Saturday, December 10, 2005

Sending Poems Out in Public and Dietsurvivors

Tomorrow (actually, later today), I must begin the end-of-the-semester blitz, mega-grading of creative writing portfolios, tests, and literary journals, so my posting might drop off a bit for a while.

Sometimes, I'd like to return my students' portfolios with the below poem enclosed, but I don't; they're still learning and finding their voices. Not easy for them to tell when a poem is truly finished.

How Not to Send a Poem Out Into Public

So, then, I slip into my sweats, you know,
The torn pants splattered with mustard
Stains on the knees from the Cheesy Corned
Cliché I chowed down on two weeks ago.
The top, ripped at the seams, proclaims,
"I need, I breed; therefore, it’s art."
I, a swine of a poem penned
In a journal, yearn for that choice
Artsy Sestina to ask me out...
Three a.m.
I sigh and sink
Into the Laz-y-Boy, and click on
FOX 39. M*A*S*H.
YES! I wallow in sweat. Gamy
Modifiers bunch around my ankles;
I spit out verbal grunts, shaking my
Bristled hair without a point, passing
Adverbial gas because it feels SO good, and who’s here
To care? I glom down on buttered Redenbacher’s,
Greasy similes sliding down my throat, pimples erupting
On my prose. Pop one for the ad libber...
Ah, yes, I will surely die in this chair.
As the M*A*S*H suicide song dies down,
The phone rings–that foxy Sestina from art class!
"You want to go out for a poetic pepperoni pizza?"
"Whatever." (Yes! Yes! Yes!)
I’ve been waiting for Sestina to ask,
"Pizza Parody in six/three? That is, six
Six-line stanzas and one three-line envoi
(Hold all Imitations)?"
"Whatever." (Yes! Yes! Yes!)
So, then, I drop the phone to the floor,
Roll out of the Laz-y-Boy,
Waddle out the door,
Like really weirded out.

Sometimes I give out the poem early in the semester, but I didn't this year. Instead, I showed them one of my early poems--which shall remain unposted--they had a good laugh. Shows them that writers don't pop out the womb with pen in hand. In some ways, natural talent notwithstanding, creative writing has to be learned and, sometimes, unlearned and relearned.

It's amazing what a deadline will do in terms of placing issues on the back burner. It always gets a bit hairy this time of year, and everyone feels tense and out of sorts. I also have issues with Christmas and the gross commercialism of the season--and the emphasis on food!

For those readers with food issues, I recommend Dietsurvivors highly; I hope the link works.



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