Friday, July 10, 2009

Poems for Fun

Last year I was reading Best American Poetry 2005 and discovered "Hate Poem" by Julie Sheenan. I don't know that it will ever be a classic, but I absolutely love it. I keep a printed copy on my desk at work. You can find the whole thing at, though it is slightly different from the version that appeared in BAP. When I'm furious with the incompetence or indifference of a colleague, I meditate on a line from this poem, such as "A closed window is both a closed window and an obvious symbol of how I hate you". I shared it with a friend at work who is not a poetry fan but is open-minded enough to have taken a look. We laugh over it when something gets our goat at work or at home. The poem succeeds in riding that crest of petulance of the nth degree, where it is exactly how you feel and yet you know you are being ridiculous.

So maybe I haven't yet convinced my friend to love poetry in general, but she has at least commented that she had no idea the poetry can be so real, so current and fun. I started telling her about one of Ntozake Shange's poems from her 1978 collection, Nappy Edges but that one was a little too racy for the office. Maybe when we're out having a drink sometime...

I hadn't thought I would write at all today. A panic attack seemed imminent this morning as I looked at everything that needs to get done NOW. I asked some friends to pray for me, and have been calm and even steadily working through the piles. A few minutes for a quick post suddenly seemed doable, and thought I would make a plug for poetry in general. It's a fairly private passion; it is daunting to try sharing something that is part of your most basic energy only to watch people's eyes glaze over. It's not for everybody and I know that, but it is amazing when someone else taps into a little bit of the excitement. Every now and then I will share a poem or fragment of a poem that might be a pleasant surprise to non-lovers of poetry.

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