In this installment, Ravi Shankar reads "When I have fears that I may cease to be" by John Keats. Shankar is poet-in-residence at Central Connecticut State University. His first book of poems, Instrumentality, was published in 2004 by Word Press. His work has previously appeared or is forthcoming in such places as The Paris Review, Poets & Writers, Time Out New York, Gulf Coast, The Massachusetts Review, Descant, LIT, Crowd, The Cortland Review, Catamaran, The Indiana Review, Western Humanities Review, The Iowa Review, and The AWP Writer's Chronicle, among other publications. He has been a commentator on NPR, Wesleyan Radio, and KKUP's Out of Our Minds. He has read at such venues as The National Arts Club, Columbia University, KGB, and the Cornelia Street Café, has held residencies from the MacDowell Colony, Ragdale, and the Atlantic Center for the Arts, reviews poetry for the Contemporary Poetry Review and recently edited, with Tina Chang and Nathalie Handal, Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia, and Beyond (W.W. Norton 2009).
John Keats, "When I have fears that I may cease to be"
WHEN I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has glean’d my teeming brain,
Before high piled books, in charact’ry,
Hold like rich garners the full-ripen’d grain;
When I behold, upon the night’s starr’d face,
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And think that I may never live to trace
Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour!
That I shall never look upon thee more,
Never have relish in the faery power
Of unreflecting love!—then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till Love and Fame to nothingness do sink.