Chris Uggen's Blog: fighting off a bad poem with a good one

Saturday, May 03, 2008

fighting off a bad poem with a good one

there must be pollen in the air this week. just as coughs and colds can sneak up for days in advance, new poems tend to hit me gradually -- like a vague but persistent itchy throat. i'll try to put them off until i've been sufficiently diligent or productive, just as i would put off a bad cold until some major project is finished. eventually, of course, i'll succomb, take my medicine, and be down with a bad poem for a couple of days.

in the meantime, i'm innoculating myself with a good poem. here's a teacher's poem -- for teachers of the sociological imagination as well as teachers of poetry -- by a fine poet named billy collins.

via poets:
Introduction to Poetry by Billy Collins

I ask them to take a poem
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 poem's room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author's name on the shore.

But all they want to do
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.


At 11:24 AM, Blogger lvlmnly said...

lovely -

At 9:24 AM, Blogger christopher uggen said...

glad you liked it -- i connected this one connected immediately.


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