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...
Charles Bukowski’s “Some Picnic ” (1979)

Charles Bukowski’s “Some Picnic ” (1979)

Charles Bukowski’s “Some Picnic ” is mean-spirited –what a picnic ought not to be. I rank it among the most unpleasant and psychologically cruel. When Bukowski says he, his girlfriend Jane, and his parents picnicked and “made a...
Virgil’s Aeneid (19/29 BCE)

Virgil’s Aeneid (19/29 BCE)

Virgil’s Aeneid tells the story that when Aeneas and his troop landed in Latium, they were so hungry they ate the thick slices of stale bread that served as trenchers. According to prophecy, this meant they had reached the place to build a new Troy. Though this first...