Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

31 Oct 2001, 12:57 p.m.

Yesterday, as I walked home in the dark at 5:45pm…

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2001 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

Yesterday, as I walked home in the dark at 5:45pm or so in the pitch-black night interrupted by soft haloes of streetlights and harsh beams of auto headlights-- the time change still disorients me -- I stopped for a few minutes by Pegasus Bookstore at Durant and Shattuck. Some employee posts poems in the window, and the selection changed a few weeks ago. Last night I read Lewis Carroll's "Jabberwocky" for the first time, I think. I also read a poem entitled "Try to Praise the Mutilated World" by Adam Zagajewski, translated from the Polish by Clare Cavanagh.

When I searched for the text and author of the poem just now, I found that many people have cited it as an appropriate poem to read and think about in the wake of recent terrorist attacks, and that the New Yorker published it in its Sept. 24th issue. I liked it too.

One reason that I really enjoyed "Try to Praise the Mutilated World" is that I thought the imagery struck the right balance between vivid, evocative language and personal interpretability. I like poems that I can closely read to see more. Example: "leaves eddied over the earth's scars."

It's been a while since I read poetry that didn't disgust me. It was uplifting.