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Thursday, September 19, 2013

365 Poems: Crowdsourcing

Day 263

A night full of history and poetry thanks to two Coursera courses. The webcast for Modern & Contemporary American Poetry through the University of Pennsylvania was flat-out fun. I'm starting to think my profs at IPFW might have been wrong about the academic life. Although taking a MOOC with over 32,000 students might be even better.

Here's a couple of poems the ModPo group shared with us tonight:

Cid Corman, "It isnt for want"

It isnt for want 
of something to say-- 
something to tell you-- 
 something you should know-- 
but to detain you-- 
keep you from going-- 
 feeling myself here 
as long as you are-- 
as long as you are.

We listened to a recording of that one -- it almost made you cry.

And this:

Smell by William Carlos Williams

Oh strong-ridged and deeply hollowed
nose of mine! what will you not be smelling?
What tactless asses we are, you and I, boney nose,
always indiscriminate, always unashamed,
and now it is the souring flowers of the bedraggled
poplars: a festering pulp on the wet earth
beneath them. With what deep thirst
we quicken our desires
to that rank odor of a passing springtime!
Can you not be decent? Can you not reserve your ardors
for something less unlovely? What girl will care
for us, do you think, if we continue in these ways?
Must you taste everything? Must you know everything?
Must you have a part in everything?

We listened to this too -- it's kind of an angry poem, don't you think? Although I think WCW is mad at himself, not his nose.

And this:

The Way by RAE ARMANTROUT

Card in pew pocket
announces,
“I am here.”

I made only one statement
because of a bad winter.

Grease is the word; grease
is the way

I am feeling.
Real life emergencies or

flubbing behind the scenes.

As a child,
I was abandoned

in a story
made of trees.

Here’s the small
gasp

of this clearing
come “upon” “again”

Rae Armantrout, “The Way” from Veil: New and Selected Poems © 2001 by Rae Armantrout and reprinted by permission of Wesleyan University Press. www.wesleyan.edu/wespress

Loved this one too. Those last four lines are killer.

What a winning night. Read two poets I never had before.

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