Florencia's Reviews > Sunset Gun: Poems

Sunset Gun by Dorothy Parker
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
21575078
's review

really liked it
bookshelves: poetry, parkerism

Interior
Her mind lives in a quiet room,
A narrow room, and tall,
With pretty lamps to quench the gloom
And mottoes on the wall.

There all the things are waxen neat
And set in decorous lines;
And there are posies, round and sweet,
And little, straightened vines.

Her mind lives tidily, apart
From cold and noise and pain,
And bolts the door against her heart,
Out wailing in the rain.

Poet, writer, critic and mostly sharp. That's Dorothy Parker (1893-1967). This is the first time I read her poetry and I'm completely fascinated. How could you not after reading the first lines of "Coda"? There's little in taking or giving, / There's little in water or wine; / This living, this living, this living / Was never a project of mine.
The title of this collection is so fitting, for these poems are stunning as a sunset and lethal as a gun - though poems like "Frustration" makes me think she just wants a gun to use at sunset. But for now it's probably best to keep a more poetic approach.
The Homebody
There still are kindly things for me to know,
Who am afraid to dream, afraid to feel-
This little chair of scrubbed and sturdy deal,
This easy book, this fire, sedate and slow.
And I shall stay with them, nor cry the woe
Of wounds across my breast that do not heal;
Nor wish that Beauty drew a duller steel,
Since I am sworn to meet her as a foe.

It may be, when the devil's own time is done,
That I shall hear the dropping of the rain
At midnight, and lie quiet in my bed;
Or stretch and straighten to the yellow sun;
Or face the turning tree, and have no pain;
So shall I learn at last my heart is dead.

Verses about love found and naturally lost, people as passengers coming and going, the role of a woman in a limited world; ambivalence and indecision that comfort us so on the road to nowhere - they all brim with Parker's compassionate ways and caustic wit. A sense of humor which delights the random listener, may wound the receiver and becomes a tragicomic anecdote with the passage of time. Sometimes, a lot of time.
Surprise
My heart went fluttering with fear
Lest you should go, and leave me here
To beat my breast and rock my head
And stretch me sleepless on my bed.
Ah, clear they see and true they say
That one shall weep, and one shall stray
For such is Love's unvarying law...
I never thought, I never saw
That I should be the first to go;
How pleasant that it happened so!

Then you see, under the sun and moon
It all comes down to one afternoon.


May 13, 19
* Later on my blog.
49 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Sunset Gun.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

May 12, 2019 – Started Reading
May 12, 2019 – Shelved
May 12, 2019 –
page 26
34.67% "And if my heart be scarred and burned,
The safer, I, for all I learned;
The calmer, I, to see it true
That ways of love are never new—"
May 13, 2019 –
page 42
56.0% "My answers are inadequate
To those demanding day and date
And ever set a tiny shock
Through strangers asking what's o'clock;
Whose days are spent in whittling rhyme-
What's time to her, or she to Time?"
May 13, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-23 of 23 (23 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by B. P. (new)

B. P. Rinehart I need to read more of her work. I have The Portable Dorothy Parker sitting on my bookcase too.


Florencia B. P. wrote: "I need to read more of her work. I have The Portable Dorothy Parker sitting on my bookcase too."

I also have that one, can't wait to read it. I still don’t know much about her prose, but her poetry is mesmerizing. Great to increase vocabulary, btw. Remember when we discussed Spanish lessons? I’m in the same boat now but regarding English. I’m preparing for an exam.


message 3: by B. P. (new)

B. P. Rinehart Florencia wrote: "I also have that one, can't wait to read it. I still don’t know much about her prose, but her poetry is mesmerizing. Great to increase vocabulary, btw. Remember when we discussed Spanish lessons? I’m in the same boat now but regarding English. I’m preparing for an exam."

I've only read A Telephone Call by her (she apparently considered it her best work in 1943.

What were we talking about then because I've honestly forgot now lol. I've not been actively learning Spanish in awhile now. No one around me speaks it and I'm not in the position to search the ends of the world for a willing speaker at the moment. Hopefully next year or the end of this year I can start learning actively again. Right now, I'm just trying not to forget what little I know.


Florencia B. P. wrote: "Florencia wrote: "I also have that one, can't wait to read it. I still don’t know much about her prose, but her poetry is mesmerizing. Great to increase vocabulary, btw. Remember when we discussed ..."

I also read that one. Eh... if that's the best one, well, I'll take a look anyway. It was an amusing short story.

