Thursday, September 02, 2004

Jean Garrigue (posted on behalf of Sari Biddelman)

Posted on behalf of Sari Biddelman:

"You know those..." are the first words of Jean Garrigue's poem "You Know" in Understanding Poetry. This caught my attention because Garrigue is not asking if "you know" but rather stating that "you" do "know." In this poem, Garrigue discusses how the little things in life are not appreciated until you see them while leaving them. She does this by comparing the little, unappreciated aspects in nature to somebody she has not gotten know to know yet but wishes she had.

"You Know" embodies everything that Garrigue stands for as a poet of her genre. She was born in Evansville, Indiana in 1912, moved to Chicago where she studied, and finally settled down in New England. However, in between studying in Chicago and settling in New England, she traveled extensively throughout Europe, which heavily influenced her poetry. In addition to her travel, World War II affected her writing as well as other poets writing during this time. This period in poetry is known for its more mature and distinguished style and interpretation of life. Garrigue, like many of these poets, were skeptical of current values and morality and saw the world as unsafe. Garrigue was interested by the artistic and romantic qualities of nature and used it to explain larger ideas, such as love. In 1972, she died of Hodgkin’s disease.
Garrigue once said about her work that “Chopin, Keats, and Proust were early, powerful influences. So were mountains and water.” This quote summarizes her major themes in Garrigue’s work.


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