Thursday, April 17, 2008

What's in your pocket?

Today is the first annual Poem in Your Pocket Day (no, really), sponsored by the Academy of American Poets. I think they had a NYC-based one last year that I heard about after the fact. The idea is to share your favorite poem with friends, relatives, co-workers, and random strangers today. To find out more, you can go here.

Which brings up an interesting question. If you had only one poem to introduce poetry to someone with, what would you choose, and why? Would you choose a rhyming poem, because that's the easiest way to describe the concept of "poetry"? Would you choose a modern free-verse poem, because that better reflects contemporary poetry? I'm just tossing out questions here, I don't know what I would choose. One of my favorite poems is Lewis Carroll's "Jabberwocky," and that's just not helpful at all.

Which brings up another interesting question. What were your formative poems? What poem or poems made you love poetry? For me, it was the dwarves' songs in Tolkein's The Hobbit, especially this one (I still remember where I was when I read that for the first time), along with Alfred Noyes' romantic "The Highwayman." Maybe I should accost people today and read them some old-fashioned rhymin' goodness.


Anonymous said...

O sweet spontaneous
earth how often have
the doting

fingers of
prurient philosophies pinched
and poked

has the naughty thumb
of science prodded

beauty how
often have religions taken
thee upon their scraggy
knees squeezing and

buffeting thee that thou mightest conceive

to the incomparable
couch of death thy

thou answerest

them only with


by ee cummings

rhino writer said...

What a great poem! I love E. E. Cummings.