Poet's Pick April 11
James Joyce: "Though I Thy Mithridates Were"
Selected by Bob Hicok
National Poetry Month 2017

Letter from the Editors

Dear Readers,

Our thanks to Bob Hicok for today's Poet's Pick!

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Don Selby & Diane Boller

Bob Hicok's Poetry Month Pick, April 11, 2017

"Though I Thy Mithridates Were"
by James Joyce (1882-1941)

Though I thy Mithridates were,
    Framed to defy the poison-dart,
Yet must thou fold me unaware
    To know the rapture of thy heart,
And I but render and confess
The malice of thy tenderness.

For elegant and antique phrase,
    Dearest, my lips wax all too wise;
Nor have I known a love whose praise
    Our piping poets solemnize,
Neither a love where may not be
Ever so little falsity. 


* Bob Hicok Comments:
There aren't enough poison darts in contemporary poetry. Also names like Mithridates are in short supply. I fell in love with the title of this poem. It's a good thing to say to the various folks who come to your door selling God or magazines. The sound of this poem, more than allusions to a Persian king, makes me hunt up my Norton a couple times each year and reread it. It seems more like eating than reading, a poem to be tasted, a diversion for the tongue. The other virtue of this poem is, after reading it you can honestly say, yes, I've read Joyce.

Bob Hicok:
Bob Hicok's most recent book is Sex & Love & (Copper Canyon, 2016). Hold will be published by Copper Canyon in 2018.

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