Madeleine L’Engle and the Poetry of Us

Here’s my second installment in the L’Engle Essay. Drop by and tell us what you love about Madeleine L’Engle.

Eclectic Orthodoxy

by Alana Roberts

Madeleine L’Engle as a poet doesn’t muddle herself into blah, kneel to politics, or contemplate evil. Yet she will never be considered by such as Harold Bloom to be a first-rate or canonical poet. For one thing, her poetry is flawed. It has virtues, but flaws as well. Not all her word choices are the inevitable choices. In fact, she once began a line with the term, “Aaaaaaargh!” (Perhaps there was an ‘a’ or two more; please don’t make me count!)

These flaws are probably present because, when it came to writing poetry, L’Engle’s method of composition was, scandalously, the irreverent one-off, as she tells her reader in a 1996 Mars Hill Review interview:

ML: Poetry is very different. I’ve written very little poetry since my husband died. Last summer I was traveling in Ireland and Scotland, and I wrote twelve sonnets. They just flowed out…

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