“Pain is filtered in the poem so that it becomes finally, in the end, pleasure.” – Mark Strand.
I got my first dose of Strand’s poetry last year in Intro to Creative Writing. Soon after I checked out my campus library’s copy of Dark Harbor. After that I was hooked. I ended up hoarding the campus library’s copy of Dark Harbor and Almost Invisible. This semester I did a report on Mark Strand and his Pulitzer Prize winning Blizzard of One. My teacher is super liberal, so I comfortably made the comment that he was old as balls for a laugh…I know it was wrong. I regret it. But, you see, I wanted to actually email him at the email address on Columbia University faculty website for the sake of perhaps probing that brain or being heartbroken by never receiving a reply, but I will never have the chance to do either. I feel selfish, but I am heartbroken. I wanted to meet him and tell him how much his poetry meant to me. I wanted him to teach me. I wanted to go to Columbia for graduate school with the naive hope he’d still be teaching in 2017 and be taught by him.
I have spent a good deal in the infinitesimal time since I I found out about his death gathering up as many poems from fellow fans on Twitter as I could. I hope to purchase every book. Even the latest Collected Poems with the unfitting cover. I also plan on keeping his words more closer to heart than ever before.
Rest in peace, Mark Strand.