Thursday, April 06, 2006

I'm In VERY Good Company, Pt. II

Readers of Woodys Woundup would have no reason to know this, but I also had a thing or two to say about the poetry of Rosie O'Donnell (link includes a special bonus Jane Fonda screed!).

Once again, I am not alone here.

Since this is National Poetry Month, Annika Of The Above Link (who is also a nifty poet and poetry enthusiast, and who sent me a nifty mug because she liked a rather disgusting KISS haiku I did last year - sigh - why is it always my dirty stuff that wins the awards?) points us to The Sheila Variations which has plenty of poetry goodness, just sittin' there waiting to be read.

I don't know if I'm much of a poet, but I've certainly got all of a poet's necessary vanity, so naturally I feel obliged to point you towards a couple that I've done.

The Olive Pressed (heavy religious poem)

Reflections On Terror (heavy political/war poem)

I also had a brief fling with trying to be a poetry critic, but . . . uh . . . I just wasn't, you know, very good at it. I may let Ah-nuld return, but I need to learn lots, LOTS more first.

Well. With all that out of the way, I must point you in two other directions.

First, there is Philip Larkin, whose poetry has affected me more profoundly than any other poetry I've read, even though I don't usually agree with him. I consider him one of the finest craftsman. Period. Take, for example, his astonishing Church Going. I harder kick in the gut when it comes to discussing the death of religion at the personal level I haven't yet found. Don't just read it for the message, which is, I admit, bleak, but check it over for its form and rhyme. Clever, clever poetry, Mr. Larkin.

An entirely different kind of voice is found in Ted Kooser, current Poet Laureate of the United States, and whom I have only recently started reading. There is absolutely no fat whatsoever in Kooser's poems. Check out the artistry of Tattoo:

What once was meant to be a statement—
a dripping dagger held in the fist
of a shuddering heart—is now just a bruise
on a bony old shoulder, the spot
where vanity once punched him hard
and the ache lingered on. He looks like
someone you had to reckon with,
strong as a stallion, fast and ornery,
but on this chilly morning, as he walks
between the tables at a yard sale
with the sleeves of his tight black T-shirt
rolled up to show us who he was,
he is only another old man, picking up
broken tools and putting them back,
his heart gone soft and blue with stories.

(from Delights & Shadows, Copper Canyon Press, Port Townsend, WA 2004)

Oh, man, do I have things to learn.

No comments: