I attended the Mount Holyoke Wikipedia edit-a-thon this afternoon in case my expertise as a Wikipedia editor might be needed; in the event, it wasn’t, so I spent the time chatting with occasional LH commenter Сара (aka Sarah) about the good old days at Sterling and exploring the shelves of the library’s poetry room, where the meeting was held. I found all sorts of gorgeous books, including the four-volume Collected Poems of Larry Eigner with his typewritten pages lovingly reproduced, but what excited me most was discovering poets I had heard of but didn’t really know, like Gjertrud Schnackenberg (I was brought up short by the first line, “You burned the structure of your intellect,” of a poem she wrote when she was still an undergraduate at Mount Holyoke; Google Video tells me, by the way, that the G- of Gjertrud is silent [and it’s pronounced YAIR-trood]), and poets completely unknown to me whom I now want to investigate further, like André Frénaud—so little known in the English-speaking world he doesn’t have an English Wikipedia article—whose “Incertitude des rus et rivières” (the name is wonderful all by itself: ru, from Latin rivus, is ‘stream, rivulet’), from his Nul ne s’égare, précédé de Hæres, begins:
Le Vau ou la Vau, une autre, ou le même,
qui se fond dans l’Oze, et l’Oze on dirait,
—ou si c’était l’Oise, ou c’est l’Ozerain—
—how could I resist a poem that plays with confusion of gender and toponyms?
Also, I thought I’d found the greatest name ever when I saw a book by the Belarusan poet Valzhyna Mort, but Wikipedia tells me she was born Valhyna Martynava, so presumably she chose her Addams Family–like moniker herself.