Tuesday, July 17, 2007


AWB has a poetry bleg going on that is making me very happy.

I like to tell my students I hate poetry, and you know, in one sense I do. I hate to write poetry, and I hate to write about poetry, and on many days I hate to mess about with poetry and when someone in our writing group brings in a poem I get this tiny sinking feeling, because, well, most poems suck. And me, myself, I am no poet. I don't know how to write it, I don't know what to do with it, I don't know very much about how to fix it. (I suspect this is because I was brought up in a house with no music -- we didn't even own a radio when I was growing up, didn't get a stereo until I was maybe nineteen, the only music I ever heard was music on the bus driving back and forth to school, so I know nothing about rhythm or sound except what I've picked up on the street, as it were.) I did like poems as a kid, but it was all the bang-bang-bang sort of poems: Kipling, Noyes, Lewis Carroll.

But on the other hand: a good poem.

There's nothing like it.

Here's some of my favorites off that bleg so far:

Cut Grass

Cut grass lies frail:
Brief is the breath
Mown stalks exhale.
Long, long the death

It dies in the white hours
Of young-leafed June
With chestnut flowers,
With hedges snowlike strewn,

White lilac bowed,
Lost lanes of Queen Anne's lace,
And that high-builded cloud
Moving at summer's pace.

Philip Larkin

(Linked by Ben Wolfson)

And this, which is too long to copy here.

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