. hobgoblin2011 Says:

    Outstanding. Great tone/voice/flow. Love the (along with the plums) such a nice touch. And the play on the classic line Sumer is Icumen in, applied to winter, was really creative. Great read. Thanks

  23. David King Says:

    I think you just did find it. I think you’ve introduced us to it. A real triumph, this, on several levels.

  24. I love that you called this the poet’s room- yours, theirs and now ours. What a clever way to put the lines together so we can hear them from a different slant.

  25. ashsharma Says:

    Your words are more revealing than the picture, beautifully presented 🙂

  26. A feast of great lines, woven together masterfully, found art of the highest order!

  27. sonny Says:

    a true poets room ! delightfully woven together….:))
    loved the last line…as long as there’s enough light to write….

  28. beckykilsby Says:

    Love the resonance of those ‘found’ lines in a fresh and surprising context.. this really works as a way of examining context! Nice 🙂

  29. Helen Says:

    You have found your poet’s room ~~ love this unique interpretation of Wyeth’s work.

  30. PJF Sayers Says:

    Karin, this is a beautifully crafted “found poem”, not an easy feat. It flows with such ease.


  31. Jessica Says:

    I love the fourth stanza. It describes the dream like quality of the poetic spirit, and it reminds us that art has deep roots in the very real human experience.

  32. I think I caught them all..favorite lines from favorite poems – quel homage!

  33. I guess properly it should be “quel hommage”

  34. wolfsrosebud Says:

    loved the picture here and the slant of light… moon light maybe

  35. janehewey Says:

    a beautiful tapestry! filled with voice(s) and light. it is very clear what is important in this room.

  36. Ahh, this is lovely, borrowed or not! It was you that chose the lines and put together the stanzas to make this piece sing! Well done!

  37. Margaret Says:

    “they” do blend nicely! I really liked “a certain slant of light,
    enough to write by.”… which one wrote that?

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      That’s Emily Dickinson, only she uses it in a somewhat negative way – as a rather oppressive kind of light. k.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Actually, Margaret, just looked again at your comment. The certain slant of light is Emily Dickinson– the poem goes something “there’s a certain slant of light/ winter afternoons that oppresses like the heft of cathedral tunes.” (I’m sorry doing from memory and don’t know line breaks.). The light to write by was my own addition. (ha!). K.

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