December 5th, 2005

Egrets Reading

Amelia Earhart - poet?

Ever so often I learn something that really surprises me. I picked up a book of poetry about a week or so ago called On the Wing: American Poems of Air and Space, edited by Karen Yelena Olsen, published by Iowa University Press.

Today, I started reading some of the poems and was surprised to see a poem by Amelia Earhart included. When I think of Earhart, I think of missing planes and islands near Japan, not poetry. Olsen, after putting a sort of hidden warning in her introduction, "Literary merit has been the first criterion for selection, with only occasional exceptions made for a more ephemeral poem whose author or context gives it special interest," included a poem by Earhart called Courage. Frankly, I'm more impressed with Earhart the aviatrix than with Earhart the poet, but it's an interesting poem to include within the context of a collection of "American Poems of Air and Space".

The book also has poems by Billie Collins, Rita Dove, Wallace Stevens, William Carlos Williams, Ted Kooser, Howard Nemerov and many others. It is divided into six sections, "Impulse of Delight", "Worlds Above, Below, Within", "Airplane Visions, Airport Truths", "Angle of Attack", "Icarus Falling", and "Space Odysseys".

Guess which section I turned to first?