Tuesday, April 1, 2008

"The blood jet is poetry. There is no stopping it."

Happy April Fool's day, everyone. While I love a good practical joke as much as the next person (YouTube's RickRoll was particularly inspired), I love April 1st because it signifies the start of National Poetry Month.

To help "celebrate poetry and its vital place in the American culture," I like to step up my regular sprinkling of poetical offerings and present you with more of what I think is worthwhile reading. Some poems you'll like, some you won't. Some you will "get" and others will not make sense to you. I can't claim to understand all of what I'll present, but every piece that I post here has, in one way or another, spoke to me and left an impression.

To kick off National Poetry Month, 2008, I've chosen a poem from Charles Simic, who was, in August of 2007, selected to be the 15th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry ot the Library of Congress. From Poets.org:
In his essay "Poetry and Experience," Simic wrote: "At least since Emerson and Whitman, there's a cult of experience in American poetry. Our poets, when one comes right down to it, are always saying: This is what happened to me. This is what I saw and felt. Truth, they never get tired of reiterating, is not something that already exists in the world, but something that needs to be rediscovered almost daily."

Simic, like many great poets, has an eye for finding beauty, truth and emotion in the most mundane of subjects. He states, "Words make love on the page like flies in the summer heat and the poet is the bemused spectator." To Simic, the artistic expression of poetry is not a singular effort, but a revealing of something to the poet that is larger than himself.

Couple at Coney Island by Charles Simic

It was early one Sunday morning,
So we put on our best rags
And went for a stroll along the boardwalk
Till we came to a kind of palace
With turrets and pennants flying.
It made me think of a wedding cake
In the window of a fancy bakery shop.

I was warm, so I took my jacket off
And put my arm round your waist
And drew you closer to me
While you leaned your head on my shoulder.
Anyone could see we'd made love
The night before and were still giddy on our feet.
We looked naked in our clothes

Staring at the red and white pennants
Whipped by the sea wind.
The rides and shooting galleries
With their ducks marching in line
Still boarded up and padlocked.
No one around yet to take our first dime.

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