Friday, April 11, 2014

Happy (belated!) National Poetry Month!!

     So I'm eleven days late in beginning the celebration; let's see how well I can make up for lost time. For the rest of the month I'll share some of my favorite poetical gems. Here's two of my favorites, poems about poetry:


                                                How to Eat a Poem
                                                       by  Eve Merriam

Don’t be polite.

                                    Bite in.

                                    Pick it up with your fingers and lick the juice that

                                    may run down your chin.

                                    It is ready and ripe now, wherever you are.


                                    You do not need a knife or fork or spoon

                                    or plate or napkin or tablecloth.


                                    For there is no core

                                    or stem

                                    or rind

                                    or pit

                                    or seed

                                    or skin

                                    to throw away.

Looking For Poetry

by Carlos Drummond De Andrade


Don’t write poems about what’s happening.

Nothing is born or dies in poetry’s presence.

Next to it, life is a static sun                              

without warmth or light.

Friendships, birthdays, personal matters don’t count.

Don’t write poems with the body,

that excellent, whole, and comfortable body objects to lyrical outpouring.

Your anger, your grimace of pleasure or pain in the dark

mean nothing.

Don’t show off your feelings

That are slow in coming around and take advantage of doubt.

What you think and feel are not poetry yet.


Don’t sing about your city, leave it in peace.

Song is not the movement of machines or the secret of houses.

It is not music heard in passing, noise of the sea in streets

that skirt the borders of foam.

Song is not nature

or men in society.

Rain and night, fatigue and hope, mean nothing to it.

Poetry (you don’t get it from things)

leaves out subject and object.


Don’t dramatize, don’t invoke,

don’t question, don’t waste time lying.

Don’t get upset.

Your ivory yacht, your diamond shoe,

your mazurkas and tirades, your family skeletons,

all of them worthless, disappear in the curve of time.


Don’t bring up

your sad and buried childhood.

Don’t waver between the mirror

and a fading memory.

What faded was not poetry.

What broke was not crystal.


Enter the kingdom of words as if you were deaf.

Poems are there that want to be written.

They are dormant, but don’t be let down,

their virginal surfaces are fresh and serene.

They are alone and mute, in dictionary condition.

Live with your poems before you write them.

If they’re vague, be patient. If they offend, be calm.

Wait until each one comes into its own and demolishes

with its command of words

and its command of silence.

Don’t force poems to let go of limbo

Don’t pick up lost poems from the ground.

Don’t fawn over poems. Accept them

as you would their final and definitive form,

distilled in space.


            Come close and consider the words.

            With a plain face hiding thousands of other faces

            and no with interest in your response,

            whether weak or strong,

            each word asks:

            Did you bring the key?


            Take note:

            words hide in the night

            in caves of music and image.

            still humid and pregnant with sleep

            they turn in a winding river and by neglect are transformed.




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