What were we talking about then because I've honestly forgot now Haha that was it, you mentioned that you wanted to learn Spanish but there wasn't anyone around to help you. Same situation for me now. Ah, si necesitas practicar, los comentarios te pueden ayudar. Casi nunca hablo en español acá; a veces lo extraño.


message 5: by B. P. (new)

B. P. Rinehart Florencia wrote: "I also read that one. Eh... if that's the best one, well, I'll take a look anyway. It was an amusing short story.
"


I actually got the story mixed-up, I read The Standard of Living, but remember feeling that it was ok . Here is what Parker wrote on why she selected it: "Now what is a writer to say about his own work? If he takes one course, he's simpering. If he goes the opposite way, he's Saroyan.
I think that this story of mine is the nicest bit of writing, the most careful, that I have ever done. The story, of course, is not half what I meant it to be; it never is. It was suppose to tear your heart out, and it does not. But as to workmanship, it is my best.
This is why I chose "The Standard of Living" for this anthology. At least, I think that is why I chose it. It may be that I felt a certain maternal obligation to say a few words in its favor. Nobody else did.
" That alone merits me giving it a reread.

Florencia wrote: "Haha that was it, you mentioned that you wanted to learn Spanish but there wasn't anyone around to help you. Same situation for me now. Ah, si necesitas practicar, los comentarios te pueden ayudar. Casi nunca hablo en español acá; a veces lo extraño."

He estado pensamiento sobre escribiendo un traducción español de mi reseña de Pedro Páramo. Yo también plan a compartir mis opiniones sobre el poema Los heraldos negros.


Florencia B. P. wrote: "Florencia wrote: "I also read that one. Eh... if that's the best one, well, I'll take a look anyway. It was an amusing short story.
"

I actually got the story mixed-up, I read [book:The Standard o..."


That’s very thoughtful, thanks for sharing her words. I've already added that short story, just in case. But I agree, another try might be good.

He estado pensando; “pensamiento” is the noun (“thought”). And regarding “sobre”, you may want to use the infinitive verb. In this case, “escribir”. However, if you replace “sobre” with “en”, it sounds more natural. You think about writing a review, tú piensas en escribir una reseña/he estado pensando en escribir una reseña. Things one has to know, even though we hardly ever use perfect tense here.
Again, I admire your initiative, Spanish is awfully complex. Btw, I remember really enjoying Los heraldos negros; haven’t read Pedro Páramo yet. I look forward to your take on them! Y en español, nada más y nada menos.


message 7: by B. P. (new)

B. P. Rinehart I actually used pensando first, but second-guessed myself. I also second-guessed myself on using sobre instead of en. What is usually used instead of the perfect tense?


message 8: by Florencia (last edited May 14, 2019 09:01PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Florencia B. P. wrote: "I actually used pensando first, but second-guessed myself. I also second-guessed myself on using sobre instead of en. What is usually used instead of the perfect tense?"

Excellent. You already knew.
It depends on the province. In the north, the perfect tense is normally used; not in the capital. Mainly simple past, also past perfect: "Escribí, había escrito". Then simple future, of course, though I wouldn't say "Mañana escribiré", that's formal and even archaic in normal speech, but "voy a escribir". Just Argentinian quirks that make learning Spanish even more complex.


message 9: by B. P. (new)

B. P. Rinehart Voy a seems to be more common than I realized. In school, we were always thought the the future tense escribiré, but I see "ir a" used more commonly by Spanish speakers across the globe.


Florencia B. P. wrote: "Voy a seems to be more common than I realized. In school, we were always thought the the future tense escribiré, but I see "ir a" used more commonly by Spanish speakers across the globe."

I didn't know it was so common across the globe, I never paid much attention, to be honest. Considering the differences between what they call "neutral" Spanish (Mexican) and the one spoken here, around Río de la Plata, I assume the learning process must get a little confusing. Intentaré (voy a intentar) no usar el "voseo".


message 11: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl You remind me that it’s time to reopen my Portable Dorothy Parker. I love the edge and layers of Interior. The wordplay fascinates. Nice review, Florencia.


message 12: by B. P. (new)

B. P. Rinehart Florencia wrote: "I didn't know it was so common across the globe, I never paid much attention, to be honest. Considering the differences between what they call "neutral" Spanish (Mexican) and the one spoken here, around Río de la Plata, I assume the learning process must get a little confusing. Intentaré (voy a intentar) no usar el "voseo". "

From my journey in learning Spanish I have realized that the differences between Argentine Spanish and Latin American Spanish in-general is greatly overrated. There is relatively more difference between South American Spanish and Central/Carribean Spanish (with the exception of Columbia). I talked about this a little in my first all-Spanish blog here, but most of my teachers in school taught me European Spanish. Even when I did learn Latin American Spanish, there was stuff I we were not told like voseo or the fact that most South Americans call it Castilian and not Spanish. I learned a lot from just watching language learning videos on YouTube. In that way, I can see how speakers from the Carribean, Mexico, Columbia, Chile, and of course Argentina teach and think about Spanish. What I have learned from this is that, you all have different accents, but use pretty-much the same grammar and dialect.


Florencia Cheryl wrote: "You remind me that it’s time to reopen my Portable Dorothy Parker. I love the edge and layers of Interior. The wordplay fascinates. Nice review, Florencia."

