Review: Observations by Marianne Moore

Observations by Marianne Moore is a book of poetry I picked up at Powell’s in Portland. It is also, I’m realizing, one of two books of poetry I read this year. Gotta beef those numbers up next year, I love poetry. A rare thing for english majors I’ve found, but that’s a conversation for another day.

I had never heard of Marianne Moore before spotting this book and picking it up on a whim. I don’t know how that’s possible due to the fact that according to the Amazon blurb and some quick research, “Marianne Moore’s Observations stands with T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, Ezra Pound’s early Cantos, and Wallace Stevens’s Harmonium as a landmark of modern poetry.” I have read The Waste Land and at least heard of Cantos (sorry Stevens, this is the first I’m hearing of you) so hearing this author I had never even heard in passing or read mentioned in a journal article was shocking.

Reviewing poetry is hard for me because I feel that poetry, maybe even more so than other forms of literature, are so personal and open to interpretation. I enjoyed reading it and there were parts that hit me and made me think, the way good poetry does. I was the poetry editor in my university’s short lived arts and lit journal but I’ve never been good at assessing what is Good Poetry. All I can really offer is her work made me feel things and it was an enjoyable read, even if I didn’t connect with all that was written, I connected with enough to be interested in reading more.

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