In this installment, Oliver de la Paz reads “O Solitude!” by John Keats. Paz teaches creative writing at Western Washington University. He is a recipient of a 2005 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship. He has worked with Kundiman as faculty/staff since 2004, and he currently serves on their Advisory Board. Oliver’s poems have appeared in journals such as Quarterly West, Cream City Review, Third Coast, North American Review, and elsewhere. Names Above Houses, a book of his prose and verse, was a winner of the 2000 Crab Orchard Award Series and was published by Southern Illinois University Press in 2001. His second collection of poems, Furious Lullaby, will be published in 2007 by SIU Press.
John Keats, “O Solitude!”
O SOLITUDE! if I must with thee dwell,
Let it not be among the jumbled heap
Of murky buildings; climb with me the steep,—
Nature’s observatory—whence the dell,
Its flowery slopes, its river’s crystal swell,
May seem a span; let me thy vigils keep
’Mongst boughs pavillion’d, where the deer’s swift leap
Startles the wild bee from the fox-glove bell.
But though I’ll gladly trace these scenes with thee,
Yet the sweet converse of an innocent mind,
Whose words are images of thoughts refin’d,
Is my soul’s pleasure; and it sure must be
Almost the highest bliss of human-kind,
When to thy haunts two kindred spirits flee.