Bacon on the Bookshelf

Savory picks for the free range reader

January 7, 2023
by jenniferpuryear

Billy Collins: Tiny Melodies

  Billy Collins’ newest collection, “Musical Tables,” sings tiny melodies with perfect pitch. “Small poems are drastic examples of poetry’s way of squeezing large content into tight spaces,” Collins writes in the afterward. “The small poem is a flash, a gesture, a gambit without the game that follows. There’s no room for landscape here, or easeful reflection, but there is the opportunity for humor and …

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December 17, 2022
by jenniferpuryear

When the Sun is Just Right in December

When the sun is just right in December and you’re walking around the block in your old neighborhood (where you grew up) you’ll see boxes that give wings to words, woodland animals visiting for a season (or longer) and magical beasts considering flight to parts unknown. You may see things that are lost not quite right  or deeply unsettling. When the sun is just right in …

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October 15, 2022
by jenniferpuryear

All Gem and Temper, Anchored in Air

An October visitor has lately surprised me, sipping sage in the garden as the maples and oaks and hackberries and dogwoods show red and yellow and gold…  Each day I wonder: is this our last together? And think: perhaps that is the not the right question. It seems a good day for this poem by English poet Mark Roper… Hummingbird Not just how it hung …

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October 8, 2022
by jenniferpuryear

Song for Autumn

Nearly a month without rain in Nashville, the trees in their autumn glory look thirsty. My pups stir up a small dust storm each time they go out, pups and dust both finding their way back into the house. The salvia and pincushion flowers smile smugly, content with any state of affairs it seems. It seems a good day for a Mary Oliver poem… Song for …

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September 24, 2022
by jenniferpuryear

Meow

It’s hard when you do the right thing and end up in the wrong place. My friend Mary Raymond stops in at Bacon today with a funny and heartfelt essay on how she got herself into a tricky situation, and how we might help… From Mary Raymond: At this point, I blame the zucchini. It was the Saturday after the 4th of July, closing in …

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September 17, 2022
by jenniferpuryear

Farewell to the Queen

Pied Beauty by Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889) Glory be to God for dappled things –    For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;       For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim; Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;    Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough;       And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim. All things counter, original, spare, strange;    Whatever is fickle, freckled (who …

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September 3, 2022
by jenniferpuryear

The Blessing of the Old Woman, The Tulip, and The Dog

by Alicia Ostriker To be blessed said the old woman is to live and work so hard God’s love washes right through you like milk through a cow To be blessed said the dark red tulip is to knock their eyes out with the sun of lust implied by your up-ended skirt To be blessed said the dog is to have a pinch of God …

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August 13, 2022
by jenniferpuryear

On Awakening

“It was a couple of springs ago. I was driving into New York City from New Jersey on one of those crowded, fast-moving turnpikes you enter it by,” writes Frederick Buechner. “It was very warm. There was brilliant sunshine, and the cars glittered in it as they went tearing by. The sky was cloudless and blue. Around Newark a huge silver plane traveling in the …

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August 6, 2022
by jenniferpuryear

The Art of Losing Isn’t Hard to Master

This Sunday finds me in Atlanta helping a daughter move into a new apartment. Unpacking yesterday, she couldn’t find an Important pair of black jeans. Her favorite pair. It’s kind of a disaster! (They’ll turn up, of course; surely they will.) Her loss – and some of my own – brought to mind this half-remembered poem by Elizabeth Bishop… One Art by Elizabeth Bishop The …

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