John Ciardi

Today would have been the one hundred and first birthday of John Ciardi. Primarily a poet, and a very good one, he is much better remembered for other things. He wrote the seminal explainer, How Does a Poem Mean? (1961, and no, I am not mis-typing), and he produced what may be the best translation of Dante in the twentieth century (1954-70). Finally, he was one of the original commentators on NPR’s Morning Edition, checking in with periodic “Word Rambles,” etymological discussions on whatever moved him. If you heard him, you would understand the word “stentorian.” His voice certainly was. Those are good things to be remembered for.