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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

August 25, 2015: More Poems I Love: Piatt’s “Pique”



[A few years back, I shared a handful of my favorite American poems in a weeklong series. Before I go back to sharing poems for money—well, teaching them as part of my job, but you get the idea—I wanted to highlight another week’s worth of favorite poems and a couple reasons why I love each. Share your favorites in comments, please!]
Today’s favorite poem is Sarah Piatt’s “A Pique at Parting” (1879).
I love “Pique” because it exemplifies Piatt’s dialogic style and perspective, her use of conversation (even when ostensibly within one speaker’s point of view, as is “Pique”) to build a sense of how our identities and voices exist in relationship to those of others. I love it because it challenges gender ideals and myths without becoming the slightest bit preachy or pedantic. And I love it because it’s as smart and funny as Piatt’s contemporary writer Fanny Fern, without losing a bit of the poetic complexity that made Piatt a worthy rival of her fellow contemporary Emily Dickinson.
Next favorite tomorrow,
Ben
PS. Thoughts on this poem? Other favorites you’d share?

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