Mar 3, 2011
Given Kay Ryan's coined word "Blandeur" as a title, I strongly suspect that she has in mind Gerard Manley Hopkins' famous sonnet, "God's Grandeur."
God's Grandeur by Gerard Manley Hopkins : The Poetry Foundation [poem] : Find Poems and Poets. Discover Poetry.
For comparison, here again is Ryan's "Blandeur" from yesterday:
Blandeur by Kay Ryan : The Poetry Foundation [poem] : Find Poems and Poets. Discover Poetry.
Ryan seems to say such gifts can be as exhausting as they are stunning, so she playfully asks the deity to tone it down, to inflict upon her a little less drama and splendor in the world. It's too much.
I'm not pushing any religiosity in the two poems, but I have to acknowledge that it's there, albeit in very different ways. Maybe those differences reflect the century of change in sentient witnesses' attitudes upon encountering the divine, or at least the omnipotent. In fact, I wonder if Ryan is speaking somewhat tongue-in-cheek, poking fun at modernism's reluctance or inability to accept such displays as manifestations of the divine, while Hopkins is all too happy to say, Bring it on, Lord, and praise be.
The poems provide an awfully good basis for comparison, yet I'm embarrassed to say I didn't even catch the connection between them until after I'd posted "Blandeur" yesterday.