Tuesday, April 28, 2009

National Poetry Month

April, I note at its near end, was/is National Poetry Month. I've been getting a poem a day in my e-mail, and so far, this has been the best one:

How to Read a Poem: Beginner's Manual
by Pamela Spiro Wagner

First, forget everything you have learned,
that poetry is difficult,
that it cannot be appreciated by the likes of you,
with your high school equivalency diploma,
your steel-tipped boots,
or your white-collar misunderstandings.

Do not assume meanings hidden from you:
the best poems mean what they say and say it.

To read poetry requires only courage
enough to leap from the edge
and trust.

Treat a poem like dirt,
humus rich and heavy from the garden.
Later it will become the fat tomatoes
and golden squash piled high upon your kitchen table.

Poetry demands surrender,
language saying what is true,
doing holy things to the ordinary.

Read just one poem a day.
Someday a book of poems may open in your hands
like a daffodil offering its cup
to the sun.

When you can name five poets
without including Bob Dylan,
when you exceed your quota
and don't even notice,
close this manual.

If more poems were like that, we'd likely have fewer people having allergic reactions at the prospect of poetry. My stance toward poetry is a lot like my perspective on any genre literature, like sci fi or fantasy--there's a lot of crap out there, but the good stuff is very fulfilling and makes up for the lesser quality dreck. It also, ideally, shows a slightly different way of thinking of the world and at its best, illustrates the many-faceted thing that is human nature.

Now playing: Strung Out - Vampires
via FoxyTunes

No comments: