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Sunset Gun

by Dorothy Parker

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This collection contains some of my favorite Parker poems. I recall giving the "Parable for a certain Virgin" to a friend while a graduate student at Yale about 1979. This also contains the "Pig's Eye Views of Literature poems on 19th century writers (British except for the Dumas pere et fils and George Sand). More seriously, The Maid Servant at the Inn is the birth of Christ as seen by a maid --not witty, but nice in a quiet way --I read it for an SIU Christmas dinner once. ( )
  antiquary | Nov 7, 2013 |

Lamenting love lost, dreams broken, the cycle of hope and inevitable disappointment, tears that follow and that vicious inner voice that laughs at you telling you that you should have known better... Cursing yourself because you know you're caught in an endless loop doomed to make the same mistakes again and again, and yet accepting it, because that incurable hope, that things will work out , is the only thing that makes life slightly more bearable, even if it leaves only pain behind.

Hope. Foolish, reckless, thrilling, disappointing hope. That's what most of her poetry is about. But instead of the usual flowery descriptions and romantic idealism, her writing is cynical and full of dry humor and quotable epigrams that insist on making you smile through the pain. Hers and yours.

Dorothy Parker is a must read for anyone who finds poetry boring. But don't take my word for it, here are a couple of my favorites from this book:


Her mind lives in a quiet room,
A narrow room, and tall,
With pretty lamps to quench the gloom
And mottoes on the wall.

There all the things are waxen neat
And set in decorous lines;
And there are posies, round and sweet,
And little, straightened vines.

Her mind lives tidily, apart
From cold and noise and pain,
And bolts the door against her heart,
Out wailing in the rain.
Dorothy Parker

The Red Dress

I always saw, I always said
If I were grown and free,
I'd have a gown of reddest red
As fine as you could see,

To wear out walking, sleek and slow,
Upon a Summer day,
And there'd be one to see me so
And flip the world away.

And he would be a gallant one,
With stars behind his eyes,
And hair like metal in the sun,
And lips too warm for lies.

I always saw us, gay and good,
High honored in the town.
Now I am grown to womanhood....
I have the silly gown.
Dorothy Parker ( )
  Madeehaness | Apr 8, 2013 |
Parker's most well known collection. This has some of her longer poems. It also contains "A Pig's Eye View of Literature", Parker's poems about certain well known authors. ( )
  andersonden | Nov 16, 2008 |
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The day that I was christened -- / It's a hundred years, and more! -- / A hag came and listened / At the white church door.
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