Agatha Christie’s Poems  (1973)

Agatha Christie’s Poems (1973)

Casual readers usually neglect Christie’s poems, but her inner life is there and not Marple’s or Poirot’s. “Picnic 1960” suggests Christie never lost her sense of her good life. In the final poem of the volume, Christie makes the case...

Billy Collin’s “Picnic Lightning” (1997)

Billy Collins’ “Picnic Lightning” is a tender meditation on the poet’s mortality. It’s always imminent, like lightning at a picnic, but not fearful. Aware that the phrase “picnic lightning” is from Nabokov’s Lolita,...
Charles Simic’s “Night Picnic” (2001)

Charles Simic’s “Night Picnic” (2001)

Simic’s “Night Picnic” takes place on the grass on a very dark looking at the vast starless sky.  The narrator finds it slightly ironic that in such a situation, he and his companion should be drinking red wine and nibbling a crust. Wine and bread suggest communion,...
Charles Coe’s Picnic on the Moon (1999)

Charles Coe’s Picnic on the Moon (1999)

Charles Coe’s poem “Picnic on the Moon,” Picnic on the Moon (1999), is not sci-fi. It’s a critique of human violence and enmity on Earth set against the Moon’s tranquility and quiet. The Moon sounds like the perfect picnic spot- a great place to bask...
Lady Elizabeth Craven’s “What is a Pic Nic?” (1803?)

Lady Elizabeth Craven’s “What is a Pic Nic?” (1803?)

From 1780-1820, “Dilettanti” or amateur theater aficionados organized theater groups. Among the most passionate, Louise Craven, Margravine of Ansbach, who wrote plays, produced and acted in them, persuaded her doting husband the Margrave of Ansbach to build her a...
Katherine Mansfield’s “A Pic-Nic” (1919)

Katherine Mansfield’s “A Pic-Nic” (1919)

Mansfield was in Bandol, a sea resort in the south of France, where she hoped to regain health and equanimity. However, her time there was unhappy, exemplified by “Pic-Nic,” a  poem hinting that her state of mind was no picnic. Perhaps because it was too dark, she...
John Betjeman’s Picnic Poems

John Betjeman’s Picnic Poems

Betjeman’s picnics are usually associated with the nostalgia of his youth. The earliest picnic appears in Cornwall (1934), a series of The Shell County Guides that he and John Beddington conceptualized. A photograph of boys at a picnic  (perhaps Betjeman among them )...
Romare Bearden’s Khayam and the Black Girl (1971)

Romare Bearden’s Khayam and the Black Girl (1971)

For his take on “Quatrain XI” of The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, Bearden transports Omar Khayyám Old World Persia to New World Tropics f. Though the poem suggests sensuality, Bearden presents the poet clothed but the woman naked, except for a body sash and a head...

Auden’s “Thunder at a Picnic” (1965c.)

When Auden was twenty-four and just starting as a poet, he placed himself on the lower slope of Mount Parnassus, sacred to Apollo and the Muses of the arts, where he might find his place at a  “picnic on the lower slopes” with minor poets.  Thirty-plus years later,...