The Witch Hazel
Poems of a Lifetime
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"In earlier days, again, verse seems to have been as natural a mode in which to express oneself as prose. Even if it is not poetry, interesting things can still be said in verse. That is the way I have tried to treat it, and have used it to deal both with my more personal and with my more public interests."-from the Introduction.Though he is a sociologist and not a poet by trade, George Caspar Homans, from early childhood on, has read and loved poetry in English and other languages. In it he has found a vehicle for expressing his more personal thoughts and emotions. The Witch Hazel consists of poems, mostly lyrical, written from time to time in the course of his lifetime. Professor Homans has decided to preserve them in this volume in the hope that they will give pleasure or be of interest to others.The poems deal with a great variety of Homans' interests: women, the New England landscape and seascape, his personal anxieties and self-examinations, history, war, politics, and even sociology itself. The volume also includes a few of his translations from Greek, Latin, and Provencal verse. The sheer variety of its subjects adds further interest to the volume. Not incidentally they illumine our knowledge of Homans gleaned from his acclaimed autobiography, Coming To My Senses. Professor Homans may be the only sociologist who has published a volume of his poems. He has done so in the hope that they will reveal a sociologist as a living, breathing, passionate human being.As Karen Hunt commented in reviewing his autobiography, "There is Homans the Boston Brahmin, Homans the historian, Homans the literary critic, and, in what must be a rare glimpse into his soul, Homans the poet." The Witch Hazel Ounds out our understanding of one of the major intellectual figures of our time.