Monday, October 24, 2011

So You Think You Don't Like Poetry

Fun titles edition!

Today, I will select poems relatively at random to post here, based solely on the promise/awesomeness of the title. Titling a poem can be colossally difficult -- so difficult that I often wish I could make like Emily Dickinson and just forgo titles all together. The poems I'm pasting in below I only chose to read because of the title (I found them all on
Representative Poetry Online ).

Up first we have....

A book a jug and a dame
by everyone's favorite timeless poet, Anonymous

A book a jug and a dame,
And a nice cozy nook for the same;
"And I don't care a damn,"
Said Omar Khayyam,
"What you say, it's a great little game."

Alright, so it's more of a limerick...but I didn't know that until I read it. And I only read it because the title made me smile.

The next one that caught my eye was

The eyes of toads are great
by E.D. Blodgett (b. 1935)

The eyes of toads are great
wells of sadness: where
do they gaze but into fate
to see nothing there?

Hmmm. This is probably actually untitled and just titled with the first line for indexing purposes. And the first line is sneaky because it's not that the eyes of toads are "great" so much as "great wells of sadness." I feel tricked.

Moving on.....

Recipe for a Salad
Sydney Smith (1771-1845)

To make this condiment, your poet begs
The pounded yellow of two hard-boiled eggs;
Two boiled potatoes,
passed through kitchen sieve,
Smoothness and softness to the salad give.

Let onion atoms lurk within the bowl,
And, half suspected, animate the whole.
Of mordant mustard add a single spoon,
Distrust the condiment that bites so soon;
But deem it not, thou man of herbs, a fault,
To add a double quantity of salt.

Four times the spoon with oil from Lucca brown,
And twice with vinegar procured from town;
And, lastly, o'er the flavored compound toss
A magic soupcion of anchovy sauce.

O, green and glorious! O herbaceous treat!
'T would tempt the dying anchorite to eat:
Back to the world he'd turn his fleeting soul,
And plunge his fingers in the salad bowl!
Serenely full, the epicure would say,
"Fate cannot harm me, I have dined to-day."

Really wish I had eaten lunch before sitting down to blog.

Oh, the Sexual Life of the Camel is another anonymous limerick too silly/vulgar to reproduce here, but click on the link to read it.

I can't believe this is for real; it's like the Onion version of a poem title:

On the Dark, Still, Dry Warm Weather, Occasionally Happening in the Winter Months
Gilbert White (1720-1793)

....I can't bring myself to paste it. It's a 44-line poem in rhyming couplets about mild weather.

Finally, I found this title intriguing and can't decide how I feel about the poem itself....but it's certainly interesting. And angry and gutsy. I think I like it? I don't know. Some of the line breaks feel really random (probably intentionally so) and that bugs me. After reading it a few times, I do think it's more sophisticated/complex than it initially appears. It's a rant, but a well-crafted rant and I guess it's got me thinking, which is a good thing.

Male Rage Poem
Pier Giorgio Di Cicco (b. 1949)

Feminism, baby, feminism.
This is the anti-feminist poem.
It will get called the anti-
feminist poem. Like it or not.
Dedicated to all my friends who
can't get it up in the night,
accused of having male rage during the
day. This is for the poor buggers.
This is for me and the incredible boredom
of arguing about feminism, the right
arguments, the wrong arguments, the
circular argument, the arguments that stem
from one bad affair, from one
bad job, no job -- whatever; fill in the
blanks _____ _____, fill in the ways
in which you have been hurt. Then I'll
fill in the blanks, and we'll send rosters
of hurt to each other, mail them, stock
them for the record to say: Giorgio Di Cicco
has been hurt this way x many times.
We will stock closets of Sarah's hurt,
Barbara's hurt, my hurt, Bobby's hurt.
This is where the poem peters out ... oops! -- that's
penis mentality, that's patriarchal bullshit,
sexist diction and These line lengths are
male oriented.
Where did he get so much male rage?
From standing out like a man for a bunch of
years, and being called the dirty word.
"When you are 21 you will become a Man."
Christ! Doomed to enslave women ipso
facto, without even the right training.
Shouldn't have wasted ten years playing
baseball; should have practiced
whipping, should have practiced tying up the
girl next door, giving her cigarette burns ...
oops! Male rage again! MALE RAGE -- the words ring out --
worse than RING AROUND THE COLLAR, worse than KISSED
THE GIRLS AND MADE THEM CRY, jeezus, male rage
in kindergarten. MALE RAGE. You've got
male rage; I look inside myself and scrounge
for all this male rage. Must be there
somewhere. Must be repressing it. I write poems
faster and faster, therapeutically, to make sure
I get all the rage out. But someone's
always there to say, Male Rage -- more Male Rage.
I don't leave the house, workin' on my male rage.

Things may lighten up. My friends may meet
fine women at a party someday and know
what to say to them, like "I'm not a Man and
you're not a Woman, but let's have dinner
anyway, let's fuck with our eyes closed and
swap roles for an hour."

I'm tired of being a man.
Of having better opportunities,
better job offers,
too much money.
I'm tired of going to the YMCA and
talking jock in the locker room.
I'm tired of all those poems where
I inadvertently used the word "whore."
I'm tired of having little blonde secretaries type out
all my poems for me.
I'm tired of being a man.
I'm tired of being a sexist.
I'm afraid of male rage.
I'm afraid of my male rage,
this growing thing, this buddy, this
shadow, this new self, this stranger.
It's there. It's there! How could it have
happened? I ate the right things, said
yes to my mother, thought the good

Doc -- give it to me straight.
How long before this male rage
takes over completely?
The rest of your life.
Take it like a man.

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