“the light blue sea / Of your acquaintance”: Kenneth Koch’s “In Love with You”

I confess that I am not particularly well versed (poetry joke!) in the New York School poets. I’ve read a bit of Ashberry and a bit more Frank O’Hara, but never much Kenneth Koch. It hasn’t been a conscious omission; I simply found other poets first who claimed my attention.

Last week Kenneth Koch’s “In Love with You” popped up in my inbox as the Poetry Foundation’s poem of the day, and I was hooked by its exuberance, its vitality; it features non-ironic exclamation points!

While I admire many love poems, most of them are so intimate, so particular to a person or time or place that I find myself distanced from them. Like Whitman’s poems (at least for me), however, “In Love with You”‘s specificity crescendoes into a feeling of overwhelming universality. And I love a love poem that makes me grin.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to find a book of Kenneth Koch’s poetry.

Do you have a favorite grin-worthy love poem?

12 thoughts on ““the light blue sea / Of your acquaintance”: Kenneth Koch’s “In Love with You”

  1. I have to apologize because I think my company has changed the security settings for our email. I realized the other day I wasn’t getting my email notices from any of my blogging friends anymore. I guess I’m going to have to check everyone’s sites manually from now on.

  2. I’m so new to poetry I don’t think I have a grin-worthy selection to share. ‘In Love With You’ was lovely, thank you for sharing, it definitely made for a more smiley me this Wednesday morn.

  3. It’s lovely, and the exclamation marks remind me so much of my son’s way of talking and writing. I like the innocence that being in love brings us back to!

  4. I really liked the cadence of this poem and how the poet, or the subject in love, notices every little thing. I also can’t think of any grin-worthy examples unless it’s Shel Silverstein’s poems, which are meant for humor specifically. Now I’m on the lookout for grin-worthy poems, especially grinny love poems.

  5. One of my favorites, also happening to be one of Koch’s, is “The Boiling Water”. It’s a meditation on the meaningful nature of all things. Rather a delicious read as well. I love his work; thanks for bringing him to the fore.

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