I was on vacation in Pennsylvania last month helping my parents clean out stuff. I found a bunch of books I loved as a kid and this stack of poetry-related cards, Poet’s Corner Knowledge Cards published by Pomegranate Publications. And you know I love conspicuous poetry products!
“It’s time. Old Captain, lift anchor, sink!
The land rots; we shall sail into the night;
if now the sky and sea are black as ink
our hearts, as you must know, are filled with light.
Only when we drink poison are we well—
we want, this fire so burns our brain tissues,
to drown in the abyss—heaven or hell,
who cares? Through the unknown,
we’ll find the new.”
The back of card shows the source of the quote, which is “The Voyage” from 1957, translated by Robert Lowell, followed by the name of the poet, Charles Baudelaire with his birth and death year and a thickly justified paragraph called a Life Sketch, which compares the ever expanding Les Fleurs du Mal with Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. But rather than poems of rejoice, Baudelaire's were poems of revulsion with life. The card also notes how Baudelaire is a great French literary figure who has served as a mentor to many modern poets.
So conceivably, you could learn about a new poet each day for 48 days. I'll go through the cards every few weeks here and we'll keep track of the demos.
Week one: White French Male, 1821-1867
Pomegranate Press has lots of cards for sale including some esoteric decks like Famous Animals and another called Canadian Literature and even a deck of One Letter Words (which could be useful for something I suppose): http://www.pomegranate.com/knowledgecards.html.
However, the poetry deck only seems to be available now on Amazon.