Poetry News

Jean Toomer is stuck in Rachel Kaadzi Gansah's head

By Harriet Staff

The Paris Review continues its delightful "The Poem Stuck in My Head" series with a post from writer Rachel Kaadzi Gansah, who lives in Red Hook, Brooklyn and can look across the East River into Lower Manhattan. "It’s massive and always in motion," she writes. "At night, the buildings and the cars on the FDR look crystalline."

And so she identified with the eerie bustle of Jean Toomer's "Beehive," which begins:

Within this black hive tonight
There swarm a million bees;
Bees passing in and out the moon,
Bees escaping out the moon,
Bees returning through the moon,
Silver bees intently buzzing,
Silver honey dripping from the swarm of bees

"I like that Toomer is also alert to the solitude and melancholy of being merely one among millions," she writes. Read the whole post here.

Originally Published: December 9th, 2011