Top Ten: Writers and poets on LOVE

by Mary L. Tabor Mary L. Tabor is the author of the novel Who by Fire, the connected short story collection The Woman Who Never Cooked, which won Mid-List Press’s First Series Award and was published when she was 60. Her short stories have won numerous literary awards. Her memoir (Re)Making Love is a modern real-life love story that has been profiled in Real Simple magazine. She interviews other artists via Rare Bird BlogTalk Radio in her Goodreads Book Club and where she and other authors exchange and discuss books with the members. A born and bred liberal, she writes an occasional column on the arts, love and creativity for The Communities at The Washington Times and here for Facts and Arts. Her experience spans the worlds of journalism, business, education, fiction and memoir writing, landing her in both Marquis Who’s Who in America and Marquis Who’s Who of American Women and she is a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow. She taught creative writing for more than a decade at George Washington University, was a visiting writer and professor at University of Missouri-Columbia in their graduate creative writing program. The Smithsonian’s Campus-on-the-Mall, where she taught for many years, has called her “One of our most prized lecturers on the subjects of “Getting Started as a Writer” and “Starting Late.” She has appeared on the XM Satellite radio book-talk show “This Is Audible” to discuss James Joyce’s Ulysses and Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. 17.02.2014

Valentine’s day has passed—and perhaps you forgot.

Love is forever—so here are some ways to powerfully express your love on an ordinary day—and make someone love you—or, if necessary, forgive you.

Discover writers and poets who can say what needs to be said about love better than we can. That means they inform our understanding of love. That means they are quotable and can make a love letter you write or a marriage proposal you say unforgettable.

Don’t forget to read the footnote*: It could save you time (and money) when you write that love letter or get on bended knee.

10: Ethel Spector Person, Dreams of Love and Fateful Encounters: The Power of Romantic Passion.

Spector is a psychiatrist who believes that men are as susceptible to love as women, that believing in LOVE is not the adult version of believing in Santa Claus, that “love is an act of the imagination,” and that Freud missed love’s importance because he could not give it its due. The reason:  His need to legitimize psychoanalysis as “objective” science. Read Ethel Spector Person to figure yourself out.

9. Dorothy Parker, poet: Irony was her specialty along with broken love affairs. Her insights are unforgettable but probably won’t help with seduction. Oh, you never know: If you’re big on irony, you may want a partner who gets you.

8. T.S. Eliot, poet: Not usually thought of as a love poet, but his love of Christ is undeniable in The Four Quartets. Religious and literary folk will find wisdom on life and love here. His unhappy marriage may have something to do with the lack of passionate poetry. But Tennessee Williams, a great lover, did lift from him for Streetcar Named Desire. Hard to argue with Tennessee.

7. Wallace Stevens, poet: Strikes me as a bit of a rationalist  on the subject of love. Another unhappy marriage to consider here. It’s hard to argue with his poem “Re-Statement of Romance.” My daughter and son-in-law quoted the poem in their wedding program. My favorite for reasons that only the footnote, and my five-part essay here on FactsandArts can explain is “The Planet on the Table.”

6. Elizabeth Bishop, poet: Nothing need be said but this: Read “One Art.” The poem was quoted by Cameron Diaz in the chick flick In Her Shoes. Great flick, by the way. 

5. Dana Gioia, poet: Not nearly well-known enough. Read Interrogations at Noon. The poem “Voyeur” blew me away.

4. Robert Hass, poet: Former U.S. Poet Laureate. My favorite of his books is Human Wishes. My beloved poem in that book is “Privilege of Being.” 

3. E.E. Cummings, poet: Here’s the stuff for love letters. Don’t miss “since feeling is first” and many others.

2. W.H. Auden, poet: Nobody can beat him but one, and that may be arguable as Auden is the better poet than my number one. “Lullaby” is a love poem that even Dorothy Parker might have liked. “Funeral Blues” from his “Twelve Songs” was quoted in the romantic comedy, or rom-com as I like to call these flicks, Four Weddings and a Funeral. When poets invade pop culture, you gotta pay attention. 

#1. D.H. Lawrence, poet: You know him better as the novelist who wrote Lady Chatterly’s Lover, not his best book. Discover his love poems, most written for his lover and wife Frieda Lawrence. Read and quote “Kisses in the Train.” You will seduce the one you love with that poem.


*Footnote: Want a short cut to the writers and poets? I quote all of them, with the costly permissions required, in my memoir (Re)Making Love.

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