Monday, July 9, 2007

New England Poet Philip Booth Dies at 81

The Bangor, Maine, newspaper has an obituary at this link:

The New York Times obituary author Roja D writes of Booth:

"The sense of privacy that made poetry lovers appreciate Mr. Booth’s work ultimately cost him fame. He spent hours upon hours writing and revising in his room, Ms. Booth said, drawing material from deeper and deeper within his emotional landscape. He rarely traveled on book tours or did readings for large groups."
The rest of the article is at this link:

Philip Booth scoured his landscape to find the details that turned him inward, and I remember a good afternoon with his book Relations, 20 years ago. Here is an example of his inward-outward swinging gaze, with images that reverberate:

Post-Equinox Spectra
by Philip Booth

Still weeks to ice-out
in upcountry lakes. Here
on the coast, salt-ice

gets lifted off coves
by gales and steep wave-
lengths. Tides flow hard

between the mainland
and islands. Out in
the Thorofare, two fish-

boats, blurred in thin rain,
march back and forth like
small boys' small toys.

Off Stump Cove, a red boat
and yellow boat slowly
wallow, dragging the bottom

for scallops. Across
old tides, Deer Isle and
Little Deer loom tall as

spruce, dark as deer in
their winter coats. At
the end of whatever day

this still is, a sky
like pleated gray silk
begins to glint withthin

gold caught behind it:
this last day of March
or April Fools' first.

Copyright Philip Booth
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