Poets help us inhabit a new space
It's April 1st, and you know what that means.
No, I'm not finished with my women's history month posts so we'll just pretend that women's history month is every month (what a planet it would be if that were true) and continue those women posts as time goes by, shall we? I couldn't possibly finish without featuring Nina Simone or Carol Shields or Lori Buckwalter.
But now that the calendar has gone and swept away March and plopped us right smack in the middle of Day One of April, we've no choice but to begin our 2nd Annual Poemapalooza, a daily festivus of words in rambunctious celebration of National Poetry Month. Shall we?
Let's start with an introduction to the whole idea of poetry, with a poem that rings true to this English major's heart, having participated in many nights of happy exegesis myself, beating poems to sodden all-nighter death with my ponderous, anxious, desperate, reaching misinterpretations, those papers in which I imposed my own teen-aged world view on the unsuspecting likes of Eliot and Yeats and Whitman. Writing papers with titles like "Exegetical Intertextuality in the Poetry of Christina Rossetti."
Bless their hearts. I suppose poets are used to it by now. Perhaps they sit around making wagers on the most outlandish reading of The Waste Land, Song of Myself, and The Second Coming. One hopes. Or perhaps they prefer talking about baseball when off duty from meaning making.
I ask them to take
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide
or press an ear against its hive.
I say drop a mouse
into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,
or walk inside the
and feel the walls for a light switch.
I want them to
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author's name on the shore.
But all they want
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.
They begin beating
it with a hose
to find out what it really means.
And so it begins. A month of poetry. One a day. Like vitamins for the soul. Like rooms of a house we are walking through. Like, you know, poetry.
[image from here]