Poems for Company – January 22nd, 2024

“Imagining Our Parents Before We Were Born”: What do you know about the life of either of your parents before you were born?  The three contemporary poems featured on this episode suggest the poets knew just a few facts, perhaps derived from family lore.  Then they speculated or fabricated the rest to achieve some coherent understanding of who their parents were before they became parents.  The poems are read in this order: Philip Levine, “The Mercy,” from The Mercy: Poems (Knopf, 2000).  Evan Boland, “The Black Lace Fan My Mother Gave Me,” from Outside History: Selected Poems 1980-1990 (W. W. Norton and Company, 1991).  Sharon Olds, “I Go Back To May 1937,” from Strike Sparks: Selected Poems 1980-2002 (Knopf, 2004), read with kind permission of the author.  The show’s theme music is Philip Aaberg’s “Going-to-the-Sun,” from his CD Live from Montana (available at Sweetgrassmusic.com) and used with kind permission of Philip Aaberg.