Barbara's Random Thoughts

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Poetry Galore

I keep meaning to post about this, but good intentions alone don't do much, do they? April is National Poetry Month--and that deserves celebrating!

I'm greatly enjoying reading The Wild Iris, by Louise Gluck--a very timely birthday gift. I'm intrigued by Gluck's use of the second person and the natural imagery that's threaded through the entire volume. I feel like it's very much a book of poetry--a thematic whole, rather than just a collection of poems. Definitely recommended.

I've also been receiving daily poems emailed from Knopf. (There's another poem-a-day feature on, if you're interested in checking it out.) I keep getting behind in reading these daily poems--poetry needs more than a cursory glance and since I usually do just that in the mornings, I've been saving these for later. Below is one of the Knopf poems from last week, followed by a poem from one of my favorite poets. Enjoy.

Kenneth Koch

One day the Nouns were clustered in the street.
An Adjective walked by, with her dark beauty.
The Nouns were struck, moved, changed.
The next day a Verb drove up, and created the Sentence.

Each Sentence says one thing—for example, "Although it was a dark rainy
day when the Adjective walked by, I shall remember the pure and sweet
expression on her face until the day I perish from the green, effective
Or, "Will you please close the window, Andrew?"
Or, for example, "Thank you, the pink pot of flowers on the window sill
has changed color recently to a light yellow, due to the heat from the
boiler factory which exists nearby."

In the springtime the Sentences and the Nouns lay silently on the grass.
A lonely Conjunction here and there would call, "And! But!"
But the Adjective did not emerge.

As the Adjective is lost in the sentence,
So I am lost in your eyes, ears, nose, and throat—
You have enchanted me with a single kiss
Which can never be undone
Until the destruction of language.

Eye Test
Naomi Shihab Nye

The D is desperate.
The B wants to take a vacation,
live on a billboard, be broad and brave.
The E is mad at the R for upstaging him.
The little c wants to be a big C if possible,
and the P pauses long between thoughts.

How much better to be a story, story.
Can you read me?

We have to live on this white board
together like a neighborhood.
We would rather be the tail of a cloud,
one letter becoming another,
or lost in a boy’s pocket
shapeless as lint,
the same boy who squints to read us
believing we convey a secret message.
Be his friend.
We are so tired of meaning nothing.


| posted by Barbara | 1:15 AM