“Cozy Apologia” is a poem by Rita Dove, the former Poet Laureate of the United States. First published in 2004, the poem meditates on the difference between romance and reality. Although the speaker’s relationship doesn’t live up to the ideals of teenage crushes and romance novels, the speaker defends her relationship. Indeed, as it's title makes clear, the purpose of the poem is to defend the ordinary, the everyday, the "cozy"—it is an “apologia” or poem of defense. The rewards of such mundane pleasures, the speaker argues, are deeper and richer than anything romantic fantasy can offer.
... upon the page.
I could choose ...
... with furrowed brow
And chain mail ...
... upon the enemy.
This post-postmodern age ...
Today a hurricane ...
... kiss you senseless.
They all had ...
... and hollow center.
... of the Divine.
Still, it's embarrassing, ...
... time with you.
Select any word below to get its definition in the context of the poem. The words are listed in the order in which they appear in the poem.
"Cozy Apologia" Read Aloud — Theo O'Shaughnessy recites "Cozy Apologia."
Rita Dove — A detailed biography of Rita Dove from the Poetry Foundation.
An Interview with Rita Dove — Rita Dove discusses her work on PBS.
Rita Dove at the White House — Rita Dove reads two poems and is introduced by former US President Barack Obama at the White House.
An Interview with Rita Dove — An in-depth interview with Rita Dove at the Virginia Quarterly Review.
1I could pick anything and think of you—
2This lamp, the wind-still rain, the glossy blue
3My pen exudes, drying matte, upon the page.
4I could choose any hero, any cause or age
5And, sure as shooting arrows to the heart,
6Astride a dappled mare, legs braced as far apart
7As standing in silver stirrups will allow—
8There you'll be, with furrowed brow
9And chain mail glinting, to set me free:
10One eye smiling, the other firm upon the enemy.
11This post-postmodern age is all business: compact disks
12And faxes, a do-it-now-and-take-no-risks
13Event. Today a hurricane is nudging up the coast,
14Oddly male: Big Bad Floyd, who brings a host
15Of daydreams: awkward reminiscences
16Of teenage crushes on worthless boys
17Whose only talent was to kiss you senseless.
18They all had sissy names—Marcel, Percy, Dewey;
19Were thin as licorice and as chewy,
20Sweet with a dark and hollow center. Floyd's
21Cussing up a storm. You're bunkered in your
22Aerie, I'm perched in mine
23(Twin desks, computers, hardwood floors):
24We're content, but fall short of the Divine.
25Still, it's embarrassing, this happiness—
26Who's satisfied simply with what's good for us,
27When has the ordinary ever been news?
28And yet, because nothing else will do
29To keep me from melancholy (call it blues),
30I fill this stolen time with you.