Glad to hear it, Cheryl. Yes, that poem was one of my favorites. I just loved how she made me ponder and laugh as the pages turned. Thanks for reading!


message 14: by Florencia (last edited May 15, 2019 07:07PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Florencia B. P. wrote: "Florencia wrote: "I didn't know it was so common across the globe, I never paid much attention, to be honest. Considering the differences between what they call "neutral" Spanish (Mexican) and the ..."

You certainly know a lot about the language; I hope you get the opportunity to finally learn how to speak it. :)
Thanks for adding the link to your blog. I already added it so I can read it carefully tonight. I'm always interested in reading about friends and their relationship with other languages. I agree, main differences are based on accents, I don't even have to leave the country to see it. Despite the difference I mentioned before, it's usually the same. Y sí, a veces lo llamo "español" por la influencia del inglés, pero en general, se le dice "castellano".

P.S. I already read your blog. Amazing.


message 15: by Dolors (new)

Dolors And so I'll need to add Dorothy Parker in my to-read authors list, Flo! I loved your poem choices and the link of the"Afternoon" poem. I like the combination of wit and lyricism in her verses, and I bet she also had a critical eye for the social movements of her time. Thanks for reminding me that I should veer back towards poetry, a genre I have been neglecting of late. Always a pleasure to read you, my friend.


Florencia Dolors wrote: "And so I'll need to add Dorothy Parker in my to-read authors list, Flo! I loved your poem choices and the link of the"Afternoon" poem. I like the combination of wit and lyricism in her verses, and ..."

A remarkable writer. I just admire her ability to come up with such witty reflections. She's funny but not in a silly kind of way; the psychological depth of her musings is truly inspiring. I'll keep exploring her work and even though I'm not into biographies, I think I'd read hers. :P Thanks so much for your kind words.


message 17: by Florencia (last edited May 18, 2019 06:09AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Florencia Mimi wrote: "I love a lot of her work too but if you read a biography be prepared for her hard life, like far too many female writers."

I'm more interested now. Enough rope is revealing another side of her; her wit remains intact of course, but the sense of loss is overwhelming. I'm enjoying that one even more; I can truly connect with it.
Thanks for your comment, Mimi!


message 18: by Gaurav (last edited May 18, 2019 06:42AM) (new)

Gaurav Great review, as usual Florencia and the verses carefully chosen by you adds to its beauty. This is probably the first time I'm coming to read about Dorothy Parker (for being the late starter I read just a few authors yet), but nevertheless, her poems sound intriguing to me, full of anguish of life and the irony of life is being masterfully wrapped in poetic beauty by her. Thanks for this nice introduction, adding it :)


Florencia Gaurav wrote: "Great review, as usual Florencia and the verses carefully chosen by you adds to its beauty. This is probably the first time I'm coming to read about Dorothy Parker (for being the late starter I rea..."

Always too kind, Gaurav, thank you. :) I'm really glad you're interested in this remarkable writer; I know she would inspire one of those amazing reviews of yours I became accustomed to. I'm not so sure about her prose yet, but she's becoming one of my favorite poets. I have another collection to read and then I'll probably tackle The Portable Dorothy Parker. I look forward to your thoughts on her work when you get to it!


message 20: by Caterina (new) - added it

Caterina Wow, terrific review. You've introduced me to a different side of Dorothy Parker - I wasn't aware she wrote poetry as well as the world's wittiest quips and scathing/humorous verse. There's such a tension between soul-baring and heart-protecting, pain and laughter in these poems.

She has such an unusual accent in the recording, I wondered if she had been an immigrant to the U.S., but it appears not.


Florencia Caterina wrote: "Wow, terrific review. You've introduced me to a different side of Dorothy Parker - I wasn't aware she wrote poetry as well as the world's wittiest quips and scathing/humorous verse. There's such a ..."

An incredibly complex woman that leaves no one indifferent. As you say, pain and laughter at the same time; that usually captivates me. I watched a film last night based on her life; the actress did a fine job regarding her unusual accent. Sunset gun was published after the one I'm reading now, Enough rope; the difference in her tone is striking.
Many thanks for reading. :) Glad you enjoyed her poetry.


message 22: by Caterina (new) - added it

Caterina Florencia wrote: "An incredibly complex woman that leaves no one indifferent. As you say, pain and laughter at the same time; that usually captivates me. I watched a film last night based on her life; the actress did a fine job regarding her unusual accent. Sunset gun was published after the one I'm reading now, Enough rope; the difference in her tone is striking...."

Adding both books now. Thank you. Yes, pain and laughter--that captivates me too. What was the name of the film? I'd like to watch it.


Florencia Caterina wrote: "Florencia wrote: "An incredibly complex woman that leaves no one indifferent. As you say, pain and laughter at the same time; that usually captivates me. I watched a film last night based on her li..."

I hope you like them! I look forward to reading her reviews too; I've heard they're ruthless - that's going to be uncomfortable, I suppose.

The film is Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle. "Dottie can't be suffering and still say all those funny things", one of the characters said, and I remember thinking about his little understanding of the human psyche, but it happens very often.


back to top