Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Hurricanes and Poets, Or This Date in History

Thirty-six years ago today Hurricane Camille hit the Mississippi Gulf Coast. This was a particularly nasty hurricane. I used to hear about it growing up, although my family lived nowhere near the coast. Not that that mattered, as Camille caused damage clear up to Tennessee. An interesting afternote is that in the late '90s when another hurricane (Georges?) was supposed to hit the same area, people left the coast in droves. No nonsense about "riding it out" or not wanting to evacuate. They just left. A friend said she heard a national news reporter express surprise at how quickly and orderly everyone had complied with the suggestion they move inland. "Hah, those people still remember Camille." They knew--from experience--you just can't reason with hurricane season.

Today is also the 75th anniversary of Ted Hughes' birth. I have read almost nothing by him this past five years, but he used to mean a great deal to me and I was saddened by his death in '98. When I do read more of him in the future, I am curious how my Catholicism will affect my reading of him; I was a pagan when I used to read him, and that inevitably affected my taste for a poet who equated the poet's role with that of a shaman and who had a taste for astrology, magick, and myths. There's nothing wrong with the mythic imagination, but as occultism is forbidden to me now I've adopted the Christianity that doesn't come off looking so good in his poems, reading his work may feel different to me. But there's always his great love of nature running through his work, so I'm sure I'll still find pleasure there.

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